The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

Multi-user Virtual Reality Museum Installation with Haptic Chairs


In the 1800’s adventurers from around the world would journey by boat, cart and canoe to a remote lake in Aotearoa New Zealand to experience the Eighth Wonder of the World, pools of silica named the Pink and White Terraces. 


That is until one fateful night in 1886 when neighbouring Mount Tarawera erupted, burying the terraces and the community that had formed around it. 


Join one of the last groups of travellers to witness this natural marvel and experience the unbridled power of the volcanic event, alongside the characters that survived and those who did not. 


This virtual reality experience takes its audience back in time to meet the community, witness the beauty of the terraces, and experience the loss caused by the impact.

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa combines the very best in hardware, software and creative talent to immerse its audience in an unforgettable experience, one which transports the audience back in time to 1886, where they play intrepid explorers, traveling to a remote part of Aotearoa New Zealand to witness the eighth wonder of the world – The Pink and White terraces. 


Viewers begin the experience around a campfire in a native forest, with an indigenous Maori storyteller setting the scene. The storyteller is also a conjurer, and manipulates the fire to suck the light from the scene, transporting viewers back in time to a horse and carriage that delivers them to the small village, as it was before the historic eruption. The local hotel owner introduces himself to the group and asks who is joining the trek to the famous Pink and White terraces.


The story passes audiences back and forth between real day and the site as it once was, following the trajectories of the heroes who saved lives on the fateful night, and those who were tragically lost, as well as giving viewers a first hand experience of the majesty of the terraces themselves, as explorers would have found them.


Produced by DOTDOT, Salt & Tonic and The Buried Village of Te Wairoa Museum.

Written by Lyn Collie, Dr. Anaha Hiini & Chris White.

Directed and built by DOTDOT.


Creative Direction
UX & Game Design
Art Direction
3D Art

Unreal Development
Design & Fabrication of Haptic Chairs
Networking for Multiple Devices