Author Archives: anzprteam

How we’re helping Aussies in their search for support

Editor’s note: This post is co-authored by Rachel Bowes, Head of Crisis Services and Quality at Lifeline Australia and Jill Newby, Associate Professor at Black Dog Institute. 



Early intervention and access to mental health support services are now more important than ever, following a difficult 14 months for Australians with bushfires, drought and COVID-19. 

Search interest for "What is depression?" reached its highest peak in more than a decade in March 2020 in Australia, so there is a great opportunity to direct people to the support they need — right at the moment they are looking for information. 

Starting today, anyone in Australia searching for depression can not only view trusted information on the condition, but also opt to take a 9-question self-assessment that is based on a clinically-validated questionnaire called PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9). This questionnaire is used by healthcare providers to evaluate someone’s level of depression and identify resources that would be most suitable to their needs. 


After completing Google’s new self-assessment, people can see their risk for depression as well as connect with evidence-based resources, crisis hotlines, and additional support from our teams at Black Dog Institute and Lifeline. 

With over 3 million people in Australia living with anxiety or depression, the more access to support that is offered the better. 1 in 5 Aussies will experience symptoms of mental illness in any given year – and roughly 60% of these people won’t seek help. So when organisations take steps to ensure people are aware that support is available and how to access them, we know it will help save lives. 

Over the past year, Lifeline’s Volunteer Crisis Supporters have been on the frontline, holding people safe as they battle the invisible effects of disaster – the impact on mental health. At Lifeline, the ‘new normal’ is responding to over 3,000 calls every day. That’s a person in crisis now reaching out for support every 30 seconds. 

Meanwhile the Black Dog Institute was quick to conduct research on how Australians were coping with the pandemic. Realising three quarters of participants said their mental health had worsened as a result of COVID-19, the medical research institute stepped up support through its online clinic offering telehealth support so everybody has the same access to support, no matter their location in Australia. 

Collectively, the Black Dog Institute and Lifeline welcome new resources that help people better understand their condition and empower them to seek out appropriate mental health support services. We are glad to work with Google to extend existing, clinically-validated tools to meet the needs of Australians, especially during this critical time.

Furthering our long-term support of the New Zealand News Industry and Countering COVID-19-related Misinformation



A thriving news industry is fundamental to the health of our society—and well-functioning political, social, and economic institutions. That is important to Google, too: our mission, after all, is to make the world’s information accessible and useful to everyone.


A critical aspect of that work today concerns the COVID-19 pandemic. All over the globe, a massive immunisation effort is underway. The relatively rapid nature of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and the great anxiety that the pandemic has provoked have made this topic particularly susceptible to misinformation. Journalists can play a fundamental role by listening to their audiences’ concerns and providing corrective information about any misconceptions that are circulating.


To support this work, the Google News Initiative launched a $3M Open Fund aimed at projects planning to reach audiences underserved by fact-checking with content about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Today we’re delighted to announce that we are providing funding to Stuff, to support their campaign “The Whole Truth: COVID-19 Vaccination”. In partnership with Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network, this project will be critical in reaching Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa, with accurate and easy to understand information on the vaccine and addressing vaccine misinformation. 


“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen misinformation and conspiracy theories on the virus, and vaccines in particular, reach fever-pitch,” says Stuff editorial director Mark Stevens. 

 

“Our priority is ensuring we can get our trustworthy journalism to the audiences that need it, so people can be armed with the facts when making decisions about how to protect themselves from the virus. We commend the Google News Initiative for recognising the desperate need to fight misinformation around this important topic.”


This funding complements Google’s wider efforts to promote authoritative vaccine information, including YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. We are proud of this very practical initiative with one of our New Zealand news partners, which will directly benefit our local community. This is an important element of a larger, comprehensive approach by Google to contribute to the long-term vibrancy of public interest news and quality journalism. 


Supporting New Zealand’s news industry 


Last year we reflected on the work we’ve been doing in New Zealand to support the news industry and we’re proud of how we’re supporting local authorities, businesses and media partners to ensure they’re able to share vital information with New Zealanders in moments that matter. In 2020 alone, Google provided the New Zealand Government, small businesses and NGOs with Ad Grants to the value of NZ$8.5 million, to ensure Kiwis were finding information they needed when they were searching for it.


