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Spark launches 5G in Dunedin and brings local street art to life

Spark has turned on 5G in the streets of Dunedin Central and in partnership with local innovators Animation Research Limited (ARL) will bring to life local street art with a one-of-its-kind augmented reality experience, available to the public for free on the 12th and 13th November. 


Over two days Dunedin locals and visitors will be able to visit four renowned wall murals scattered around Dunedin Central and experience art in an entirely new dimension. Spark will provide 5G enabled mobile devices for visitors to look through and watch traditional art transform to life through augmented reality. 


One of the wall murals is ‘Toitū’ by Stickum artists Aroha Novak and Guy Howard-Smith. The three-storey high painting of Chinese immigrant Chin Fooi will be brought to life virtually by Fooi’s grandson Jones Chin, who will share the meaning behind the masterpiece. The vibrant background will animate, and locals will be able to hear flowing water representing Toitū stream all through a 5G enabled mobile phone or tablet. 


Spark Technology Lead, Renee Mateparae said while art and culture are not typically associated with technology, 5G will open up new ways for art to be created and experienced. 


“Through 5G and emerging technology like augmented and virtual reality, artists and organisations such as museums or art galleries will be able to explore new forms of storytelling and self-expression and deliver it to the public at scale in the highest definition available. 5G’s increased speeds and low latency will eventually make it the norm to visit the world’s best art museums from the comfort of your own home or see prehistoric species come alive by simply holding up a mobile phone.”  


Also painted by Aroha Novak and Guy Howard-Smith is a mural on Moray Place titled ‘Take a Leap’ which depicts children jumping and laughing amongst animated autumn leaves that will appear to fall around them. 


Artist Aroha Novak says she’s thrilled to see both ‘Toitū’ and ‘Take a Leap’ come to life within a digital realm. 


“The scope for merging traditional and contemporary art techniques with this type of technology is exponential, there is so much potential to push art projects into multi-faceted installations that can activate and incorporate the many layers and thought processes that go into creating public art works.” 


The final pieces of art are created by Dunedin artists Sam Ovens titled ‘Q: Are We Not Bats? A: We Are All Completely Bats’ and Andy McCready titled ‘DeeDee 3D’. In these pieces the retro psychedelic imagery will feature fluttering butterfly wings, as well as flashes of lightning and blue circles that lift off the wall and float in the ‘air’. 


The art sector is not the only one set to benefit from New Zealand’s next generation of mobile technology. The healthcare sector is also set to gain an advantage from 5G’s speed, low latency and mass connectivity, and will be able to deliver new leading-edge healthcare services. 


One of the winners of Spark’s inaugural 5G Starter Fund, Dr Hong and Renoh Chalakkal from Dunedin based oDocs Eye Care, are already looking to use 5G to help with their mission of ending preventable blindness through an innovative eye care solution. 


“oDocs is developing a platform that allows specialists to remotely monitor patients’ eyes in real-time, by creating affordable and portable ophthalmic diagnostic tools. Utilising 5G’s low latency, faster speeds and increased bandwidth will allow fast transmission of video consultations, and ultimately make testing accessible for more Kiwis,” says Renee. 


Dunedin is the third location in New Zealand to have access to Spark’s 5G on both wireless broadband and mobile, alongside six other South Island towns who have access to Spark’s 5G wireless broadband services. 


Dunedin residents who are Spark mobile customers and have a 5G ready phone will have free access to 5G speeds no matter what plan they are on until at least July 2021. Those who want to experience 5G speeds at home can sign up for Spark’s Discover 5G Wireless Broadband Plan – with set-up as easy as plugging in the modem.




Notes to the editor: 


  • The national rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is predicted to add between $5.7 billion and $8.9 billion per year to the New Zealand economy over the next 10 years – including $183 million to the Dunedin City economy[1].
  • Visitors who come and experience the local street art will also go into the draw to win $5,000.
  • The AR experience will be running from 11am – 4pm Thursday 12 November and Friday 13 November.

Cassie Arauzo

Corporate Relations Lead Partner
+64 21 024 91562 |

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