With an open brief, Microsoft NZ challenged IDIA to develop something that would capture the imagination of young Māori. We knew from the start that interactivity would play a part as the gap between the physical and digital worlds narrows. However, we didn't just want to use technology for the sake of it. We wanted the interactive elements to connect and support our ideas and stories.
As we explored different ideas around technology, innovation and toi Māori, we were drawn back to the origin of our art forms, particularly whakaairo (carving). In some of our traditions, carving was brought to Te Ao Tūroa, the world of light, by Rua-te-Pupuke. In this story, Rua enters the house of Tangaroa, god of the sea, and in this house, the carvings are said to have been talking to each other. This made us think, wouldn't it be cool if we could do that with technology? If we could somehow bring our carvings to life through an installation with motion tracking and animation. With this in mind, we began to test and develop ways to create digital pou and tiki that would follow users as they interacted with the installation. For us, this would give the artworks the ihi, the wehi and wana, that sense of awe when standing in front of exceptional Māori artworks.