An interactive digital documentary home for the poi in Aotearoa

POI360 is a multi-layered interactive documentary experience. It is the digital home for indigenous stories of the Poi. Through documentary, how-to videos, a 360 performance recording and much more, POI360 brings a collection of stories and perspectives that have never been told in the same forum to the digital realm.

The concept for the project comes from Lanita Ririnui-Ryan (Tauranga Moana, Ngāpuhi, Kuki Āirani) and has been developed with Amomai Pihama (Ngāti Maahanga, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Ruanui), made with Ngatapa Black (Ngai Tūhoe) and supported by Hinewehi Mohi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngai Tūhoe).

NZ On Air funding: $175,000

Produced by: Through the Fire Limited
Site and interactive design by: Osynlig Ltd  

The project is available online and through Maori Television Ondemand.

Multiple layers

The website comprises a number of different sections. A 20 minute documentary can be watched straight through, or the viewer can select points along the video that bring up new overlaid information. The extra information provides additional context to the story, sometimes facts or details, sometimes extended interviews or videos.  

For the first time ever there is also a 360 recording of a poi performance. This unique perspective puts the viewer in control of the video - moving around the beach to see the performance from different angles and get a real sense of the flow of the poi.

An interactive flyover map of New Zealand shows the stories of different regions or iwi - from the passive resistance stories of the Taranaki region to the historical taonga housed at Te Papa Tongarewa.

Flash cards to learn about the different types of poi are accompanied by a series of How-To videos. 

The site is fresh and elegant and will bring value to young and old, anyone who is interested in this most recognisable icon of Aotearoa - the Poi.

Heartbeat of the nation

A timeless instrument, the poi has an artistic beat that enamours the world. For many, the Poi is simply a ball on the end of a string. For Aotearoa, it is the heartbeat of a nation.

It’s suprising how little people know about our poi in Aotearoa, yet it is one of the most magical instruments seen across the world,” says producer Lanita Ririnui-Ryan.

As Māori storytellers, we’ve always been multi-layered through our customs, poetic language and performance,” adds Ririnui-Ryan. “It seems that technology has finally caught up to enable us to share our stories in multiple ways online as well.

This story is told through a song and contemporary performance of ‘Takawirihanga’. Written by Piwai Te Morehu Tuhua, it is a classic song that explains the geneology of poi, right back to the beginning of time. Performed by Kahurangi Maxwell, Talei Morrison and Tiria Waitai on the shores of Lake Okataina in Rotorua, NZ, it is also a showcase of short and long poi.

Platforms like POI360 help us to share stories that all New Zealanders - and the world - should know about our people, our places.

— Producer Lanita Ririnui-Ryan

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