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Māori culture meets IT to tell waka story


A Wintec music student is working with traditional Māori music specialist Horomona Horo to create compositions where contemporary expression of taonga puoro (traditional Māori music) will become part of an app for the Matariki Interactive Waka Sculpture.

Horomona Horo, traditional Māori music specialist (right) is working with Wintec to create a series of compositions for the Wintec waka sculpture.

A Wintec music student is working with traditional Māori music specialist Horomona Horo to create compositions where contemporary expression of taonga puoro (traditional Māori music) will become part of an app for the Matariki Interactive Waka Sculpture.

The app is one of the interactive elements of Wintec’s waka sculpture which, when sited on the banks of the Ferrybank reserve will provide a unique storytelling aspect for Matariki.

Horomona is working directly with Norefjell Davis, a third year Media Arts student with the support of Wintec academic Dr Jeremy Mayall through the Electroacoustic Music paper. Norefjell, with guidance from Horomona, is creating a series of musical compositions as an artistic interpretation of the seven sisters of Matariki.

Horomona says there is a need to work with students to help and inspire them to grow and follow their dreams.

"Ko te piko o te māhuri, tera te tipu o te rakau," he says. "The way the sapling is shaped determines the growth of the tree."

Ashton Church, who is in his third year of studying a Bachelor of Information Technology is designing the back end of the app which will incorporate these compositions.

Project lead and Wintec tutor, Joe Citizen says the app is one of a number of elements for the waka sculpture that use technology to convey aspects of Māori culture, music and storytelling.

“The build of the waka sculpture is almost complete and we are now focussed on the interactive visual and storytelling aspects of it,” says Joe.

“This part of our project work is as exciting as developing the physical structure as it takes it from a sculpture which embraces Māori cultural elements into the IoT (Internet of Things) space. As well as the app, this includes the IT infrastructure for the sculpture and a website.”

Wintec Centre for IT, Business and Enterprise researcher Andy Fendall is developing a website with design input from Media Arts tutor Jordan Foster and students to further take the experience of the waka sculpture into the online space.

Hamilton IT company, Aware Group is supporting the IT infrastructure for the project.

"An interesting space is in the IT side of the project which sees a convergence between our engineering and IT students. By integrating these previously different domains together, students are able to find solutions in the rapidly developing field of the Internet of Things, whilst also being embedded in Māori achievement values,” says Joe.

As the waka sculpture develops, it is yet to be formally named before a date is set for its installation. Joe says iwi advisers have been approached to form the final name for the Wintec waka sculpture and the date for the final installation will be announced soon.

Follow the Matariki Interactive Waka Project on Facebook.

Read Engineering firm takes mentoring to another level.

Read Support builds for Hamilton's Interactive Waka Sculpture.


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