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Innovators in Te Papa’s accelerator to connect cultures to their taonga

28 Jul 17

Mahuki, Te Papa’s innovation hub has opened its doors to nine entrepreneurial teams for its 2017 programme.

Over the course of the four-month residency, the teams will respond with digital solutions, to challenges faced by Te Papa and other cultural service providers across New Zealand and the world.

A powhiri (traditional Māori welcome) to welcome the teams and staff was held at Te Papa’s Te Marae on Thursday 27 July.

Te Papa chief executive Geraint Martin and Mahuki general manager Tui Te Hau welcomed the teams to the Te Papa whanau (extended family or community).

“We are thrilled to welcome these innovative teams to Te Papa and we look forward to what they may produce for the cultural, heritage and learning sectors to enhance the user experience,” says Martin. 

“Te Papa is always looking at ways to enable new kinds of storytelling and connect New Zealanders with their taonga. 

“The success of last year’s inaugural Mahuki residency is a testimony to how nurturing innovation can reach new audiences.”

Mahuki general manager Tui Te Hau is excited by the quality of applications the residency has attracted from all over the country.

“The calibre of the Mahuki teams for 2017 is high. 

"Their solutions span experience and enterprise solutions including collection management, insights and analytics, virtual and augmented reality, social enterprises focused on language preservation, volunteer workforce management, and a student team focused on learning innovation,” she says.

The nine teams are commencing the four-month Mahuki programme which is based at Te Papa.

Mahuki entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to work with Te Papa's experts and collections.

They will work on real-world culture sector challenges, informed by Te Papa's experience as a global leader. 

“As part of the Mahuki programme, entrepreneurs will get out on the floor, user test their platforms and have access to our 1.8 million visitors per year – it’s an exceptional opportunity for both the entrepreneurs and Te Papa,” says Tui.

Mahuki aims to build on New Zealand’s strength in creative industries, alongside a rapidly growing technology sector, to boost opportunity for local creative technology businesses.

In 2016, Te Papa engaged seven business concepts developed at Mahuki, for deployment within the museum.

One of these concepts has attracted international interest and are looking to grow into the China market. 



Collaborate applied to take part in Mahuki 2017 with a mobile app that connects community organisations and not-for-profits with volunteers. Organisations can post specific tasks and connect instantly with skilled volunteers. The Wellington-based, all female team of four came together to found Collaborate based on their experiences volunteering.

The XPECTR team is entering Te Papa’s innovation hub with an augmented reality experience that can digitally superimpose cultural artefacts such as clothing on to the user’s body on screen.  By applying XPECTR to educational storytelling, there is potential to create visually-captivating interactive experiences for museum visitors.

Immersive Space Programme
The Immersive Space Programme is developing iSPARX - a 360° augmented and virtual reality media platform. Launching from Mahuki, the iSPARX platform provides users unique interactive augmented and virtual reality experiences in education, commercial and entertainment applications.

I Want To Experience
The I Want To Experience virtual reality application is an interconnected world of immersive storytelling experiences, where users can interact, learn and discover from subject matter experts. The team enter Mahuki with experience in film making, artificial intelligence, motion capture, visual effects and virtual reality.

Morph (By ContinUX)
Morph platform creates a seamless data-gathering, analysis and reporting platform for GLAM institutions that doesn’t disrupt the exhibition experience. The digital solution is a combination of hardware and software which tracks visitors and records interactions, delivers analytical data to the institution, captures data for visitors to share on social media and enable visitors to add data before or after their exhibition experience.

SimplyFi Ltd
SimplyFi will be developing a system that streamlines the lending and borrowing process for museums. The collection management system enables the lender and borrower to see updates in real time, similar to the way Google Docs enables users to see document edits as they are being made. This system will enable the tracking of items and information through tracing them at checkpoint markers.

Tide Talk
Tide Talk is an intuitive, customisable language learning tool that will help preserve the languages of Oceania, and endangered languages around the world. Auckland-based founders Lillian Arp and Konini Rairoa are joining Mahuki with a passion for language and learning.

Vaka Interactiv
Vaka Interactiv is a team of four Pasifika and Māori co-founders led by Chief Executive, Jesse Armstrong. The Auckland-based team are entering Mahuki with interactive portrait technology that will enable visitors to connect to culture.

The ScimitAR team is focusing their work on the innovation hub on an augmented reality game which enables players to participate in a virtual scavenger hunt. The game requires players to collect “digi-pet” versions of New Zealand native creatures by following clues. The team comes to Mahuki with a strong skill base in 3D Graphics, 3D modelling, animation and programming.

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