We also recognise the value of local reporting during a time of crisis, so as the pandemic swept through the world we delivered special funding to 76 news organisations across New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and the Pacific through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund


Supporting the new ways Kiwis find news 


It is clear that the media landscape has been changing in New Zealand, and around the world, over the past few decades. As Google continues to support the news industry with new programs and products, there have been some questions around the relationship between digital platforms and news publishers. New research by economists at Accenture, shows that newspaper circulation steadily declined between 1950 and 1994, as new technologies and opportunities emerged. The total digital advertising market trebled from 2013 to 2020 and many newspapers shifted their subscriptions online and developed advertising to display on their own websites. However, as the Accenture research demonstrates, the key source of newspaper revenue, classified ads, shifted to new innovative websites such as realestate.co.nz. We’ve seen a similar development in Australia where more than 90% of the decline in newspaper revenue was due to the significant drop in classifieds. 


People come to Google to search for many things, whether it's ‘how to videos’, recipes, sport, weather, outfit ideas, or home insurance. News is a very small part of this content and makes up a tiny proportion of overall search queries. In 2019, news-related queries made up just below 1.5% of total queries on Google Search in New Zealand. These search queries helped people to find their way directly to news websites, and that’s another, direct way in which our services and technologies help the news industry. 


With the news moving faster than ever, it's clear that journalism is an essential way to keep people informed. Last year we announced News Showcase, a new program designed to bring value to both publishers and readers by providing a licensing program that pays publishers to curate content for story panels across Google services, and gives readers more insights into the stories that matter. We will begin outreach to potential News Showcase partners in New Zealand later this year.


Google is committed to supporting the promotion of accurate and critical information and longer term, we’ll continue to partner, along with many others, to support a strong future for journalism in New Zealand.


Post content Caroline Rainsford, Country Director, Google New Zealand

Meet the new Nest Hub

Introducing the second-generation Nest Hub! Since we launched Google’s first smart display two years ago, it’s brought help to thousands of homes and we’ve been dedicated to exploring ways to make our devices even more helpful. 

The Nest Hub you love, but better 
The new Nest Hub’s speaker is based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio and has 50 percent more bass than the original Hub for a bigger, richer sound to fill any room with music, podcasts or audiobooks from services like YouTube Music and Spotify — or enjoy your favourite TV shows and movies with a subscription from providers like Netflix, Disney+ and Stan. With Quick Gestures, you can pause or play content at any time by tapping the air in front of your display. 
The new Nest Hub shows all your compatible connected devices in one place so you can control them with one tap. And with a built-in Thread radio, Nest Hub will work with the new connectivity standard being created by the Project Connected Home over IP working group, making it even simpler to control your connected home. 

Nest Hub is also full of help for your busy family. See your calendar, set timers, and create reminders with Family Notes, digital sticky notes to share chores and to-dos so everyone stays on track. 


New sleep features for better rest 
The Nest Hub has always helped you tackle the day; now, it can help you rest well at night. Many of us don’t get enough sleep, which is becoming the number one concern for adults when it comes to health and wellness. 
As people have started to recognise the need for better sleep, sleep trackers have continued to become a popular solution. But we wanted to offer an alternative way for people who may not want to wear something to bed to understand their sleep. 
We dug into the data, and because we also knew people felt comfortable with Nest Hub at their bedsides thanks to its camera-free design, we went to work. The result is Sleep Sensing, an opt-in feature to help you understand and improve your sleep — and is available as a free preview until next year. 
Sleep Sensing is completely optional with privacy safeguards in place so you’re in control: You choose if you want to enable it and there's a visual indicator on the display to let you know when it’s on. Motion Sense only detects motion, not specific bodies or faces, and your coughing and snoring audio data is only processed on the device — it isn’t sent to Google servers. You have multiple controls to disable Sleep Sensing features, including a hardware switch that physically disables the microphone. You can review or delete your sleep data at any time, and consistent with our privacy commitments, it isn't used for personalised ads. 
Even if you choose not to enable Sleep Sensing, you can still fall asleep and wake up easier with Nest Hub. The display dims to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly, and the “Your evening” page helps you wind down at night with relaxing sounds. When it’s time to wake up, Nest Hub’s Sunrise Alarm gradually brightens the display and increases the alarm volume. If you need a few more ZZZs, use Motion Sense to wave your hand and snooze the alarm. 


