Explore virtual realities in Te Papa Talks event this weekend

16 March 2017

Te Papa Talks: Virtual Realities is a four-day public programme of events being held in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington this weekend, which will see experts from Australia and New Zealand host talks, workshops and demonstrations of the ways virtual and augmented reality is changing our world.

Below is more information on the event including the programme and biographies of the experts.

Please let me know if you’d like to speak with any of the experts, get any other information or attend events at the weekend.

Explore virtual realities with experts from Australia and New Zealand

The ways virtual and augmented reality are changing the way we live, work and play will be explored during a four-day public programme at Te Papa.

Te Papa has partnered with Victoria University of Wellington to present Te Papa Talks: Virtual Realities, a series of public talks, workshops and live demos exploring virtual and augmented reality.

“The range of applications for augmented, virtual and mixed reality is almost limitless. No matter what you’re doing in life, chances are that new immersive technology is about to transform the way you do it,” says Te Papa spokesperson Kate Camp.

“Virtual realities are sure to impact our lives more and more in the near future in so many different industries including film, architecture and education. It can help us with everything from building empathy for refugees to facilitating virtual school trips across the world.”

The programme, which runs from March 17 – 20, includes talks and workshops from leading experts in virtual and augmented reality from Australia and New Zealand including artists and innovators, filmmakers, and education professionals.

“The weekend’s line up offers a broad range of experts in different disciplines who are using virtual or augmented reality in creative, collaborative and captivating ways. Whether you want to dip your toe into the world of virtual realities or are ready to deep dive into the industry, this event will offer something for you,” Ms Camp says.

Te Papa Talks will kick off on Friday, March 17 with an opening night event with a series speakers hosted by Victoria University of Wellington Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Design Leon Gurevitch. This will be followed by an after party where attendees will be able to see demonstrations and get their hands on state-of-the-art virtual, augmented and mixed reality tech.

Saturday and Sunday sees a series of hands-on workshops including an introduction to virtual reality, a Tilt Brush workshop by Sutu, and explorations of virtual reality in indigenous film from both Australian and New Zealand filmmakers.

Monday offers a virtual reality storytelling master class with Mike Jones and the chance for educators to discover ways immersive technologies can be used to enrich the learning experience.

Mr Gurevitch of Victoria University says the time is right for virtual reality to come of age.

“In the 1980s there was a great deal of interest and hype around virtual reality, but computational technology still had a long way to go. Fast forward to now and cheap, mass consumable and high quality virtual reality is finally here so producers and users of virtual reality are finally beginning to explore and experiment with the possibilities that the technology and the genres that result from it hold.

“At the Te Papa Talks we are bringing together experts from all walks of the virtual reality landscape to describe their experiences now and their expectations for the future of virtual reality.”

The New Zealand Film Commission, a partner of this year’s Te Papa Talks, is exploring the future of storytelling through new technologies. The NZFC brought two Australian filmmakers to New Zealand its future-focused programme, GPS2026, and Te Papa is grateful for its support in having Lynette Wallworth and Mike Jones involved in Te Papa Talks: Virtual Realities.

This is the second Te Papa Talks event, and follows from the success of 2016’s Te Papa Talks: Animation which was held in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington to mark DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition.


Notes to editors

Event programme

Friday Night Event
Friday, March 17, 6.30pm–10.30pm
Tickets $25 (includes goody bag)

Hear from leading innovators, experience live demos, and meet VR creators. No matter what your interests are, chances are that immersive technology is about to transform the way you explore and create.

Virtual Reality Content Creation – Workshop with Mark Billinghurst
Saturday, March 18, 9am–12pm

Tickets $20

Discover what you need to know to get started in the exciting world of virtual reality (VR). Bring your own smartphone and learn how to create VR experiences – no programming skills are needed. Each attendee gets to collaborate in a team and share their creations during this hands-on workshop.

Bring data to life! Join Dr Stefan Marks to experience how VR enables us to explore data and find stories within it. A response to the Christchurch earthquakes, Stefan’s project uses HTC Vive and Unity 3D to see and hear the data of 300,000 earthquakes from 1900 to now.

Bring data to life through VR
Saturday, March 18, 1pm–3pm
Tickets $10

Bring data to life! Join Dr Stefan Marks to experience how VR enables us to explore data and find stories within it. A response to the Christchurch earthquakes, Stefan’s project uses HTC Vive and Unity 3D to see and hear the data of 300,000 earthquakes from 1900 to now.

