Orokonui sanctuary is a biodiversity project located approximately 200km north of Dunedin where a predator fence surrounds 307 hectares of coastal Otago forest protecting multiple species of native flora and fauna. The OP Design School has been involved in a number of different communication design projects with Orokonui to engage both the public in education about the sanctuary and its inhabitants as well as assist staff in their daily operations.
In 2019 two OP Design students prototyped a web-based game for the ecosanctuary to use as an educational resource for the southern kākā conservation project. In their prototype ‘Neighbours’, the students developed an interactive story that educates
the player through gameplay and problem solving about actions they can use in their
own backyard to help keep southern kākā safe. This choice-based gameplay empowers the
player and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them. The aims of the project were to empower and educate local communities on safe interactions with kākā, part of a wider Orokonui community engagement initiative.
In 2021, one of the students Georgia Ryan is continuing development of the Neighbours game with support from an industry narrative designer in order to meet industry standards. Additional content will be followed by further user testing in conjunction with Dunedin’s Runaway Play.
This project has received funding from the Otago Regional Council (ORC).