TE HĀ Moana – Mapping ocean voices

Tania Wolfgramm

Map of Vava’u Islands, Kingdom of Tonga

Map of Vava’u Islands, Kingdom of Tonga. Ministry of Lands, Survey, Natural Resources and Environment. Kingdom of Tonga.

This is a topographic map of Vava’u Group of Islands in the Kingdom of Tonga, showing the main island and capital Nei’afu (my father’s place of birth in 1934) which is linked by a causeway to Pangai. The map includes several features including landcover and water features such as seawalls and reefs. The island of Vaka Eitu is significant as the island that has been part of our family’s heritage for many years, providing safe anchorage for boats and amazing snorkeling in beautiful coral reefs. Utungake is also important to our family as the place for boatbuilding. The harbor of Vava’u is also known as Port of Refuge and has been a safe haven for vaka, canoes, yachts, and boats in stormy weather. Vava’u is famous as one of the few locations on earth that one can visit and swim with the whales—mainly humpback—who give birth in their warm waters.

Tonga Parliament Building—Street View pre- and post-Cyclone Gita

Tonga Parliament Building—Street View pre and post Cyclone Gita. GRID Pacific | Google Street View. December 2017. Google Maps.

This is the Fale Alea, Tonga’s Parliament House, captured by GRID Pacific in December 2017, two months before it was destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Gita. In the left corner is the Street View data and imagery captured a week following Cyclone Gita. The GRID Tonga Street View Team records panoramic, high-resolution (8K) imagery using special cameras, software, firmware, and mapping technology that provides accurate 3D depth information, and GIS location data that is linked to global navigation satellite systems including GPS. The imagery and data acquired is then processed using specialist software and uploaded into Google Street View. The 360-degree images can be accessed through Google Earth and Google Maps, and provide multiple benefits to viewers and users, enabling both public and private services. Tongatapu sustained considerable damage across the entire island, and GRID Pacific provided post-Cyclone Gita high quality Street View level mapped data and imagery collected across the island to the Tonga National Emergency Management Office (NEMO). Pre and post cyclone imagery are used to improve environmental and disaster planning and response. Fortunately, the NZ Government has provided funding and resources to rebuild the Fale Alea to its original state.

Veitatalo, Birthplace of Tevita Tapueluelu Wolfgramm—in Street View

Veitatalo, Birthplace of Tevita Tapueluelu Wolfgramm—in Street View. Tania Wolfgramm | Google Street View. April 2018. Google Maps.

This is a Street View representation of "Veitatalo", the birthplace and home of my father Tevita Tapueluelu Wolfgramm. It is situated on Tapueluelu Road in the capital of Nei’afu. It is captured using an 8K camera linked to GPS, stitched, processed, and uploaded to Google Street View for publishing. My father last lived in this house in the 1980s before moving to the main island of Tongatapu. In his later years he ended up with kidney failure which required that he dialyze in New Zealand. He was unable to visit his home island of Vava’u and unfortunately there was no Street View imagery available to him. With about 100,000 Tongans living overseas, GRID Pacific aims to capture high quality 360-degree Street View imagery of villages, towns, islands, and communities across the Kingdom of Tonga (and other Pacific countries) so that they can visit home from anywhere and at any time—even if it is just via virtual maps!

Te Reo Māori Language Layer. Wikuki Kingi at Omaio Marae New Zealand For GRID Pacific. 2019. Google Earth Languages Layer.

This is a Google Earth Indigenous Languages Layer map that uses satellite data from a camera 16,538 km above the earth. The red Google Maps pins mark locations where Indigenous language layers are provided, including the ten Pacific language layers developed by GRID Pacific. These include Te Reo Māori (Aotearoa New Zealand), Lea Fakatonga (Kingdom of Tonga), Faeag Rotuma (Rotuma, Fiji); Faipati Faka Tuvalu (Tuvalu); Gagana Tokelau (Tokelau); Te Reo Rarotonga (Cook Islands); Te Reo Tahiti (Tahiti, French Polynesia); Te Reo Mangareva (French Polynesia); Te Reo Rapa Nui (Rapa Nui | Easter Island); ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i (Hawai’i, USA). Each Pacific language layer includes a greeting in that language, the word for mother, and a welcome / chant in that language which is translated / interpreted into English. Each location pin takes the visitor to a significant location on the island where the viewer can explore the place while listening and learning a few words spoken by native speakers. Wikuki Kingi shares a chant in Te Reo Māori that is both a lament for the dismal situation of Indigenous peoples and their languages, and an exhortation, a call to action for all of us to support the Indigenous communities of the world—to help revitalize and promote their cultures and languages so that they may grow and thrive.

Tania Wolfgramm is the Executive Director of the GRID Pacific. Her father Tevita Wolfgramm is of Ha’a Lavaki, Tapueluelu; descendants of ‘Ulukalala, Tu’i Vava’u of the Kingdom of Tonga. Her mother is Whakatohea and Te Aupouri of the tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand. A cultural psychologist, systems designer, strategist, technologist, voyager and storyteller, Tania is the founder of the HAKAMANA System of Transformative Design which has been applied across health, education, creative, and technology sectors in many countries.

Tania is also the founder of GRID Pacific, who aims to support the vision and heritage of Pacific nations, while helping them to showcase the beauty and charisma of their cultures, landscapes, oceans, and people to the world with amazing mapping and VR technologies.

Working with Google Maps and Street View, she has been recording panoramic, high-res, 3D imagery in Aotearoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, and Rapanui in recent years that have been processed and published globally. She has also developed ten Pacific language layers that are mapped into Google Earth Indigenous Languages Layer.

An advocate of Indigenous technological sovereignty, Tania “seeks to embed and imbue Pacific values of Aroha (love), Pono (goodness), and Rangimarie (peace) into GRID Pacific’s traditional and technological experiences.”