On 20 May 2017, He Tohu, a new permanent exhibition at New Zealand's National Library building in Wellington, opened to the public.
We were honoured to work on this project of immense national significance as lead designers and content developers, under the guidance of content experts from Archives New Zealand and the National Library, and two distinguished advisory boards. We also worked closely with a strong team of specialist consultants including Studio Pacific Architecture, interactive designers Click Suite, and renowned German showcase manufacturers Glasbau Hahn.
He Tohu is centred on three iconic constitutional documents that shape our nation: 1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni - Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition - Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine.
To commemorate the launch of the exhibition, New Zealand Post issued a limited edition set of postage stamps which were designed by Story Inc and freelance graphic designer Spencer Levine.
Story Inc's work on He Tohu, along with that of our partners and subcontractors was recognised at the 2017 Best Awards where the exhibition was awarded a Gold Pin in the Ngā Aho category and a Purple Pin for Spatial Design in Public and Institutional Spaces. In each category the judges had the following to say:
"There is magic here! The design has a beautiful sequencing that reveals an inner sanctum harbouring our most treasured documents in a crafted and protective cocoon. The tactility of the ripple detail to the timber sends shivers up the spine. Exquisite detailing with considered integral lighting effects provide a technically brilliant solution."
"The ‘He Tohu’ exhibition, showcasing three of our nation’s founding documents, demonstrates what is possible through cross-cultural collaboration in all stages of a design project from concept to delivery. He Tohu gives voice to both The Crown and Māori in a compelling and considered way, reflective of our Treaty partnership, and reflected in a space rich in aesthetic, story and meaning."
The exhibit uses six big projection screens and an immersive audio environment to create a powerful visitor experience out of still imagery and verbatim accounts. Shows typically run between five and ten minutes.
The sixth, and final Chapter, "The End of the War?" looks at the war-time experiences of nine people — men and women, Māori and Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian — and explores the impact of their experiences through their descendants, 100 years on. The feelings engendered by the war are as varied as the experiences of those who lived it — nurses, ambulance drivers, patriotic supporters, conscientious objectors, wounded soldiers and those killed in action.
Chapter Five "Women's War" examined the diverse experiences women at home and further afield faced during the First World War. Women’s attitudes toward the conflict were distinct, and they did not always agree. Some girls gave up their educations to tend to family farms, while many volunteered to knit socks for soldiers. Nurses fought to travel to the front lines to tend to the wounded, while pioneers like Ettie Rout challenged the status quo by campaigning for venereal disease prevention. Six mannequins dressed in war-era women’s clothing helped to represent the six archetypal women featured in the show - Pioneer, Patriot, Entertainer, Nurse, Worker and Wife/Mother/Sister/Daughter.
"War in the Holy Lands" is the 4th Chapter in the series. It told the story of the fierce battles, hordes of flies, extreme temperatures, and rampant malaria that New Zealand soldiers faced during the Middle Eastern battles of WW1. As well as the shocking story of the Surafend massacre - the New Zealand military's most shameful day. It ran from December 2017 until 19 February 2018.
Chapter Three, "Passchendaele" opened on 4 October 2017 to coincide with the centenary of the tragic battle. The six screen set up was altered slightly for this show, with two of the projectors repositioned to cast film of mud and driving rain across the floor, conveying the horror of the boggy battlefields to visitors. A small selection of objects, belonging to soldiers who fought at Passchendaele were exhibited in the showcase.
Chapter Two, "Dissent" (July - October 2017) focused on opposition to New Zealand's involvement in the First World War. "Dissent" was not just about conscientious objectors - it also told the stories of soldiers, iwi, religious groups and politicians that spoke out against the war.
Chapter One of the series, "Wounded" (April - July 2017) told the story of the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who served overseas during the First World War and had their lives blighted by injuries or sickness. It featured four life masks from soldiers with serious facial wounds, made by New Zealand military surgeons whose pioneering work during the war established many of the principles of modern plastic surgery.
Between March and July 2017 Story Inc completed a consultancy project for the Department of Conservation examining the quality of the end-to-end visitor experience at eight DOC Heritage Icon sites around New Zealand:
We specifically looked at what does and does not work at each of the sites, but also examined the internal systems DOC employs when developing or upgrading their heritage sites. Our research methods included:
As well as the final report we also produced a series of simple whiteboard animation videos around the concepts of 'Dream, Go, Experience and Connect' for DOC staff to use in internal presentations relating to our research.
Exploring our own backyard and seeing the outstanding work DOC do to preserve our heritage and make it accessible for all New Zealanders and international visitors was an absolute joy!
Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton, New Zealand
The exhibitions are a strong break from traditional Latter-day Saints' museums. We were commissioned to bring a 'Pasifika' voice to their history - a far different approach to their usual 'American Gothic' style from Utah. This meant a more personal narrative, bright colours and large scale illustrations, graphic novels and playful interactives.
Creating a museum narrative around Faith and Belief was a challenge. Combining historic events with expressions of worship and personal testimony - directed specifically at a younger audience - required Story Inc's team to be immersed in Mormon culture throughout the two-year project.
A Pacific Testimony is one of our most successful projects to date. Our clients are delighted with the result and we're thrilled with our creative outcomes. The exhibitions are open to the general public. You don't have to be a Mormon to visit or enjoy the museum!
The Kapiti US Marines Trust devotes itself to celebrating and preserving the history of the 15,000 US Marines who were stationed in three local camps around Paekakariki during WWII (between 1942-43).
