Gisborne District Council commissioned us to develop an interpretation strategy showcasing culturally significant landmarks. We worked closely with local iwi and hapū Ngāti Oneone, Ngai Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, to illuminate their authentic stories of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne. Two local seafarers also contributed unique insights on the journeys of the ancestors from East Polynesia: Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp.
A challenge, as well as the beauty of this project was the myriad of stories and perspectives that have been passed down on early life in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne. We used a combination of oral history interviews, archival materials, first-person storytelling, video content, interactive gaming, graphic novels, sculptural elements and 3D maps to highlight the rich, interwoven accounts.
Tupapa Heritage Trail
The Tupapa Heritage Trail takes locals and visitors on a journey of discovery from the Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne waterfront, along the shores of the Turanganui River, up to the Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) summitt. It tours locations that have shaped this region and country, from places waka (voyaging canoes) carrying the early Polynesian ancestors moored, to the shores where iwi encountered Cook and his crew.
Ten sail-shaped pou interpret sites along the walk. At the start and end of the trail large, sculptural map tables contextualise the viewshafts they overlook.
The app can be used while exploring the Tupapa Heritage Trail. Iwi and hapū representatives lead a tour, via a series of short videos. They present stories, waiata and art relating to historic events and landmarks along the trail.
Alongside the videos are animated graphic novels, which bring the stories to life with vibrant and dynamic illustration.
A content-rich website enables users to discover the history of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne from home. It contains an array of video, illustrated, photographic and written stories, about ancestral and contemporary journeys here from East Polynesia and early life in this region. An interactive waka-building game facilitates learning in an experiential way, while illustrated maps help the user navigate the historical landscape.
Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne is home to a proportionally high number of te reo speakers and it was important that iwi and hapū share their stories in their own language. We used a bilingual approach across all media, with te reo content leading design development.