Sustainable design that matches any room 
The new Nest Hub will be available to Australians in two colours, to complement most rooms in the house: Chalk and Charcoal. It features an edgeless glass display that’s easy to clean and makes your Nest Hub an even more beautiful digital photo frame. And continuing our commitment to sustainability, Nest Hub is designed with recycled materials with its plastic mechanical parts containing 54 percent recycled post-consumer plastic. 

The second-generation Nest Hub is $149. It can be preordered online in Australia at the Google Store and other retailers from today.

Rising up to celebrate Mardi Gras 2021

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people gather on Oxford St to celebrate Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. While this year’s event looked a little different, the 2021 theme called on the community to RISE up and celebrate loudly, proudly – and safely. 

Over the past 5 years, we’ve supported Mardi Gras’ vision to provide a platform for LGBTQI+ people and their allies to share stories, connect and express themselves. We’ve provided funding to individuals, community groups and not-for-profits through the Mardi Gras Community Grants Program to help organisations deliver their messages and dazzle during the parade. These organisations have advocated across a range of issues – from sport to health and the creative arts. 

Among our grantees this year are Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life, two Perth-based suicide prevention organisations with a mission is to empower people to connect with culture through traditional Aboriginal dance and the Māori Haka. 



This year, Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life paraded traditional costumes and powerfully performed Corroborees and the Haka across the Sydney Cricket Ground. 




We’re delighted to award grants to many other LGBTQI+ focused organisations, representing trans, regional and indigenous communities (and more).  This includes: 

ANTRA (澳纽彩盟) - Australia & New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance is a NSW registered community organisation advocating for the rights, livelihood and welfare of Australia and New Zealand’s Mandarin & Cantonese speaking LGBTQIA+ communities. 

Autism Spectrum Australia - A not-for-profit working in partnership with people on the autism spectrum to understand, engage and celebrate the strengths and interests of people on the autism spectrum, including the Autistic LGBTQIA+ community, as the Neurodiversity Rainbow. 

Point Clare Families - A grassroots community group from the Central Coast representing same sex parented, opposite sex parented and single parent families. They celebrate diverse families and safe spaces for youth and families to explore their identities. Their group includes participants living with disability.

TRANS GLAMORE - A night held monthly in celebration of transgender performers & friends. 

We are proud to support even more organisations with grants this year including; The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF), The Colours of Our Community, Different Strokes, Dayenu-Sydney’s Jewish LGBTQ+ Group, Emerald City Kickball, Entry #2, Girl Guides, The Institute of Many, The Oz Fag Hags, The Pinnacle Foundation, Raio de Sol, The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association, Sydney Silverbacks Wrestling Club, Trikone Australia and Queer Zumba. 

While we had to navigate new rules and restrictions this year, Mardi Gras 2021 was no half measure. The spirit was high, the festivities were fabulous – and the community showed they are ready to RISE and shine. I’m already reliving the memories listening to the YouTube Mardi Gras playlist

Posted by Jes Kane, Social Impact Manager, Google Australia and New Zealand

From the seas, to more ZZZs: Your new Pixel features

The best part of your Pixel is that it keeps getting even more helpful, and even more unique. With regular updates, Pixels get smarter, more capable and more fun. This latest drop is no exception, and for Pixel 3 and newer devices, includes the ability to easily access and share audio recordings, a new way to use the Pixel Camera app underwater and new wallpapers to celebrate International Women's Day. 

A more shareable Recorder 
Whether it’s that guitar riff you've been working on or reviewing transcripts from a class lecture, Recorder makes it easy for Pixel owners to easily record, transcribe (English only) and search the audio moments that matter to you. Now you can share links to your Recorder audio files, so anyone can listen, even if they don’t have a Pixel. At recorder.google.com, you can hear recordings, see transcripts and even search through files — you get the entire Recorder playback experience in one shareable link. 
You can also back up recordings to your Google Account to help keep them safe, and easily access them from any device. See more at g.co/pixel/recorder

Capture the seas with Kraken Sports 
Now Pixel users can capture the same kinds of high quality images they’re accustomed to above water, and do it underwater without the cumbersome cameras and cases scuba drivers have traditionally used. Pixel camera software engineer, José Ricardo Lima, was scuba diving with his husband in the Philippines when he wondered what it would be like to use his Pixel camera underwater. His idea was to create a custom integration that combined Pixel’s camera with a case made for diving. Now, divers will be able to use their Pixel camera with the Kraken Sports’ Universal Smart Phone Housing to capture marine life and seascapes. Get access to your Pixel’s camera features, including Night Sight, Portrait Mode, Motion Photos and video directly through Pixel’s Camera app for high-quality images of you and your underwater friends. See g.co/pixel/diveconnector for more information. 
Photo captured on Pixel 5 using KRH03 Kraken Sports Universal Smart Housing. Kraken Sports is a registered trademark of Kraken Sports Ontario, Canada. 

