An interactive visitor attraction centre on the edge of the world shares a unique history with the world.

To cater for growing visitor numbers and address the conservation pressures, Gibson International was commissioned to create a ticketed exhibition at the Tumu Toka Natural Heritage Visitor Centre that would be educational, engaging and distinctively of the region.

The Gateway is a fully interactive museum experience that blends technology and multimedia design with a traditional museum exhibition design. It honours the kaitiaki relationship between the people of the Catlins and their particular environment situated on the edge of New Zealand’s South Island.

For South Catlins Trust and Venture Southland, Gibson International conceptualised the experience design, and fabricated and installed the entire exhibition, for which our team also designed the interactive displays and back-end applications to remotely refresh the content.

Our role

  • Interpretive design
  • Fabrication and installation
  • Ongoing site support and maintenance

A unique immersive experience and multimedia design

Throughout the Gateway Experience, visitors discover the unique heritage, people and wildlife of the Catlins through interactive screens and maps, before progressing through to an immersive theatre experience.

Subjects are layered and overlap from different perspectives in the three attraction spaces, which are grouped by theme. The first room orientates the visitor to the place and people who live here, while the next room provides an immersive theatre overview of how the region was formed and how its unique petrified forest was created.

The final gallery allows the visitor to examine rare samples of the petrified forest the area is famous for, and learn in detail about the endangered native flora and fauna of the area. Outdoor interpretive signage across the precinct tells stories associated with each location and are linked to a mobile app so visitors can watch videos from locals, introducing the personal experiences of Caitlins residents.

Gibson International collaborated with

South Catlins Charitable Trust, Department of Conservation, Venture Southland, Anderson Design Ltd, and Toulouse Ltd.

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