Air New Zealand to help showcase New Zealand’s history and culture to the world

by Air New Zealand
October 3, 2017

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands will be digitally mapped by a renowned high tech United States organisation specialising in the preservation of sites of significance globally thanks to the support of Air New Zealand.

Non-profit San Francisco Bay Area based CyArk digitally preserves heritage sites around the world, including those which are at risk due to conflict, climate change or collapse, to ensure they are available to future generations through an online 3D library.

Previous sites mapped by CyArk include Chichen Itza (Mexico), Babylon (Iraq), Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the United States, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy.

Air New Zealand has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CyArk to support the mapping of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and its heritage buildings as part of its commitment to ensuring New Zealand heritage and culture can be shared around the world.

CyArk will undertake the digital mapping process over two weeks this summer using innovative reality capture technologies, such as laser scanning, photogrammetry and drone imagery to create a highly-detailed surface map of the site. 

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline was thrilled that CyArk recognised the uniqueness of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds when the airline approached it about a collaboration.

“Our cultural identity is a key element of both our nation’s history and of our tourism proposition.  It is what makes us different, and Air New Zealand is committed to sharing this globally in a really innovative digital way.  We expect that the content CyArk creates will become an educational asset to encourage a deeper connection with New Zealand and Māori culture, particularly for those who will never get to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds,” Mr Luxon says.

“Once complete the CyArk digital content will be gifted to Waitangi for use in Te Kōngahu - Museum of Waitangi and on its website to promote New Zealand’s unique cultural identity and encourage visitation to the Far North.

“It has been great to work with Waitangi Treaty Grounds and other stakeholders in the Far North and NZ Maori Tourism to make this collaboration with CyArk a reality.”


CyArk Chairman and CEO John Ristevski says, “We are excited to have the opportunity to digitally document and preserve one of the most important sites in the Pacific region and one so integral to both New Zealand and Māori history.  We are very grateful for the support of Air New Zealand, and hope that the data collected will help bring the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the rich history of New Zealand to a much broader audience.”

Waitangi Treaty Grounds CEO Greg McManus says it is appropriate that Waitangi has been chosen as the subject for the CyArk project and acknowledges the support of Air New Zealand to make it happen.

“Waitangi is Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic site and of immense importance to all New Zealanders, Māori, Pakeha and new-New Zealanders alike.

“We want to share the story of this amazing place with the world and this project will help achieve that. Air New Zealand has been incredibly supportive of Waitangi over the past few years and this is another example of that commitment in action.”

The CyArk 3D data of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which will include engineering drawings and detailed maps, is expected to be ready early next year.