The numbers stack up for big VR show

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Blacksand ECD Jens Hertzum, the Media Design School’s Jamie Telford, NZME’s Dallas Gurney, Vice NZ ed Frances Morton, Animation Research’s Ian Taylor, Y&R New York’s Catherine Patterson, and Augusto’s Leon Kirkbeck are among the 25 high-powered NZ and offshore speakers – including who will speak at the Magnify VR & AR South Pacific Summit next week in Auckland.

The free tickets have been snapped up but premium 360 access tickets are still available (scroll down).

Some of the world’s top developers and brands will showcase new technologies, brand activations, interactive environments and entertainment at the immersive technology event, presented by Magnify partner Air New Zealand.

Immersive technology is seen by many as crossing over into the mass market, with its applications ranging from advertising, media, education, tourism, medicine and real estate.

The first-of-its-kind Magnify conference will focus – through interactive workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations – on the practical application of virtual and augmented reality hardware, software, applications and services for the consumer and business markets. Coverage traverses usage in games, advertising and brand activation, journalism, television, film and business applications.

The event features international and local speakers, including New Zealand tech innovator Ian Taylor of Animation Research.

Virtual Eye has worked with the America’s Cup for over 20 years. It brought last weekend’s America’s Cup action, which Team New Zealand won, to a global audience through the official app – ARL’s Virtual Eye race viewer, and TV broadcast.

The broadening of virtual / augmented reality, as it surges away from the techie side stream, is seen by many experts as tied to content, versus just hardware.

“We’re doing a lot at the moment with 360, as in the America’s Cup and golf – the possibilities, the experience – it goes beyond what people imagine. VR puts you in a truly privileged position, from standing at the tee with the golf players to being like the 12th man on the yacht, that seat you pay tens of thousands of dollars for.

“You are right there, tasting the action. Exciting stuff lies ahead if you tell a good story. It’s about telling really good stories and transforming the experience. You can’t just tell any story and make it about the VR.

I will be on the panel at Magnify talking about the power of it and sharing real-life examples. I’m passionate about showing the possibilities of this technology.”

Talking around the America’s Cup, Taylor said: “What’s cool is that NZ-designed technology is changing the space. Kiwis are at the forefront and it makes sense that this is the next step. The interactive coverage is being produced by Kiwis in New York.”

There will be a number of interactive exhibitions at Magnify which will allow attendees to experience VR and AR for themselves. Exhibitors include New Zealand author James Russell and his Dragon Brother’s Trilogy of children’s books, Reality Virtual’s showcase photogrammetry (extrapolating a 3D realistic virtual view from hundreds of 2D images) of the Sky Tower, Bend VR’s custom bespoke cardboard headsets and the opportunities for brand activations with this product.

Samsung – a key innovator in virtual reality and wearable technology – will be demonstrating the latest in virtual reality with Gear VR headsets, Galaxy S7 smartphones and the soon to be launched Gear 360 camera, making virtual reality and 360 degree content easier to create, share and view.

The Magnify event is part of TechWeek Auckland, taking place at The Idea Collective, MOTAT, next Thursday & Friday 19 & 20 May. It is presented by Air New Zealand.

Gold sponsors are SKYCITY and SweeneyVesty. Silver Sponsors include ATEED, Tech Week, Sensorium, Staples Rentals and MOTAT. Bronze Sponsors include Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, Media Design School, BendVR, City ON, Ames Institute of IT, Animation College, The Cut on Federal and Dragon Brothers Books.

360 Access VIP Magnify tickets can be purchased at The VIP tickets – which cost $499 – provide:

  • An exclusive meet and greet reception with all speakers
  • Listing of your company as a featured participant on the Magnify website
  • Assistance on setting up business meetings with speakers and attendees
  • Invitation to the post event, Saturday networking cruise
  • Extra invite for a guest of your choice to the meet and greet
  • Preferential seating at Magnify events
  • 20% off any event tickets for the rest of year


  • Catherine Patterson (New York), Manager Y&R’s global interactive / experiential / digital group Y&R’s Director of Interactive & Activation.
  • Barry Sandrew (Los Angeles), founder of Legend3D, leading 2D to 3D conversion and visual effects.
  • Mark Frieser (New York), Magnify Conference Co-Founder, Founder of SyncSummit, global presenter and moderator to the Entertainment industry/Hollywood.
  • Guy Norris (Australia), Stunt Coordinator, known for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Moulin Rouge.
  • Matt Coleman (NZ), Magnify Conference Founder, Founder of Txstation and Let the People Speak.
  • Rohan Adarkar (NZ), Magnify Conference Co-Founder & Host, MD, Totally Different.
  • Sonya Crosby (NZ), Chief Innovation Officer at SKYCITY Auckland and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
  • Ian Taylor (NZ), tech innovator who is launching the America’s Cup VR application. Founder of computer graphics company Animation Research.
  • Aliesha Staples (NZ), Producer / Director of Staples Rentals and Staples VR, a Kiwi virtual reality content creation company.
  • Jens Hertzum (NZ), Executive Creative Director for TVNZ Blacksand.
  • Jamie Telford (NZ), Game Development Lecturer for the Media Design School.
  • Frances Morton (NZ), editor of VICE, the online den for nefarious activities, investigative journalism and other documentaries.
  • Trish Sherson (NZ), Director Sherson Willis Public Relations / Journalist/ Current Affairs Producer and Political Secretary in past lives.
  • Dallas Gurney (NZ), General Manager Group Content Marketing – NZME.
  • John Minty (NZ), Owner of Splore Music Festival.
  • Danuskha Abeysuriya (NZ), CEO / CTO – Rush Digital Interactive.
  • John Gregory (Sydney), Chief Business Officer for Proxi VR.
  • Harrison Norris (Sydney), Founder, Proxi VR.
  • Roy Davies (NZ), Co-Founder / CTO Imersia.
  • Paul Leonis (Los Angeles), Founder / CEO for ClearFiction.
  • Andy Higgs (NZ), Co-Founder – City On.
  • James Russell (NZ), author of The Dragon Brothers Trilogy of children’s books.
  • Adam Berry (NZ), Chairman and Executive Director of Animation College New Zealand Ltd.
  • Leon Kirkbeck (NZ), Managing Director, Augusto
  • Todd Selwyn (NZ), Head of Product Samsung NZ

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