saving our waterways with the next wave of technology


The challenge

Many large cities have struggled to cope with increasing populations, and the pressure this has put on aging water supply infrastructure. In New Zealand, one of the biggest problems that Watercare, an Auckland Council Organisation, faces, is that a large portion of 8,000km of the public wastewater pipes is corroded, and when it rains, wastewater overflows into the waterways. This causes contamination and pollution. Their answer: the Central Interceptor, a massive 14.7km-long, 4.5m-wide wastewater tunnel! The problem, few people realise the depth of the wastewater issues and how much of a difference the Central Interceptor will make in their neighbourhoods.


The idea 

Watercare needed an engaging, transportable experience that educated communities on the drastic need for the upgrade to the wastewater system. It also needed to promote the incredible engineering behind the Central Interceptor. This couldn’t be a dry, boring science lesson; it had to tell a story of the sustainable, long-term role that the new tunnel system will play in their waterways.


The solution

We collaborated with Marque to create a state-of-the-art Watercare Central Interceptor Discovery Centre, a decked-out, customised trailer that can be moved around to different community events, and which offers an immersive story experience that’s dialled up through smart technology. The trailer is split into two parts: Discovery and Adventure. The Discovery area is where the hands-on, cutting-edge interactive technology is found, including the slide puzzle map, Augmented Reality sandbox game and Virtual Reality, while the Adventure area is a mini theatre with huge interactive LED screens on three sides.


The mini theatre offers different visual and sensory experiences, like being inside the TBM as it digs its way through the earth, or as a multi-touchpoint ‘classroom’.  

We created a beautifully animated character, Waimā the Longfin Eel, as a guide. Anguilla dieffenbachia is a long-fin eel which is endemic to New Zealand, and their numbers are currently declining due to ecological pressure. They live in our waterways, streams and rivers – and just like us – need clean water to survive. “Waimā” means clean water in Te Reo, and eels are a taonga, an important cultural treasure.

Waimā is used at all touchpoints and can be a great figure to work into a school's programme. We created her ‘voice’ by recruiting famous Mai FM DJ Tegan Yorwarth, as she was a natural fit for the charismatic water-dweller.


Making it extraordinary 

The Watercare Central Interceptor Discovery Centre turns on the taps of engagement for better education, and transforms what could be a boring (but crucial) subject into a uniquely immersive experience complete with an animated Longfin eel, interactive touch screens, bespoke games, 3D photo frames and VR adventures.

Not only does this tricked-out trailer make education about sustainability and ecological topics more fun, but it also helps to spread awareness and increase engagement around the Interceptor among the market that matters: the residents of Auckland.

If you’d like to create a bespoke experience or mobile marketing platform like the one above, let’s meet for a coffee. We’ll make waves in your business too.      

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