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Digital Mapping Waananga to increase Māori capability

Developing Māori digital mapping capability is the focus of the fifth annual Indigenous Mapping Waananga, being held in Hamilton.

Participants will learn how to use technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to provide accurate, interactive and dynamic mapping of whānau, hapu or iwi assets.

Organiser Moka Apiti says GIS can help bring to life the visual story telling of our ancestors.

“At the waananga participants will learn to use geospatial tools enabling us to tell our stories and explain our ties to the land in a dynamic and interactive way.”

He says the waananga will be particularly beneficial to indigenous practitioners working in this field and who have some knowledge of either Google mapping tools, ESRI, or other open source tools.

Participants will learn directly from Google specialists and other indigenous mapping experts during the two-day, hands-on waananga.

Mr Apiti is an experienced indigenous cartographer and director of Digital Navigators, which provides digital mapping advice and training to indigenous communities worldwide.

After speaking at a similar workshop in Canada two years ago, he was inspired to host a similar conference in Aotearoa.

“We are seeing and participating in a worldwide geospatial technologies revolution, incorporating mapping to support localised internet searching, indoor mapping and augmented realities using mobile phones. It is important for Maaori to keep pace with these developments.”

The conference will feature representatives from US-based Google Earth Outreach. Google Earth has revolutionised digital mapping and improved access to satellite imagery over the past decade, enabling accurate mapping of tribal assets.

Also at the conference will be the First Nations’ Firelight Group, which works with indigenous communities in Canada to provide high-quality research, policy, planning, negotiation, and advisory services.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn digital methodologies developed by leading First Nation specialists as well as experts from Google,” says Moka Apiti.

The Indigenous Mapping Waananga is being held at Claudelands in Hamilton on September 11-13.

Registrations open on July 11. To register or find out more, go to or contact Moka Apiti at 0274-886-977 or


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