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Puke Ariki

In 2002 we began the design and installation of a multi-media showpiece for the new museum in New Plymouth. The nationwide tender was won on the basis of dynamic visual design, story-telling skill and installation experience. The exhibition ran until 2008.

The dramatic 10 minute film mixed 3D digital construction with archive footage, photos, and 35mm film footage taken specifically for the project. The film played on two non-standard screens with a combined width of 12 metres. The screens were divided as 1,2 or 3 images, and were surrounded by innovative reflective fittings and an extensive theatrical lighting design.

In a region so dominated by ‘the mountain‘, the theatre experience told interweaved elements of its history – from the time of legend and volcanic creation, to first epic climbs of the mountain, land wars, Parihaka, the discovery of oil and the diverse, spiritual nature of the Taranaki region today. The whole story had extremely important Maori elements, requiring careful clearance and iwi liaison.

We were also responsible for the specification, installation and programming of lighting and video control systems which included multiple projections, surround sound and a dazzling light show that even incorporated the seats.

Puke Ariki was major step forward in regional museum design.