Scenes from Kāpiti Island are showcased in a unique digital art project featuring some of the capital's streets.
Artists Joel Baxendale and Oliver Devlin have created an augmented reality experience called Hidden Tracks which allows people to get a sense of what Wellington might have looked like when it was covered in bush.
The pair wanted to create an audio-visual led walk along the Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington harbour) waterfront, which "juxtaposes the present urban landscape with images and sounds of the harbour pre-settlement".
Their project aimed to disrupt the boundary between urban and natural environments, challenging how we think, act and appreciate these spaces.
The kaupapa of their work was to explore and re-imagine the historical environment of Whanganui-a-Tara and see and hear how it had been modified by humans over time into the current landscape.
It poses questions to the audience such as: "What has our impact been on this environment?", "What would it be like if we were to disappear or had never been here?" and "How might a future look where co-existence and co-operation with nature are overarching principles?"
The resulting 27 minute video-walk starts at The Opera House and takes the audience on a journey along the paths of the original waterways of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (the original coastline and the now buried Waimapihi Stream).
A video of the route is played on a smartphone, and guides the audience as they navigate their way along the walk, augmented by footage and binaural audio captured on Kāpiti Island.
"This blurring between the real world and the world in the video creates an immersive, surprising and slightly discombobulating experience," a project outline said.
"The narration is constructed around interviews, including with residents of the island, which offer various perspectives on the role of nature in urban environments — from the past and into the future."
Joel said it was the pair's first time creating a video work.
"So there were lots of lessons to be learned — sometimes technical and sometimes just plain communication.
"There was also the challenge of being overwhelmed by our senses — and our failure to really capture Kāpiti Island's beauty faithfully in a microphone or through a pair of headphones.
"You can't really translate how gorgeous it really is or the feeling of being immersed in that nature.
"There was this conflict of trying to make the most of a valuable opportunity, rushing to capture as much as we could, but also feeling the need need to take the time to actually just sit there, with the cameras and microphones off, and try and genuinely take it all in.
"We did have a few special moments like that, sitting at the very top of the mountain, after taking a few hours to climb and record sights on the way.
"We were up there for a good hour, taking in the silence, and the view from the top of that sheer cliff, the ocean far below, out to the horizon with the sun in the west.
"It was where we finally saw a kōkako, very briefly, but a thrill.
"Another gorgeous time was sitting outside in the early evening, waiting in the bush til it was dark, and hearing the kiwi waking up, a tiny moment of which we included in the video walk."
Developed between 2019-20 as part of the Creative New Zealand/Department of Conservation Wild Creations co-commission, Hidden Tracks is finally available for the public to experience.
How to experience Hidden Tracks:
Using your own phone* any time
Go to the Opera House / 111 Manners St, Wellington
Visit www.bingeculture.co.nz/hidden-tracks on your phone or scan a QR code available at all times right outside the Opera House.
*You will need to use your own data (around 100mb)
The hosts will be available on-site on Sunday, February 21 and 28 from 1-4pm, with provided devices.
You can also just watch the video at home, although to get the full experience it's recommended doing the video-walk on location.