A student explores Hillary’s Hut in virtual reality. © AHT/Anna Clare and Tim McPhee
The Trust is excited to announce the release of a new version of the Hillary’s Hut – Antarctica Virtual Reality (VR) Experience. This new immersive version allows people to explore even more of this historic site in Antarctica and choose how they interact with each of the rooms in the building.
It has additional interactive features, including archival audio of Sir Ed and other members of his team (thanks to RNZ collection at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision). The experience also includes photo galleries showing historic images of the expeditions, science, landscapes and wildlife as well as contemporary images of the conserved building and its artefacts today.
The Trust has been touring the VR experience around New Zealand schools and community venues since late 2020 and has received a fantastic response, bringing Antarctica to thousands of Kiwis in a fresh and dynamic way.
Our education team inspire people with their presentations on Antarctica, Sir Ed Hillary, and his team’s work to further science and exploration as part of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year.
People then have the opportunity to experience ‘going to the Ice’ themselves with the VR, learning more about New Zealand’s first presence in Antarctica. The impact of the fully immersive experience, bringing people to Antarctica virtually, has been powerful.
Gary Green who worked in Antarctica in 2002 and 2004 said, “I never thought I would be back. I was there as a mechanic and I met Sir Ed. It was one of the greatest moments in my life…thank you for taking me back.”
Christchurch school student Hannah said, “My dad worked in Antarctica before I was born, I can now understand why he loved it so much and wanted to go back.” Another student shared, “When I put the headset on I thought I was in Antarctica. Everything was so real, it was like I was there. It was really cool, and the gloves were amazing!”
The Trust’s Education Manager Dr Gabriela Roldan says, “Connecting people with these incredible stories of Sir Ed and his team helps to bring Antarctica closer to New Zealanders. We hope that people will be inspired by this spirit of exploration, and will become ambassadors for the Trust’s work caring for this remarkable legacy and advocate for Antarctica and its importance to the world today.”
With thanks to continued sponsorship from Dulux New Zealand, the Trust is delighted to be able to tour the VR through 2022. Covid has been challenging and caused some restrictions recently; however the Trust is taking bookings now for schools and community venues for the rest of the year.
Access the updated Hillary’s Hut – Antarctica experience from Vive Focus 3 from the VIVE Business App Store. Or install the app from your Vive Focus 3 by searching Hillary’s Hut Antarctica in the VIVE Business App Store. Or contact us at email@example.com to book an in-person visit for your school or community group.
Thanks to Auckland University of Technology, Dulux NZ, StaplesVR, Antarctica New Zealand and donors to the Inspiring Explorers™ Fund for their continued support.