Rangatahi Bolt-On Project (RBOP) Matariki Hunga nui: Mixed Reality Experience

2023 – 2024


In the Bolt-on Matariki Mixed Reality (MR) project, our focus is on creating a Mobile MR experience for Māori astronomy (tātai arorangi), specifically centered around Matariki. This project addresses the growing need for resources related to the national celebration of Matariki, offering an immersive educational experience accessible through virtual wānanga or other educational applications.

Designed for mobile devices, our Matariki MR experience aims to broaden its reach, providing anytime, anywhere access to celestial observations, teaching, and sharing of mātauranga. This initiative not only showcases the potential of digital tools to enhance immersive content but also serves to inspire interest in tātai arorangi, fostering a deeper connection to Māori astronomy, ceremony, and culture.

The direct outcome of this project will be a mobile-compatible MR-based tātai arorangi experience focused on Matariki. Beyond its cultural significance, this technology opens avenues for digital storytelling, enabling individuals and communities to capture, preserve, and share their unique mātauranga with younger generations.

The broader impact extends to the creation of immersive digital experiences that transcend traditional barriers of time, weather, and location associated with astronomy observation. Leveraging advancements in technologies like 360-degree cameras and volumetric capture devices, our project pioneers a framework for immersive learning applicable to various topics. This framework empowers communities to develop content specific to their hapū or iwi, fostering economic and commercialization opportunities as they gain hands-on MR experience.

Recognizing the significance of Matariki in Aotearoa, this project aligns with the national interest in developing technological tools that promote mātauranga, contributing to a contemporary understanding of identity and place. By utilizing digital technologies, we aim to make astronomy experiences more accessible, interactive, and immersive for a broader audience, facilitating a cultural exchange that transcends geographical and environmental constraints.



This project is funded by a Rangatahi Bolt-On Project (RBOP) grant from Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge (SfTI) – Kia Kotahi Mai: Te Ao Pūtaiao me Te Ao Hangarau programme hosted by Callaghan Innovation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.



Kris Tong, HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury

Project Team

    • Kris Tong, HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury
    • Noel Park, Otago University
    • Stu Duncan, Otago University
    • Laurie Lloyd-Jones, Otago University
    • Kimiora Whaanga, Victoria University of Wellington
    • Tiriana Anderson, He Kura Tūī , He Kura Ika
    • Hēmi Whaanga, Massey University
    • Awarua Rūnanga, Te Rau Aroha Marae, Bluff


More Information


Kris Tong, HIT Lab NZ