The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa worked with a Kiwi company to create a 3D digital map of Gallipoli that they included in the exhibition currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, which was the first kiwi campaign of World War I. The impact the map had on the visitors made the museum staff understand how working with private companies can help creating an emotion.
Te Papa then decided to explore a bit further how they could work concretely with local companies. To do so, they decided to invest 1 million NZ$ (700,000 US$) to launch Mahuki, their in-house innovation lab. The museum is holding a call for projects to develop the next big thing in digital storytelling and connect inhabitants with the collections in an innovative way.
The lab will provide more than the museum’s content for the startups to use. Indeed, each company will receive 20,000 NZ$ in exchange of a 6% equity, allowing the museum to purchase the innovations that they actually want to use, but also benefit from all the innovations created at Mahuki. Most importantly, taking equity in companies creates a strong bond with them, fostering the idea of an innovative ecosystem built around Te Papa and supporting innovative Kiwi companies.
Among the goals and challenges quoted by Mahuki general manager Tui Te Hau, one can find ways to provide experiences for an aging population or opening up collections to make them more available.
The first results of the Mahuki residency should be available at the end of 2016, with 40 companies being selected to develop their ideas - and market-test them with Te Papa millions of visitors - from August on, hoping to help New Zealand become a leader in digital experience for the cultural sector.