The spectacular journey of discovery and first footprints of iwi history.

This interpretive centre is an iwi-led project for Ngāpuhi hapū on the edge of the Hokianga harbour that tells the first story of discovery of Aotearoa New Zealand by the legendary navigator, Kupe.

To create it, Gibson International designed and built an all-encompassing cultural experience with live guides and performances, original carvings, an interactive gallery and a spectacular, immersive 4D theatre.

Our role

  • Technical design and installation
  • Interactive displays
  • Immersive experience design - theatre media scripting and production
  • Historical and oral tradition research
  • Interactive programming and content delivery
  • Fabrication and installation

An immersive experience

The cultural centre hosts visitors on a tour of the kawa and tikanga (practices and behaviours) of the region. Local guides introduce them to a dozen ethereal carvings of the atua, gods of Māori cosmology, before entering a wharenui-styled building with a powhiri experience.

The centre-piece is a 60-seat, 4-D theatre, where a 20-minute immersive theatre performance brings to life the voyage of Kupe, his battle with te wheke o Muturangi, and his placing of tohu and taniwha to hold the mauri of the harbour after his departure. Guides narrate the on-stage performance in front of five double-height screens.

Interactive displays uncover the footprints of Kupe

To finish, an 8-screen interactive gallery uncovers the ‘footprints of Kupe’ – the histories carried by his descendants through the navigators Nukutawhiti and Ruanui, and Ngāpuhi rangatira, Rāhiri.

Gibson International collaborated with

r e m o t e, Far North Holdings Ltd, FIT Architects, Toulouse Ltd, Andersen Design Ltd, Far North District Council, and MBIE through the NZ government Provincial Growth Fund.

Got a question, need a hand, or want to partner up?