New Zealand gets 'ATM for mood deposits'

People using a Moodbank "cash" machine in Auckland, New Zealand. Image copyright Moodbank
Image caption Unlike in Auckland and Wellington, the machine will move around Whangarei to create a "mood map"

A city in New Zealand now features a cash machine-like terminal that asks people about their feelings instead of dispensing money.

The machine has been installed in Whangarei as part of an art project called Moodbank, after previous stints in other cities. It has a touch screen that allows passers-by to select from more than 1,000 options and combine them to describe their current state of mind, regional daily Northern Advocate reports. The "deposits" are then stored to give updates on the city's emotional condition on the project's website.

The project is the brainchild of artist Vanessa Crowe, who first placed it in a former bank in the capital Wellington, saying she wanted explore the role of machines for sharing feelings and experiences. It's also spent time in Auckland, and has now been brought to Whangarei by a local initiative focused on community engagement, Together Tahi.

The group's spokesman, Ash Holwell, says the aim is to focus on people's well-being rather than money and economic growth. "So, is how we're feeling as a city a valid conversation to be having?" he tells the paper. "Rather than just 'oh, we've created another 60 jobs at McDonald's."

He says that in Whangarei, the machine won't just be in one place, unlike in the other two cities. "We hope to really move it around so we can get a bit of a geographical map," he tells Radio New Zealand, adding this could also be a "fun and light way" to get residents talking about local elections due in October.

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