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Virtual Reality Pōwhiri Developed by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

16.04.2018 - 23:43

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa provides holistic education opportunities of the highest quality for Māori, peoples of Aotearoa and the world, and is one of New Zealand’s largest tertiary education providers.

Guided by Māori principles and values, they take great pride in their nurturing and inclusive learning environment, as well as the depth and diversity of their courses in small business, computing, social work, teaching, Māori arts and te reo Māori, and the following story is typical of their success.

A Virtual Reality pōwhiri developed by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa turned heads at WOMAD this year. More than 500 people donned Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and watched the fully immersive and realistic pōwhiri experience over the three-day festival.

Katie Brayne, a movement coach from Taranaki, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I’ve been in a live powhiri before, but I really enjoyed that because it gave me time to look at it from a different perspective, to be there and enjoy the process.”

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa lead developer for the virtual pōwhiri project, Joshua Brown says the experience is great for people unfamiliar with the traditional Māori custom. It also provided a unique view of a pōwhiri, so people familiar with the pōwhiri process also enjoyed and learnt from the experience.

The virtual pōwhiri uses stereoscopic video and spatial audio techniques to ensure the immersive experience is as realistic as possible. Users wear an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, with three headsets running for the duration of the festival. Vivienne Merito, national lead for brand and recruitment at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, says the pōwhiri - which was filmed on Ōtāwhao Marae in Te Awamutu - is an authentic experience befitting the values of WOMAD.

“One of the things I love about WOMAD is the authenticity of the cultural experience, so it is important this is done well.”

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is a programme partner of WOMAD 2018, and operating

from over 80 locations throughout the country, they provide a unique learning environment, aiming to overcome barriers to learning, and to meet the needs of all within the communities they serve.

For more information on online courses NZ, distance learning NZ and learning Te Reo please go to www.twoa.ac.nz .