The Majestic Samaúma
The Majestic Samaúma is an interactive web-based tool that uses a Latin American lens to educate students about science and global citizenship.
The samaúma tree has a strong spiritual significance to the Asháninka, Ticuna, Karitiana and Shanenawá peoples of the Amazon. As one of the largest trees in the world, it is often referred to as the “tree of life”, “mother of trees” and “ladder of heaven”. The Majestic Samaúma is a web-based educational tool that highlights the special significance of this tree to the communities whose lives are interwoven with it.
The Majestic Samaúma was created by Joseph Michael – a master at fusing art, science and technology – and Brazilian and New Zealand academics, scientists and creatives. It is designed to spark the curiosity and wonder of students and help them become good global citizens. The webpage features a full-page interactive visual of a real samaúma tree, which was scanned using drone photogrammetry. The visual content is captivating. As viewers scroll the page, it reveals different sections of the tree – from its canopy branches through to its internal nutrient flow and relationship with soil microbes. The animations, 3D imagery and explanatory text provide a cohesive, exhilarating story about the inner workings of the tree.
The Majestic Samaúma encourages viewers to see the connections between the rich natural environments of New Zealand and the Amazon, and between ourselves, the trees and our environment. It is now being used in classrooms throughout New Zealand, through the support of Science Learning Hub Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao, TeachAPac and the Global Citizens Teachers Forum. It is also being used by the Asháninka community to educate its stakeholders about the precious environment it is fighting to protect.
Published 02 November 2023
“It’s amazing to have the opportunity to take students into the world of science through an artwork. Art has a unique ability to build a bridge between Western science and indigenous knowledge.”
Launched in 2022
Languages of delivery