Taranaki gets a virtual reality room

Puke Ariki has become the first library in New Zealand to have a dedicated virtual reality room for schools, disability and community groups.

The hi-tech virtual reality facility has been set up for Techweek 2019 and visitors will get the chance to walk through a surrealist Salvador Dali panting, explore the ocean or paint the world with particles from the big bang.

The virtual reality room is already a hit with all 112 experiences for Techweek now booked out.

Puke Ariki’s virtual reality offers you the chance to walk through a Salvador Dali painting

However the resource will be in place permanently with plans to use it with content created for future exhibitions and also as an educational tool for school groups and community organisations. 

Puke Ariki’s acting manager Colleen Mullin says the new installation confirms Puke Ariki’s position as a world-leader in library technology.

“Libraries have always played an instrumental role in bringing new technology to communities – from bound pages and VHS tapes, to MP3s and eBooks streaming directly from the cloud,” she says. 

She says Puke Ariki is excited to be one of Techweek New Zealand’s highlight events and to be able to bring virtual reality experiences to the New Plymouth District.

“The technology is a fantastic community resource and we are looking forward to using it with content created just for exhibitions and further experiences offered in the libraries.”

For those wanting to learn more about virtual reality and its future uses, Puke Ariki will be hosting a Tech Talk on May 22 at 5.30pm. There will be a speaker from engineering consultants WSP Opus who will explain how they are using virtual reality in the business world.

Virtual reality will also be coming to NPDC’s community libraries with Oculus Go stand-alone sets offering visitors the chance to explore new worlds from the comfort of their local library.

  • Techweek is New Zealand’s annual festival of innovation. It features events run by individuals and companies from all across the country on a diverse range of topics all focusing on this year’s theme: innovation that’s good for the world. Techweek Taranaki is on from Monday May 20 to Sunday May 26. For more details and to register for these events visit the website.

MAIN PHOTO CAPTION: NPDC’s Puke Ariki’s VR experiences during Techweek 2019 include the chance to explore the ocean in theBlu. Credit: theBlu: A Wevr Original Series