Rotorua's inaugural Storytelling and Tech Festival will offer an exciting line-up of local and national storytellers who are using tech in creative ways to share cultural stories.

Part of Rotorua Techweek 2019, the festival takes place at Toi Ohomai tomorrow and is divided into two parts.

The 11.30am session aims to encourage rangatahi (youth) to consider tech careers so they can play their part in Rotorua's tech future.

From 4pm the focus turns to brand story-telling for businesses helping them harness tech to connect with customers and stakeholders.


At the festival's heart is keynote speaker Kat Lintott (Ngāi Tahu) who is the co-founder of Wrestler, a creative agency specialising in virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

She will be in Rotorua to share the story of the exciting VR collaboration her team is creating with Ngāti Awa and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi where audiences will explore and marvel at ancient Māori stories through a carefully crafted, co-constructed interactive experience.

In this event she will explore the different ways stories can be captured and told through technology ranging from an iPhone all the way through to immersive interactive VR headsets.

Lintott said she was particularly excited to present to rangatahi to bring young talent along on the journey so that New Zealand had a strong foundation of talent for the future.

Fellow speaker Kristy Mayes lives in Rotorua and is a digital designer and developer who has worked in New Zealand's cultural sector for over 20 years.

During that time she has worn many hats including that of fashion designer, entrepreneur, animator, video editor, illustrator, graphic, web, UI (user interface) designer and front end web developer.

Mayes is now bringing her talent and skillset to the gaming industry. She is co-founder and chief operating officer of Koi Digital, creators of new story franchise Titans of Aotearoa.

Mercia-Dawn Yates from Ngā Pūmanawa e waru will be presenting on their new Te Arawa Digital Storehouse.


Research by Te Arawa academic Dr Angus Macfarlane has shown that there are eight identifiable key qualities which highly influence the success of Te Arawa learners: resilience, humility, identity, values, innovation, wellbeing, relationships and scholarship.

Te Arawa Digital Storehouse utilises these qualities to introduce learners to Te Arawa stories, creating a system that is easily accessible to young learners and simple for teachers to incorporate into teaching.

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the Storytelling and Tech Festival would showcase the power of tech in bringing stories to life, particularly when it's combined with the Te Arawa people's exceptional storytelling heritage.

"In an increasingly digitised world where global communication is driven by devices and the internet, people are craving authentic and genuine connections and Rotorua is the perfect place to offer this."

Other speakers include Mead Norton, John Maybury, Craig Render of Microsoft, Teri Teei of KidsCoin, Ngapera Riley of Figure NZ, Taku-Anne Jones of Origins Software, Lee Timutimu of Arataki Cultural Trails, Robin Hartley of Scion, Chris Parnell CG Design, David Blackmore of Waimangu, Nige Ward the Animator, Piripi Curtis and Mike Jonathan of Steambox Films, Glenn McLeary of RedSpot and Potaua Biasiny-Tule of Digital Natives Academy.

-Supplied Content