Oparara Basin Experience Design

Department of Conservation
THE QUESTION
Aotearoa New Zealand is an internationally recognised world ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity. How might stories of past extinction be expressed in ways to engage visitors into taking their first conservation actions?
THE OUTCOME
This design proposal identified ways to turn Oparara Basin into one of the top 3 tourism experiences on the West Coast, New Zealand. Using a ‘Lost world’ narrative about recently extinct Moa, it creates experiences that introduces people to conservation values of the future.

The Oparara Basin – Oparara Arch and the Honeycomb Hill Caves

Oparara Basin is a magical place famous for its limestone arches and caves that are the final natural resting places of moa – the largest bird that ever lived and Poukai, the now extinct Giant Eagle.

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From past extinctions to a future of conservation

Here in the we walk people through stories of past extinctions and forward into ways everyone can be involved in the excellent work that’s bringing back whio and kiwi to Kahurangi National Park.

Current shelter facility at the car park
Encountering moa silhouettes at the carpark shelter
Turning on the augmented reality function of the app
Seeing moa come to life with options to donate, share and learn more
Current shelter facility at the car park Encountering moa silhouettes at the carpark shelter Turning on the augmented reality function of the app Seeing moa come to life with options to donate, share and learn more

Animating stories of extinction

Life-sized silhouettes of moa at the car park bring the stories of these magical creatures to the foreground of the experience.

Smart phone applications are used to animate and feather in situ silhouettes and hatch virtual moa out of the eggs. Technology is enlisted to induct people into the values of nest protection that lie at the heart of all New Zealand’s multi-million dollar avian protection projects.

Inviting people into taking their first conservation actions

At the carpark you follow bird prints into a life-size tracking tunnel. Here options on the mobile app shift from augmenting the past to inviting people to join in protecting the nests and barrows of kiwi and the rare whio/blue that the Department of Conservation traps are protecting.