Tuesday, 30 October 2018– The debating chamber turned 100 this October, but Parliament is always looking for innovative and modern ways to engage with the public. A new Virtual Debating Chamber lets you explore one of New Zealand’s most iconic rooms in high-definition depth, wherever in the country you are.

Developed for Parliament by local virtual reality experts, the Virtual Debating Chamber builds on the Parliament XR app launched earlier this year. It takes immersive virtual experiences at Parliament to the next level, giving users the impression of walking around the chamber itself. Users can:
• Step into a fully immersive experience from the comfort of a headset – stand on the signature green carpet and examine the wooden desks and leather chairs in detail
• Listen to the voices of past Prime Ministers, Speakers, and MPs debate significant events in New Zealand’s history
• Get up close and personal with points of interest in the chamber, such as the mace, the Speaker’s chair, and the commemorative wreathes and plaques
• Interact with features of the chamber to get further nuggets of information – including audio commentary, videos, and images – showing the connections between Parliament and the lives of New Zealanders.

“We know not everybody can come to Wellington – this immersive new experience is our way of taking Parliament out to communities and making people feel like they are part of Parliament,” said Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard.

Parliament plans to take both the Virtual Debating Chamber and Parliament XR on tour around the country, so keep an eye out at a school, library, or community group near you – follow Parliament’s social media pages for the latest updates.

About Parliament’s VR experiences

Both the Virtual Debating Chamber and Parliament XR were developed collaboratively by residents of locally based PROJECTR® using the latest in virtual reality technology. Users of VR headsets with positional tracking can download the Virtual Debating Chamber experience from Steam VR once released. Shot by internationally recognised VR Director, Simon Che de Boer, the Virtual Debating Chamber comprises over 4,000 ultra-high resolution photographs re-rendered to create this immersive experience.

The Parliament XR 360 virtual reality tour, is available free from the App Store or Google Play, and can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices. Spark is supporting the project by offering 10,000 free cardboard headsets to schools around the country to enhance the virtual reality experience for students. If you’re a school or community group and would like a set of cardboard headsets for the Parliament XR app, just send an email to [email protected]

You can find out more about Parliament at www.parliament.nz, and don’t forgot to follow @NZParliament on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

New Zealand Office of the Clerk