Meta Partners With Local Māori Tech To Launch New AR Experience For APEC 2021
AUCKLAND, NZ (9 November, 2021) — With delegates and participating nations unable to experience New Zealand culture in-person for APEC 2021, Meta New Zealand have partnered with a coalition of Māori creatives and designers in developing a ground-breaking new AR experience to virtually experience te ao Māori.
Available now on the Instagram NEXT account, Ngā Atua Māori (‘The Māori Gods’) is an innovative and interactive new way of telling the ancient Māori creation story and where Māori existence began.
The innovative use of AR storytelling provides a brief glimpse into the Māori world, and the launch during APEC highlights the importance of Indigenous economies and culture to the region—the APEC region is home to 70% of the world’s Indigenous communities.
About the Creative Team
The Ngā Atua Māori experience has been conceptualised and creatively led by Lee Timutimu, CEO and Founder of Arataki Systems, in collaboration with Māui Studios, a Māori-owned creative agency based in Aotearoa NZ.
Singapore-based not-for-profit digital arts organisation, The MeshMinds Foundation developed the effect’s 3D characters and face effects, based on creative by Arataki Systems and Maui Studios.
The collaboration was conceptualised and developed entirely by Māori artists and creators. As part of this Andrew Baker, Managing Director of Tika Learning, provided cultural advice and creative input throughout the development of the experience and narrative.
Lee Timutimu, CEO and Founder of Arataki Systems, said:
“It’s been a real pleasure partnering with Meta on this project. I was particularly impressed at how respectful and culturally aware the Meta team were right throughout the course of this project. It was incredibly important for us to maintain full control and creative license over our stories, and we were allowed the freedom to do so. In our experience, Indigenous stories can only be told by Indigenous peoples for reasons of authenticity, provenance, and mana (credibility). I’m also stoked that this project demonstrates how a small Indigenous owned tech company like ours, can successfully partner with a global tech giant like Meta! My sincere hope is that this will inspire other indigenous owned tech companies here in Aotearoa NZ, and around the globe, to do the same.”
Andrew Baker, Managing Director of Tika Learning, said:
“I have really enjoyed working alongside Meta for the past two years. They’ve brought a genuine interest and real ‘on-the-ground’ value to uplifting Māori socially and economically. This is an exciting project to be involved in with Lee and the Meta team. It’s brought together some of Aotearoa’s most talented storytellers to share a Māori creation story that is both ancient and new tech; personal and collaborative; Indigenous and globally relevant and about the past and a future full of potential. Ka mau te wehi whānau!
Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy for Meta Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands said:
“Drawing on APEC’s focus around Indigenous economy this year, we were honoured to support the Māori creative team behind this new AR experience. Even if you can’t visit Aotearoa in-person, this technology allows over one billion people on Instagram the chance to immerse themselves in the Māori creation story. As we develop new technologies on the road to the Metaverse, it’s our priority to continue investing in Indigenous digital skills and inclusive opportunities to expand these vibrant local creator communities.”
About the Ngā Atua Māori AR Experience
The Ngā Atua Māori AR experience brings to life 3D animated characters that represent five of the Māori gods, and tells their stories through an AR world effect. There is also a 2D AR face effect that enables users to also create their own Instagram Story inspired by the Māori creation story.
Available on the @instagramNEXTaus account, the Ngā Atua Māori AR experience brings to life 3D animated characters that represent five of the Māori gods, and tells their stories through an AR world effect.
The effect starts by introducing Ranginui - the Sky Father and Papatūānuku - the Earth Mother. Through this story, the user is then introduced to five of the more commonly known Māori Gods - Tangaroa, God of oceans and seas; Rūaumoko, God of earthquakes and volcanoes; Tāwhirimātea, God of wind and weather; Tūmatauenga, God of war; and Tāne; God of forests and birds. These represent five of the more than 70 Gods in Māori storytelling.
