Many Kiwis have not visited the Hauraki Gulf, let alone dipped beneath the waves. The NZ-VR campaign allows people to experience our ocean environment through 360 virtual reality video filmed underwater in the Gulf. By allowing thousands to ‘experience’ the wonder and fragility of the Gulf, the campaign aims to stimulate a deep desire to protect it.
NZ-VR has two key outreach components – to school students and to the public. BLAKE is leading the school outreach, and New Zealand Geographic the digital public outreach.
The BLAKE school outreach programme is already fully booked for 2019, reaching 20,000 Auckland students. In a one-hour guided session, students explore the Gulf with high-quality virtual reality headsets. It is a powerful way to awaken the desire to be better kaitiaki (guardians) of our oceans.
New Zealand Geographic, through www.nzgeo.com/vr, is delivering the digital outreach. It has a reach of more than 3.2 million on social media, where nearly 500,000 VR experiences have been delivered. In addition, there have been 80,000 VR experiences on NZGeo.com.