Attention-grabbing graphics 
Part of Pixel’s latest drop also includes new wallpapers that celebrate different cultural moments throughout the year with artwork from artists around the world. And for International Women’s Day on March 8, Pixel will add new wallpapers illustrated by Spanish duo Cachetejack, which focus on the strength and transformation of women. 
Adapting to you and your routine 
Your Pixel can help you catch more ZZZs with a more seamless bedtime schedule on your Pixel Stand. When you use the bedtime features in Clock with your Pixel Stand, you’ll see a new, updated bedtime screen, along with redesigned notifications to help you ease into sleep. This feature is available on Pixel phones with wireless charging capability: Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 5. Pixel Stand is sold separately. 
For more information on the new features that just dropped and to see phone compatibility, head to http://g.co/pixel/updates. And if you’re looking for more helpfulness across your device, check out all of the latest updates announced from Android

Pixel 5G devices can now access 5G in dual SIM mode 
Software updates also mean that Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 devices will now be able to access 5G even when in dual SIM mode (eSIM+physical SIM DSDS).


And as a bonus, we recently announced a new Google Fit feature that allows you to measure your heart rate and respiratory rate using just your phone’s camera. This feature will roll out to Pixel owners next week (and is not intended for medical purposes). 



1. Works with Pixel 2 or newer phones. Requires Android R, Camera Update 8.1 (Nov. 2020), Dive Case Connector app for Google Camera, KRH04 or KRH03 Kraken Sports Universal Smart Phone Housing (sold separately). See g.co/pixel/dive-case-connector-setup for more information on setup. Google is not responsible for the operation of Kraken Sports products or their compliance with any applicable safety or other requirements. Photo captured on Pixel 5 using KRH03 Kraken Sports Universal Smart Phone Housing. Kraken Sports is a registered trademark of Kraken Sports Ontario, Canada. 
2. Transcription is available in English only. Recorder sharing requires an Internet connection and a Google Account. 
3. Cloud storage requires an Internet connection and a Google Account. 
4. Your Pixel will receive feature drops during the applicable Android update and support periods for the phone. See g.co/pixel/updates for details.
5. Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately). 5G service not available on all carrier networks or in all areas. Contact carrier for details. 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features are not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info. 
 


A new choice for parents of tweens and teens on YouTube

“We’ve worked closely with YouTube on the complexities of redesigning their global platform to help ensure that the content children consume is diverse, high quality and age-appropriate. Getting this right is challenging – and requires ongoing discussions with global experts. A global platform will always need to keep innovating in response to emerging challenges, so it’s great to see that YouTube has processes in place to ensure that top notch expertise can guide its evolution.” - Prof Amanda Third, Young and Resilient Research Center Western Sydney University




This generation of tweens and teens has grown up online, and it’s where they go to learn, laugh, and connect. Every family has a different approach to how they use technology, access the internet and set digital ground rules. Over the years, we’ve made investments to protect families and kids on YouTube, such as launching a dedicated kids app, better protecting their privacy, restricting features and improving age restrictions. Today, we are announcing a new choice for parents who have decided their tweens and teens are ready to explore YouTube with a supervised account. 


Supervised experiences on YouTube 
From our earliest days, YouTube has been a platform for people over 13, and we’ve always recommended that parents co-watch with their kids if they choose to watch YouTube. In 2015, we created YouTube Kids, a safer destination for kids to explore their interests while providing parental controls. But since then, we’ve heard from parents and older children that tweens and teens have different needs, which weren’t being fully met by our products. As children grow up, they have insatiable curiosity and need to gain independence and find new ways to learn, create, and belong. 
Over the last year, we've worked with parents and experts across the globe in areas related to child safety, child development, and digital literacy to develop a solution for parents of tweens and teens. In the coming months, we’ll launch a new experience in beta for parents to allow their children to access YouTube through a supervised Google Account. This supervised experience will come with content settings and limited features. We’ll start with an early beta for families with kids under the age of consent to test and provide feedback, as we continue to expand and improve the experience. 


