Manu Rere Moana | Pacific Voyagers

This 8min looping projection saw Dusk work directly with Te Papa and the original Master Navigtors of Te Aurere to create a digital ocean environment backdrop that explains some of the tohu (indicators) helping waka navigators way-find without technology.

The tohu featured include weather patterns, ocean patterns, birds, whales, dolphins, stars, sunsets, sunrises, and were aided by illustrated symbols. The challenge was to communicate some of these tohu visually to the audience without the use of text or audio explanations. This coincidently translates well to the teachings of navigating via the sun and stars and how the hands are used visually for measurement across the horizon.

Along with some beautiful imagery we incorporated recordings of real waka navigators for background voices and also were lucky enough to capture them performing the same waiata performed on the original voyage of Te Aurere in 1992. To enhance the environmental sounds we also recorded a plethora of Taonga pūoro instruments performed by a handful of talented Te Papa staff and had them creatively mixed into the soundtrack to add some emotion and in some cases mimic the sounds of birds. 

Words from Te Papa

At the heart of Manu Rere Moana is the legacy of Tā Hekenukumai Ngāiwi Busby (Hek Busby) and Mau Piailug of Satawal, Micronesia. In the 1980s and 90s they rekindled the knowledge of Pacific navigation, culminating in the voyage of Te Aurere, captained by Hek Busby, from Aotearoa to Rarotonga in 1992.

Te Papa exhibitions celebrate waka and their communities | Te Papa


Agency – Dusk

Post production co-ordinator – John Strang

CGI – John Strang

Animation – John Strang

Illustrator – Mahara Nicholas

Audio – Jeremy Cullen