Method Studios

Auckland Virtual Tours

July 2021

Ngāti Whātua Orākei

Ngāti Whātua Orākei had a vision to push the boundaries of traditional Māori tourism by using new technology to tell their unique story. Within their land of Takaparawhau
(Bastion Point) lies a rich tribal history, the challenge was to bring the past to life and share knowledge that might otherwise be lost over time.

We also needed to deliver this experience in a low-impact way, capitalising on the 500,000 visitors Bastion Point receives annually while managing and protecting the land
so it remains a sustainable asset for future generations. Additionally, the iwi hoped this new venture would provide supplemental income to support infrastructure and sustainability initiatives.


Our idea was to create an interactive walking tour using Augmented Reality to take the user on a journey and tell their unique stories. 

This project was created by our AR/VR arm M Theory

We wanted to entertain and immerse visitors in the history of the land and its people.


We set out to create an immersive experience with the ‘wow’ factor. An experience that is talked about long after people have left the area. One that enriches their knowledge of the surrounding areas and the Māori connection and heritage, as well as encourages them to explore further and embark on a personal, guide-led walking tour.

We decided the best platform to achieve these multiple objectives was to create an augmented reality walking tour that takes the visitor on a journey around Bastion Point, where technology merges with the real life environment. We created an app that combines augmented reality, geo-tracking, 360 video, narrative audio (strewn with little-known gems), historical photos, and information on native birds and plants in the area, giving visitors a unique glimpse into the history of the land, its people, and their culture.

The app is available in English, Māori, and Chinese and launches with an introduction by an iwi representative via audio, including a welcome karakia (prayer) before the user purchases the app. Head to the entrance of Michael Savage Memorial, turn your volume up, and away you go. A map and visual way-finder points you in the right direction – starting off looking at Kohimarama Beach in the east, all the way around to looking at Ngāti Whātua Orākei Marae in the south.

At each destination (four in total) visitors are rewarded with our guide narrating a story from that area – everything from a slice of history to identifying geographical elements, showcasing the local flora and fauna, and an introduction to their traditional meeting house (marae). They can explore each area further by scrolling through a gallery of images as well as finding out about the local birdlife. On completion of the virtual tour visitors are prompted to continue their journey by booking the full guided tour.

A rich and immersive experience - Auckland Virtual Tours is a unique way to communicate some of New Zealand’s rich and diverse history


The app educates and promotes Māori culture by sharing exciting unique tribal stories and knowledge that might otherwise be lost over time in history books. It connects people to the treasures of the natural environment, and the cultural and historical significance of the site. The experience is designed to connect locals and international visitors alike with a slice of history of Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland).

The app promotes and encourages people to start or continue their Māori language journey, making it easily accessible to a huge range of people, all you need is a smartphone! Ngāti Whātua Orākei is one of the first iwi to embrace this type of mixed media to share their culture, local stories, and legends with visitors.

By implementing such an app and experience, we’re extending the tourism appeal to a much more diverse range of visitors and creating a unique journey of discovery. Method helped make history fun again and re-gain relevance (particularly with the younger generation) which will help to create understanding, respect for the past and shape future perspectives regarding matters of importance to Māori, while offering a sustainable supplementary income to support Ngāti Whātua Orākei infrastructure and sustainability initiatives.

Not to mention it’s a highly engaging and exciting experience that people are relishing in a beautiful and breathtaking environment.

Awarded FWA on March 9th 2018.