The 3D animations of the five Māori Gods featured were voiced by Māori talent (Stacey Morrison (narrator); Scotty Morrison (the voice of Tāne); Matai Smith (the voice of Tangaroa); Piripi Taylor (the voice of Tūmatauenga); Chey Milne, the voice of Tāwhirimātea; and Tamati Waaka (the voice of Rūaumoko). The Ngā Atua Māori AR experience was based entirely on the research and writings of Tamati Waaka, who is a published author in his own right and a highly respected te reo & tikanga expert.
How to use the AR Experience
Before you get started, make sure you have the latest version of Instagram installed on your smartphone and your sound is on. Make sure you are in a well-lit area with a non-reflective flat surface (the floor or a table work best). For best results, ensure there is one square metre of space around you.
1. Opening The Maori Gods World AR Experience: Head to the Instagram NEXT page (@instagramnextaus) and find the Effects tab. Look for this icon:
. a. On the Effects tab
, tap on The Māori Gods World AR to open the Effect. b. If you are not on Instagram, use the following link to open the experience on Facebook: https://l.ead.me/maori-ar-world-fb. 2. Find a flat surface: Using the back-facing camera on Instagram, move your smartphone around slowly to detect a flat, non-reflective surface.
3. Tap to place: Once your smartphone has found a flat surface, tap on the screen to place the experience where you want it to start. 4. Turn on your sound: Don’t forget to turn on your sound!
5. Starting the story: The Māori Gods creation story will roll as a 2D animation. Keep your smartphone steady, otherwise the experience won’t start where you expect it to. If you have already watched this once, please feel free to tap the ‘Skip’ button at the top of the screen.
6. Activating The Māori Gods in AR: The five Māori Gods will appear in your space. Pinch the screen with two fingers to adjust the size of the Māori Gods. If you want to change the location of the Māori Gods, you can single tap the screen to place them wherever you want.
7. Selecting each Māori God: Tap on the icons above the Instagram camera shutter button to select the next Māori God in the story.
8. Sharing The Māori Gods World AR Experience: Listen to the “Ngā Atua Māori” creation story and record a video or snap a photo to share the Māori Gods in your world:
a. Recording a video: Hold down the Instagram camera shutter button and use a finger on your other hand to swipe left and right on the screen to select each Māori God. Instagram allows you to record up to four clips of 15seconds of the Māori Gods and their story. You can then add stickers and text to your video(s) before sharing to your Instagram Story.
b. Snapping a photo: Tap the Instagram camera shutter button to snap a photo of your favourite Māori God. You can then add stickers and text to your photo before sharing it to your Instagram Story.
c. Pro tip: Search “Māori Gods” for animated stickers to spice up your Instagram Story!
How to use the Face Effect:
1. Opening The Māori Gods Face AR Experience: Head to the Instagram NEXT page (@instagramnextaus) and find the Effects tab. Look for this icon:
. a. On the Effects tab
, tap on The Māori Gods Face AR to open the Effect. b. If you are not on Instagram, use the following link to open the experience on Facebook: https://l.ead.me/maori-ar-face-fb.
2. Turn on your sound: Don’t forget to turn on your sound to hear the sounds of each Māori God realm!
3. Find a face: Using your front-facing camera on Instagram, make sure your face is in the frame.
4. Choose an option: Tap on the icons above the Instagram camera shutter button to select the realm you would like to be in.
5. Sharing The Māori Gods Face AR Experience: Listen to the atmospheric sounds of each realm and record a video or snap a photo to share to your Instagram Story: a. Recording a video: Hold down the Instagram camera shutter button and use a finger on your other hand to swipe left and right on the screen to select a realm. Instagram allows you to record up to four clips of 15 seconds of the realms. You can then add stickers and text to your video(s) before sharing to your Instagram Story.
b. Snapping a photo: Tap the Instagram camera shutter button to snap a photo of your favourite realm. You can then add stickers and text to your photo before sharing it to your Instagram Story.
c. Pro tip: Search “Māori Gods” for stickers to spice up your Instagram Story!