NPDC's hi-tech Puke Ariki gets its own VR room

17 May 2019

NPDC’s Puke Ariki has become the first library in New Zealand to have a dedicated Virtual Reality room for use by schools, disability and community groups. 

The hi-tech VR facility has been set up for Techweek 2019 where visitors will get the chance to walk through a surrealist Salvador Dali painting, explore the ocean or paint the world with particles from the big bang.

The VR room is already a hit with all 112 experiences for Techweek now booked out but the resource will be in place permanently with plans to use it with content created for future exhibitions and also as an educational tool for school groups and community organisations. 

The new installation confirms Puke Ariki’s position as a world-leader in library technology, Acting Puke Ariki Manager Colleen Mullin says.

“From the QuickCheck system which makes taking out books so easy to free wifi and computers for library users, Puke Ariki uses technology to make the library experience even better. Libraries have always played an instrumental role in bringing new technology to communities - from bound pages and VHS tapes, to MP3s and eBooks streaming directly from the cloud,” she says. 

She says Puke Ariki is excited to be one of Techweek New Zealand’s highlight events and to be able to bring Virtual Reality experiences to the New Plymouth District. “The VR technology is a fantastic community resource and we are looking forward to using it with content created just for exhibitions and further experiences offered in the libraries.”

For those wanting to learn more about VR and its future uses, Puke Ariki will be hosting a Tech Talk on 22 May at 5.30pm. There will be a speaker from engineering consultants WSP Opus who will explain how they are using VR in the business world. 

VR will also be coming to NPDC’s community libraries with Oculus Go stand-alone sets offering visitors the chance to explore new worlds from the comfort of their local library. 

Other hi-tech features at NPDC’s libraries include the Robots Roadshow which is a favourite with children during school holidays.

Puke Ariki’s digital library continues to expand with more than 38,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks now in circulation. Library cardholders also have access to Press Reader with thousands of publications from across the world and also Kanopy and Beamafilm, both of which have hundreds of films and documentaries available for library users to view. The library’s research centre is continuing to digitise its extensive heritage collections so archives will also be available at the touch of a button. 

Techweek fast facts

  • Techweek runs from 20 to 26 May.
  • This is the second year Puke Ariki has been involved.
  • Techweek provides a platform to showcase and encourage people to get involved with New Zealand’s technology and innovation sectors. 
  • It started in 2012 and has been a national event for the last three years.
  • Puke Ariki’s Virtual Reality experience is one of the 2019 national highlight events.
  • For more details head to 
Virtual Reality at Puke Ariki for Techweek 2019: theBlu