Discover Tilt Brush with Sutu
Saturday, March 18, 2pm–5pm

Tickets $20

An introduction to using Google’s Tilt Brush and telling stories in virtual reality with Sutu – Australian comic-book artist extraordinaire.

Sutu discusses some of his best practices for creating an immersive, interactive storytelling experience in virtual reality (VR) – including VR painting techniques, VR user-experience ideas, and VR cinematography.

Victoria University Virtual Reality Demos
Saturday March 18 & Sunday March 19, 11am–1pm & 2pm–4pm
Free event

Check out leading VR projects from Victoria University of Wellington, and meet the creators.

Mixed Reality Hackathon
Friday, March 17 – Sunday, March 19

The Power of Immersive Storytelling with Artist Lynette Wallworth: Masterclass
Sunday, March 19, 1pm–3pm
Tickets $15

Lynette Wallworth was brought to New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Film Commission’s GPS 2026 project. The Australian artist discusses how she uses virtual and augmented realities to enhance her immersive installations and films. Her talk is followed by a Q&A session.

Talk and Film: Māori Culture in Virtual Reality
Sunday, March 19, 3.30pm–5pm
Tickets $15

Hear how tech company Matariki NZ is using immersive digital technologies to capture the stories of kaumātua (elders) – helping to connect rangatahi (youth) with their cultural identity and restore Aotearoa’s ecosystem. Experience the first film in the series – Kaitiakitanga Kevin Prime – and meet filmmakers Garry Watson and Hana Bougen.

Writing for Virtual Reality with Mike Jones: Master Class
Monday, March 20, 1pm–3pm
Tickets $15

Join Mike Jones, an Australian scriptwriter and creative producer, for a workshop exploring the use of virtual reality in storytelling. In association with the New Zealand Film Commission’s GPS 2026 project.

Transformative Tech for Learning – Educator Workshop
Monday, March 20 5pm–7pm
Tickets $20

Matt Richards from Te Papa’s Learning Innovation Team introduces educators to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Discover tools that can be used for teaching, such as Google Cardboard, cardboard cameras, Aurasma, Vive, and Tilt Brush. Get hands-on, create your own VR content, and 3-D scan your colleague! All technology provided, but feel free to bring your own device.

This workshop is specifically designed for professional educators.

About the experts

Sutu (Stuart Campbell) - Australia
From interactive augmented reality (AR) comics to immersive virtual reality (VR) story experiences, Sutu discusses creating art and telling stories in the age of AR and VR. Sutu is an Australian author, illustrator, and interactive designer. His Tilt Brush paintings have been commissioned by the likes of Google and Marvel, and he is currently developing a VR documentary using Tilt Brush.

Lynette Wallworth - Australia
Lynette Wallworth is an acclaimed Australian artist and director whose installations and films reflect connections between people and the natural world. Her work uses immersive environments, interactive technologies, and narrative long-form film to engage viewers. Her most recent work Collisions is a stunning VR journey to the the remote Western Australian desert with indigenous elder Nyarri Morgan of the Martu tribe who shares his story of the dramatic collision between his traditional world view and first contact with western culture when he witnessed nuclear testing in the South Australian desert in the 1950s.

Lynette Wallworth was brought to New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Film Commission’s GPS 2026 project.

Mike Jones - Australia
Mike Jones is a writer, script editor, and creative producer working across screen, page, and interactive media. He was co-creator of the virtual reality detective-thriller VR Noir: A Day Before the Night with Sydney-based company Start VR. He is also a lead writer of the upcoming speculative fiction VR drama Awake: First Contact.

Mike Jones was brought to New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Film Commission’s GPS 2026 project.

Mark Billinghurst – Australia
Mark Billinghurst was one of the founders of HIT Lab NZ and is now the professor of virtual and mixed reality at the University of South Australia. He is one of the leading VRAR researchers globally and is developing new ways to seamlessly blend the real and digital worlds and enable people to connect and collaborate together.

Matariki NZ

Matariki NZ is a mixed-tech Māori business that uses advanced digital technology to capture and articulate mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge).

The company shares this knowledge across age, gender, and cultural divides to build bicultural understanding, encourage cultural resilience, and engage rangitahi Māori (Māori youth). Spreading this knowledge may also help efforts to restore the biodiversity of Aotearoa’s natural environment.

Media contact

Sophie Speer
027 892 6938