Guardianship above all else.
Creating a web platform for a river as a living being.
Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui provide guardianship over the Whanganui River. This responsibility was hard fought through the courts for well over a century.
The signing of the Ruruku Whakatupua in 2014 signalled recognition that, for the first time, the Whanganui River is an indivisible and metaphysical whole and has an inalienable relationship with the iwi and hapū of Whanganui and Te Awa Tupua.
Our role was to create a web platform that provided an improved platform to tell the Whanganui River story. It also needed to provide a better experience for those both visiting the site and those delivering the content.
Our solution was simple. We echoed the guiding principle that the river is above everything. Beyond this, the site build was about providing an array of web tools to facilitate the telling of community stories.
To achieve delivery of the guiding principle through the website, we started with a simple (and literal) approach. Beyond the homepage - which is about story-telling - we developed a page template based on the following:
- The river is always represented at the top of the page. It takes pride-of-place within the header and is always the first thing a visitor will see
- Below the header, the content, which represents the community activity, the plans and the stories which support the river
- At the bottom of each page, the values which define and support the activities, which in turn support the River
This page hierarchy always has the river as the main focus, supported by the activities the Trust undertake, which in turn are guided by the values they adhere to.
The homepage is about pure story-telling. The parallax arrangement allows us to take a visitor from the source of the river through to the sea - through curated photography. Each image is an opportunity to introduce each of the four values. Beyond the last image is the content, and the activities that support the river - and the rest of the site.
Since launch feedback has been really positive. The content teams are thriving with their new toolset and the client has received plenty of positive feedback from the wider community. The new functionality is allowing Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui to tell the story they need to share.
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