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HomeGeneral TourismAunty Tui takes tamariki on an adventure exploring Aotearoa‘s backyard

Aunty Tui takes tamariki on an adventure exploring Aotearoa‘s backyard

A new game released on Aotearoa’s children’s platform HEIHE! by M Theory (creative tech studio Method’s gaming arm) follows Aunty Tui as she invites tamariki to join her discovering epic vacation spots in our beautiful country.

New Zealanders are an intrepid bunch — we love getting out and exploring the beauty of Aotearoa.

From Cape Reinga to the Bluff, there are some incredible towns, spaces, places, and faces to  discover.

Created by Auckland-based digital agency Method, managing director Sam Ramlu says the game is aimed to encourage young Kiwis to explore their country’s surroundings.

“We wanted to create a game that entices young tamariki to add some fun, excitement, and   anticipation to their discovery of our country while reinforcing some of our great destinations and their cultural icons.”

The Tamaki Makaurau based games studio created and developed the game after being awarded the funds through a highly contested NZ On Air gaming fund.

The team at Method saw the restrictions in overseas travel and the resultant boom of domestic tourism caused by COVID-19 as a unique opportunity to showcase some of the country’s best vacation spots.

Tamariki can now play a more integral part in the travel decision-making journey, being better informed about some great holiday spots in Aotearoa.

In the game, Aunty Tui visits a raft of places and wherever she goes she sends a postcard so Kiwi kids can join her in discovering some of Aotearoa’s well known, or well hidden, travel gems.

“We want to spark curiosity and a sense of adventure in tamariki to explore their own backyard and discover unfamiliar places as well as those they already know and love,” continues Sam.

The game was developed using Unity (game engine) and exported to HTML so it can be easily accessed through the HEIHE! platform via a web browser. It's available across desktop, mobile and tablet to ensure wide accessibility for kids either while at home on personal devices or at school.

Before kids can join Aunty Tui, they have to work out what they need to pack by deciphering visual and text-based clues in the postcards. Tamariki equip their characters with the appropriate clothing and accessories to match the destination they’re headed off to. Then a check on the map for the right location and off they go!

Careful consideration was taken to appeal to a wide range of kids and to be as inclusive and diverse as possible. With a range of skin colours, hairstyles and facial features, kids are able to customise their character to look just like them or, as kids often do, create some funny combinations.

The M Theory team and their own tamariki are themselves a diverse group and it was important to ensure kids could ‘see’ themselves in the game.

Postcards from Aotearoa is available now, exclusively on the HEIHE! platform.

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