Recently, the Trust secured a partially complete officer's hut, which would have once housed four Marines. They restored it to its original condition with the help of the Menzshed.
Story Inc happily agreed to assist by sourcing replica artefacts and decorating the interior.
The restored hut was completed just in time for Memorial Day (29 May 2017).
During late 2016 and early 2017 Story Inc worked with The Whiteboard as they developed a major event for the centenary of the MTA - the Motor Trade Association.Our role was in the 3d design for the show, which was held at Wellington’s TSB Arena at the end of April.
The event included a reception at parliament, a procession to TSB with a launch party there for 900 guests, and a gala dinner at Te Papa. Over 10,000 people visited the car show over the weekend.
TWMAN explores the stories of Ola from Poland, Neary from Cambodia, Yibeth from Colombia and Dalal from Syria. The women tell us about life in their former countries, why they had to leave and their lives now in New Zealand.
It was created in 2016 - 2017 by Steve La Hood from Story Inc, Sandra Clark, Rabid Technology and the New Zealand Red Cross.
The interactive online documentary format means that the stories for Together We Make A Nation can be accessed for free by anyone. Unlike a traditional documentary, during the story viewers are presented with other information to watch, read and share; the viewer is in control of their own experience and journey of discovery.
The website also includes community pages that are linked through Facebook to create an online hub, where organisations that support refugees coming to New Zealand can share resources, news and information.
Together We Make A Nation was funded by NZ On Air as part of the Digital Media Interactive Documentary Fund. The Interactive Fund supports new content that pushes the envelope of creative storytelling.
In 2016 Story Inc was hired by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA, now Ōtākaro Limited) to develop a Memorial Experience Strategy for the National Earthquake Memorial which was due to open the following year, on the 6th anniversary of the fatal 22 February quake.
By the time that Story Inc was brought on board to consult on the memorial, ground had been broken at the memorial site on the Ōtākaro/Avon River, between the Montreal Street bridge and Rhododendron Island on Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak’s design “The Memorial Wall: Riverside Promenade”.
CERA recognised that although Vezjak’s simple, yet beautiful design was fit-for-purpose and fulfilled the brief, there were a number of additional factors to consider in regard to the overall experience in order to create the most moving and effective memorial experience possible. Story Inc was engaged to explore the available options and produce a Memorial Experience Strategy.
To do this we facilitated and lead a series of workshops with the project team and other stakeholders. The recommendations that came out of those sessions were then refined into a coherent strategy which was then used to brief the development of specific visitor experience concepts.
Visitor experience elements that were examined through the consultancy were:
The response to the Memorial since its opening in February 2017 has been overwhelmingly positive, with many visitors describing it as a “moving experience”. Though we played just a small part in its creation, Story Inc was honoured to be involved with this project of national significance.
That move was the making of Wellington – turning what was then a struggling settlement into the vibrant and culturally rich city that we love today.
Story Inc were hired as the creative directors for the Capital 150 birthday party in July 2015. The celebration attracted a crowd of 15,000 and featured live music by New Zealand legend Dave Dobbyn; interactive projection by Massey University’s Open Lab; and a stunning 9-minute visual spectacle by Jon Baxter of Perceptual Engineering, with illustrations and model-making by Stephen Templar and audio by Cam Ballantyne.
Wellington, New zealand
Wellington, New zealand
In July 2015, while Wellington was celebrating 150 years as the nation’s capital, around the corner from parliament we were involved with another celebration – 150 years since the foundation stone was laid for the city’s most beloved church, Old St Paul’s.
The concept we developed for the Friends of Old St Paul’s was a night time projection on the facade that brings to life the stained glass window in its centre. Out of it emerges a diverse cast of stained-glass style characters who have been part of the story of the church and the land it is built on – from manawhenua (local Māori) in the earliest days, through world wars and the Friends’ protests that saved the church from demolition or removal in the 1960s, to today when Old St Paul’s is a proud icon of the city.
We worked with animators Dusk VFX and composer Jeremy Cullen to create the show, which played several times an hour over 10 winter nights, attracting thousands of curious viewers.
Our association with Old Saint Paul’s goes back several years as we have worked with them on two other projects, A Friend in Need (2007) and Read This Building (2010).
Telling ancient stories using modern technology and live performance – Story Inc’s project in North Queensland, opened in May 2015 by the Governor-General of Australia, is one of the most exciting we’ve undertaken…
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is one of Australia’s longest established indigenous tourism businesses, giving visitors to North Queensland an insight into the culture of the local Djabugay people since the 1980s. Between 2013 and 2015 the park underwent a complete upgrade.
Story Inc and our detailed design partner Studio Cassells were engaged to provide a new central performance attraction as well as the interpretive design of many elements of the revitalized buildings and grounds.
We re-wrote the original performance script to work in a 21st century mapped-projection animated environment, transporting the audience into the extraordinary mythical world of the Djabugay people.
Waikato Museum | Hamilton, New Zealand
Waikato Museum | Hamilton, New Zealand
The Waikato, a farming district, was mostly pro-Empire: but it is also home to the Tainui people whose leaders refused to take part in the war, and socialist miners from Huntly and Waihi – many of whom eventually ended up serving in the famous New Zealand Tunnelling Company.
The exhibition tells all of these stories through a range of featured historical characters. Our concept also involved the development of an interactive website, www.forustheyfell.org.nz , which allowed people to research and input information about family members or people from Waikato communities who served. That crowd-sourced research “populated” the exhibition’s haunting memorial space.