Ngāti Kahungunu enters virtual reality realm

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Ngāti Kahungunu has invested into the world of virtual reality, taking a 40 percent stake in the computer graphics company Animated Research Ltd. A venture the iwi hopes will help lift numeracy and literacy not only for its people but across the country. 

"We've been investing in primary industry and primary production and real estate but here we are stepping off the wharf so to speak into space into cyberspace," says Ngahiwi Tomoana, chairman for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc.

The company founded by Ian Taylor has created leading-edge graphics for the America's Cup and other global events.

"He's been a pioneer in the TV industry with Play School and been a pioneer in the rock band scene with calculated risk but when he started doing the digital stuff we really started taking notice of this boy from Raupunga had some skills that have caught the rest of the world's attention."

The iwi hopes virtual and augmented reality technology will teach people to read and write and even improve health outcomes.

"If there is a financial return that is a secondary thought to our social return, to a cultural return to learning all these things."