He Tohu

A permanent exhibition of three constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand

Comprehensive research & groundwork

Three years in the making, He Tohu is a new permanent exhibition of three iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. Click Suite had the privilege of creating the digital interactives for this exciting and important exhibition. Before writing a single line of code, we undertook an extensive deep-dive of empathic user research and interviews, design thinking, and prototyping. From this process, three powerful digital concepts were conceived and then executed.

The Document Tables

The exhibition houses three large 4k touchscreens that let users explore Te Tiriti, the Women's Suffrage Petition, and He Whakaputanga as never before. A smooth multi-touch interface lets you zoom right into the highest-resolution scans ever made of these constitutional documents. As you're exploring, you uncover recorded insights from the wonderful Archives New Zealand archivists and experts. These archivists' insights are then organized into themed tours or hikoi, to help you navigate the wealth of content at your fingertips.

Each of the thousands of signatures can be tapped on for further information. The combination of being able to see detail you've never seen while hearing the wisdom of passionate archivists makes for a moving experience.

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Kōrero: Telling our story

Simple in concept but logistically complex, the He Tohu kōrero is about bringing real dialogue to the topic of each of the three documents. Mosaics of square screens play out a huge diversity of recorded interviews, hand-curated into themed clusters.

Over 600 individual interview clips are in the exhibition, with academics, experts, the famous and not so famous, the young and not so young. As you hear the wide range of views on offer, you're also encouraged to use the recording booth within the exhibition to record yourself - offer up your own kōrero and it may be displayed alongside all the others.

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The Map Table: A captivating projection

The map table is a large CNC-routed image of the map of New Zealand, a physical extrusion. On to this 3d canvas we project data-driven stories that relate to each of the three documents - the story of the huge number of signatures collected by Kate Sheppard, or the logistical challenge of sending the sheets of Te Tiriti all around the country by ship and land, or the dramatic story showing the loss of Maori land ownership over time.

A projection-mapping technique brings these stories to life, making the country a glowing jewel on to which we project each story - each has its own unique visual style. The stories themselves are the product of a huge amount of research (with new facts uncovered through the process), and distill the complex down into something beautiful and accessible.

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