Mataatua Wharenui Visitor Experience Development

Client: Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa
Services: Cultural Tourism Consulting
Year: 2011-12
Brief: Establish a ‘world-class’ end-to-end tourism product based at Mataatua Wharenui
Contributors:  Project Lead – John Leuthart (Leuthart & Co); Digital Direction – Emily Loughman, Tim Denee   (Click Suite); Market and Production Manager – William Stewart (Mauriora).

Tasked with designing and delivering a “world-class” cultural tourism experience at Mataatua Wharenui, we worked closely with a wider team of consultants, including Wellington-based sector leaders Leuthart and Co. and digital agency Click Suite, to create an exceptional offering.

Our collaboration resulted in the awe-inspiring Hiko: Legends Carved in Light, a state-of-the-art digital projection spectacle that brought the stories embedded within the carvings of Mataatua Wharenui to life. Breaking new ground, this was the first time such projection technology had been used in Aotearia New Zealand. The Hiko spectacle’s remarkable achievement was recognized with a Gold award at the prestigious 2012 Best Design Awards.

Integrating advanced technology into a sacred cultural space presented unique challenges. With utmost respect for the  mauri, mana, and tapu of the treasured wharenui, we carefully ensured that the integration of technology harmoniously complemented and enhanced the cultural significance of the space and provided an outcome that even the most traditional and stringent cultural kaitiaki (guardians) within the iwi could be proud of.

In addition to the spectacular Hiko experience, our comprehensive approach encompassed end-to-end tourism product establishment. This involved experience development, comprehensive guide training, brand strategy and identity development, marketing and sales strategies, web presence and point of sale integration, production of captivating marketing collateral, and a meticulously orchestrated launch famil program to engage key stakeholders in the tourism and travel trade sectors.