Kia ū ki tau kawai whakapapa, kia matau ai, ko wai koe, e anga atu koe ki hea – Take ahold of your ancestral stem, so that you might know, who you are, and what direction you're going in.
Can virtual reality technology promote engagement with the taiao and can we create research methods to assess the impact of virtual reality engagement with the taiao on rangatahi wellbeing?
Connection to the taiao is entwined with positive identity, health and wellbeing, however urban Māori, and rangatahi Māori in particular, are becoming more and more disconnected from the taiao and thus from their identity. This project will improve this connection to te taiao and wellbeing through the use of virtual reality (VR). By trialling VR with rangatahi participants, the project will create Kaupapa Māori research methods to assess the impact of this virtual engagement on rangatahi wellbeing.
Over three wānanga, rangatahi and whānau will engage with the taiao using ancestral landscapes in a VR environment. Following this the project is examining, trialling and creating Kaupapa Māori methods to assess if VR affects rangatahi wellbeing through engagement with the taiao. The project has been inspired by, and is being led by, rangatahi for rangatahi. Its outcomes are directly relevant for rangatahi involved and, as it evolves, its impact will broaden to other whānau members, to kaumatua and potentially to other iwi and Indigenous peoples.