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Technology Brings New Experience To Historic Battle Site

Regarded as “a masterpiece of military engineering”, Te Ruapekapeka Pā, one of New Zealand’s most iconic historic heritage sites continues to deliver new innovations.

Te Ruapekapeka Trust is excited with the launch of a unique mobile app which uses virtual and augmented reality technologies to engage with visitors — as well as a redesigned website that better reflects the stories of Te Ruapekapeka Pā and the events that helped shaped the nation.

The chair of Te Ruapekapeka Trust, Alan Halliday, says the trust recognised the importance of maintaining the historical site and its stories, while also connecting with whānau, hapū, and visitors on multiple platforms, including mobile.

The mobile app was co-designed with rangatahi graduates from NGEN-Room based in Whangarei, with technical support by the Computational Media Innovation Centre (CMIC), Victoria University of Wellington, and Koha Information Technology Solutions.

Using proximity sensors and geo-coding, the app provides sensory notifications (kiwi call and phone shake) when visitors approach sites of significance. Once there, they’re able to see the stories of that particular site.

Visitors are also able to use the mobile apps’ augmented reality feature which, as a symbolic gesture, includes firing the carronade at the British position.

One of the key developers, Kevin Shedlock (Ngāti Hau, Te Kapotai, Ngāti Wai), says Te Ruapekapeka Pā project was an opportunity to introduce the rangatahi graduates to research and development of new technologies, including artificial intelligence.

“The technology will open future research potential for navigating light sensory techniques and scanning horizons in the outdoors … a very difficult research problem to solve globally.”

The website and mobile app was developed with support from the Provincial Growth Fund and Victoria University.

The 175th Commemorations of the Battle of Ruapekapeka are being held at and around Kawiti Marae in Waiomio, Te Taitokerau, from 8-10 January, 2021. The memorial for British servicemen will be unveiled on 3 February, 2021 at the British camp on Te Ruapekapeka Pā.

The mobile app can be downloaded from the website: www.ruapekapeka.co.nz

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