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Virtual tour of New Zealand Parliament now possible

Anyone interested to see the New Zealand Parliament now has the opportunity to do so in a way it has never been seen before with the recent launch of a new app.

The app allows viewers to step into Parliament buildings and take a 360 degree virtual tour from anywhere in the country, according to a recent report.

The Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives shared that the Kiwi-made app aims to reach New Zealanders who usually would not have the opportunity to visit the Parliament.

The Parliament represents everybody from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga. The decisions made here are relevant to everybody, but sometimes people feel that the Parliament is too far away.

The app is a way wherein people can connect with the Parliament.

Hopefully, the young people will like it because they will have fun with the virtual reality and exploring the different spaces in the tour.

Moreover, it is pretty cool for adults, too, to get a chance to see what Parliament looks like behind the scenes. Hopefully, it gives everybody a sense that the Parliament is real and it belongs to them.

The Parliament XR tour is available for free download for both Apple and Android devices.

Whether the user chooses to swipe, swivel in an office chair, or watch the app on a virtual reality (VR) headset, the eight-minute highlights tour takes the user behind the scenes as they watch the Parliament come to life from every direction.

A guide will be narrating the fast-moving tour and includes a greeting from Tumu Whakarae/Principal Cultural Advisor Kura Moeahu in the seldom seen Matangereia room.

There are pop-up boxes about some of the Parliament’s art, providing more information as the user makes their way from the Parliament lawn, through the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture of the Parliamentary Library, all the way to the base isolators under the building.

Then there are thirteen more options that can be opened by exclusive invitation. Some of these options include taking a seat in the Speaker’s Lounge or being invited into the Deputy Speaker’s office.

The 360 Virtual Reality experience was produced by start-up teams at the Wellington-based Projectr.

It is a specialist XR Centre that is specialising in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) games development, motion graphics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The tour was filmed with the use of a locally-manufactured camera with 16 lenses built by Wellington start-up, L2VR.

As reported, Māngere College students were the first in the country to experience the new app. The students found the tour amazing.

Parliament XR does not only give people the opportunity to look at the physical area, but it also serves as a link into ways that they can do petitions, make submissions and actually have their voices heard directly.

The app aims to get the community more engaged with the Parliament, especially those living outside of Wellington.

Fitting, as this whole initiative started because a number of people observed that the Parliament was not engaging well with the community.

With virtual reality, the Parliament was brought right into the kids’ classrooms.

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