Screenshot_2015-10-05-09-45-26The Te Ngira project used smartphones in smart new ways to strengthen the mana of a marae and support the wairua of its community.

The app was a dynamic learning system using geo reality and augmented reality mobile tech and emerged out of PhD research in and around Papakura Marae. It incorporated whakapapa, tikanga, and te reo, and engaged the community in ways which are critical to health and well being and relevant to 21st century Māori society. It was one of the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Students at different age and achievement levels, community members, and tourists accessed  historical and cultural information, community members access up to date information about services on offer at the marae, and groups hiring facilities, or attending events (e.g. tangi, huihuinga) learn the kawa and tikanga of the marae and see what facilities were available. The app was completely bilingual, switching into a te reo UI at the flick of a button.

The initial vision, production and research for the user interface and content was by AwhiWorld founder Dr Maggie Buxton. The technology platform by Imersia Group. The Imersia platform allowed for cloud-based real time interactivity on a massive scale and powerful data processing. This will mean that multiple users can experience a variety of experiences simultaneously and immersively.

Through the portal of their mobile phone users accessed archival photos, videos of stories told by Marae founders, information about protocol and historical-cultural information linked to carvings and other taonga around the Marae.

In the Marae app you looked down into the screen and see a map of the content markers in relation to where you are in space. Each icon holds a wealth of hyperlinked information including videos and audio commentary.Screenshot_2015-10-05-09-45-50

You also looked through the app at carvings and murals and have them come to life using a combination of augmented reality technology and visual recognition software

The app now needs updating and redevelopment. The vision is for the interiors of the wharenui and other learning buildings around the site to be alive with songs, stories, images and teachings. Of course, these buildings are already inspirited and alive, the technology just reveals this by 21st century tools.