3D snapshot of Kerikeri's Stone Store

A Kerikeri engineering firm has used state of the art 3D laser scanning technology to create a high-precision model of New Zealand’s oldest stone building – and the results are amazing.

Vision Consulting Engineers recently used a series of scans both inside and outside the Stone Store to capture a moment in time in the building’s 185-year history. The engineers used technology that projects, then records, hundreds of millions of points of light to create a virtual picture of the historic landmark.

The hundreds of millions of data points both inside and outside the Stone Store were then drawn together by Engineering Technician Callum Smith using advanced computer programming to produce stunning views of the interior and exterior of the building from a multitude of angles.


“The results are accurate to within a couple of millimetres and literally give us a snapshot in time of this extraordinary building,” says Vision Consulting Senior Civil Engineer Ben Perry. “This technology isn’t new – but the equipment and software we have used is cutting edge. We were really impressed with the results it gave us.” 

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff were also impressed – not just with the imaging, but also the potential heritage applications that the scanning and software technology could provide for the Tohu Whenua located at Kerikeri, and for other properties around the country. “These might range from extremely accurate recording of collection items within a historic building, through to detailed assessment of conservation and maintenance of heritage structures, and even the possibility of providing virtual tour experiences,” says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland Regional Archaeologist Dr James Robinson. “What Ben and his team have done is given us a taste of what this technology can potentially do. We can now reflect further on how it might best be used.” 

The scanning project was undertaken partly to showcase the potential of the technology, but also because – in Ben’s words – “it was a cool thing to do.” “This technology is often used in construction projects for things like quantity surveying. We wanted to put it through its paces in a completely different context and for a very different purpose. The Stone Store was the perfect test for us,” he says. “It’s also given us greater understanding of how this technology can be used with a wide range of different applications for our clients.” The digital information will be given to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga free of charge. 

“We’re very grateful to Ben and his team for their generous contribution of time and expertise,” says James. “I know it will give us a lot of food for thought about potential heritage applications. The process is non-invasive, affordable and incredibly accurate – which all adds up to a lot of potential for people working in the heritage field.”

The Stone Store is part of Kororipo Heritage Park, one of 9 treasured heritage places in Northland that have been awarded Tohu Whenua status.

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