Air New Zealand to launch mixed reality Matariki exhibition in Canterbury, Rotorua

  • 17/06/2022
Joe Harawira
Motion-captured Pou Tikanga, Pou Pūrākau (cultural leader, storyteller) Joe Harawira. Photo credit: Supplied / Air New Zealand

National carrier Air New Zealand is launching a mixed reality Matariki exhibition in which attendees will be able to take to the sky without leaving the room.

The celebration of the Māori New Year will be held at Canterbury Museum on June 18 and 19, followed by Te Puia in Rotorua from June 22.

The airline's senior cultural development manager Jahmaine Cummings-Hodge is excited to take people on the journey using Magic Leap headsets that integrate the real world into the virtual.

Pou Tikanga, Pou Pūrākau (cultural leader, storyteller) Joe Harawira will be the guide through the story of Matariki.

"Attendees will board the waka rererangi (canoe in the sky) to visit the Guardians Tanē Mahuta (forest), Tangaroa (sea), Papatūānuku (land), and Ranginui (sky) to experience the Matariki story, all without moving an inch," Cummings-Hodge said.

"A full 3D virtual version of Joe has been created which appears in the experience at human scale. We have also replicated the carved waka in its entirety digitally using similar techniques, mimicking intricate carvings and textures."

The virtual waka and Joe were created with iClone technology, which combines facial motion capture, photogrammetry - extracting 3D information from photographs - and scanning techniques, the airline said.

It all adds up to an experience which means users can see detail both up close and from afar.

Cummings-Hodge says it's important for the airline to continue to support te ao Māori and champion the use of te reo Māori.

"As the national carrier, Air New Zealand has a responsibility to demonstrate an authentic and holistic support of Māori culture.

"We're proud to continue our te ao Māori journey and build on the great activity already underway.

"From the te reo option on check-in kiosks and inflight entertainment, through to the launch of the te reo Māori app Kia Rere for employees and the public, we want to help New Zealanders and the world learn more about Māori culture and support use of the language."