Prime Minister Ardern was unable to attend Techweek, New Zealand’s annual innovation festival, in person. So, she appeared at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland on Monday as a digital projection instead.
Ardern’s image told the audience at the opening ceremony, “I was disappointed I couldn't make it to Techweek in person, so this morning, I come as to you as a hologram instead.” It was a fitting form of entry, considering the event is all about technology and innovation.
While Techweek has said that this is the first time a world leader has used holographic technology to complete official engagements, this is not the first time that a politician has made a public appearance via hologram. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey, attended a party meeting as a projection in 2014 while he was prime minister. And last year, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a candidate for the French presidency, attended several rallies in the same manner.