Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei launches new app

By Tema Hemi

Ngāti Whātua Orakei have released a new augmented reality app, Te Ira Aotearoa (T.I.A), where visitors can experience Māori culture and meet Māori superheroes in 3D anywhere in the world. 

The app shares the creation story of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. 

The development for the idea began in February when Ngāti Whatua and Titan Ideas teamed up to work for eight months on scripting, composition and dance choreography.

Those involved in the development of the app say this could be a platform other iwi could use to tell their stories. 

The journey for Ngāti Whātua has been extensive and has allowed them to up-skill in different areas of technology. 

Co-ordinator for the project, Te Aroha Morehu says, "Te Ira Aotearoa or Tia is the name of our narrator- Tia the Tui.  And of course she's the DNA of NZ.

"This whole thing started with Ngāti Whā was a digital transformation kaupapa.  We're starting with Rangi and Papa as our initial story and I think from there we'll be able to launch any other narrative iwi might want to put onto this platform."

Waimarama Hawke, who features in the app, says, "I am very excited to see the good that has come of our work that is being displayed today.  I think it should be accessible to children from all schools, in particular mainstream schools, so they learn of the indigenous stories of New Zealand."

The T.I.A app can be downloaded from the Apple or Play Store.  Search 'Māori Cultural Stories' on Apple and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on android.