Giving parents content options on YouTube 
We know that every parent has a different parenting style and that every child is unique and reaches different developmental stages at different times. That’s why we’ll give parents the ability to choose from 3 different content settings on YouTube. 
  • Explore: For children ready to move on from YouTube Kids and explore content on YouTube, this setting will feature a broad range of videos generally suitable for viewers ages 9+, including vlogs, tutorials, gaming videos, music clips, news, educational content and more. 
  • Explore More: With content generally suitable for viewers ages 13+, this setting will include an even larger set of videos, and also live streams in the same categories as “Explore.” 
  • Most of YouTube: This setting will contain almost all videos on YouTube, except for age-restricted content, and it includes sensitive topics that may only be appropriate for older teens. 

This option was designed for parents who think their children are ready to explore the vast universe of YouTube videos. We will use a mix of user input, machine learning and human review to determine which videos are included. We know that our systems will make mistakes and will continue to evolve over time. 
We recommend parents continue to be involved in guiding and supporting their child’s experience on YouTube. To help parents get started, we’ve developed a guide in partnership with National PTA, Parent Zone and Be Internet Awesome. We’ll also launch an ongoing campaign that features creators discussing themes like bullying and harassment, misinformation, digital well-being and more. 


New features for families 
We understand the importance of striking a balance between empowering tweens and teens to more safely gain independence, while offering parents ways to set controls. In addition to choosing the content setting, parents will be able to manage watch and search history from within their child's account settings. Parents can also use other controls offered by Google’s Family Link, including screen timers. We’ll continue adding new parental controls over time, such as blocking content. 
When a parent grants access to YouTube, their child’s experience will feel much like regular YouTube, but certain features will be disabled to protect younger audiences. For example, we won't serve personalised ads or ads in certain categories. At launch, we'll also disable in-app purchases, as well as creation and comments features. Since self-expression and community are integral parts of YouTube and children's development, over time we'll work with parents and experts to add some of these features through an age-appropriate and parent controlled approach. 


Investing in YouTube Kids 
We’re building this new supervised experience for parents who think their older kids are ready to use YouTube, but we still recommend YouTube Kids for younger kids to watch independently and have a more contained viewing experience. 
With availability in over 80 countries, now over 35 million viewers use YouTube Kids every week. We’ll continue expanding product availability, adding new features, and offering several new parental tools, such as a highly-requested option for parents to select specific videos and channels from the main YouTube platform that they’d like their child to explore on YouTube Kids. 
We know that we have a long journey ahead of us as we design this experience for parents of tweens and teens. Over the long term, we hope this will provide a safer environment for older children to explore their interests, learn new skills, connect with communities that share their passions, while giving parents more ways to support their kids' online experience. 


Wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t reuse your password!

Parenting was especially challenging in 2020. Our families needed to learn new habits like social distancing, wearing masks and frequently washing our hands. As a large part of our everyday lives moved online, it was necessary to teach our children to take extra precautions as well. 
Parents have always been concerned for the digital safety of their families, and with online learning becoming the main mode of school for many, this might be even more of a concern. So we worked with our Trust and Safety Research team to survey parents all over Asia-Pacific, including here in Australia, and found that parents with children attending school online were more concerned about online safety than those whose children attended school in-person. 
As we moved to home working and learning, and children continued their education through digital means, 47% of Aussie parents expressed increased concern about online safety for their children. But interestingly, more than a third of parents interviewed said they had never spoken to their children about online safety, and only half of those interviewed said they were currently using online family safety features. 
As kids of different ages use the internet in very different ways, instilling safe habits can be a challenge. So today, on Safer Internet Day, here are some tips to address the top three parental concerns when it comes to keeping our children safe online. 

1. Protect their digital identities. 
The privacy and security of their children’s information was the top concern of parents we surveyed across all regions. Parents cited concerns around scams or hacking of their child’s accounts. Here are some simple ways to safeguard your kids’ information: 
  • Teach your children how to choose strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Avoid simple passwords that use names, birthdates, or even favourite cartoon characters. 
  •  It is also useful to stick to platforms that have a strong reputation for user safety. For instance, using an email service like Gmail comes with built-in safety filters to detect phishing emails, blocking 99.9% of phishing attacks from ever reaching your inbox. 

2. Know who they talk to.
 
Social isolation is a difficult outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our children connect with their friends online, whether through messaging apps or voice chat while playing games. It is important for parents to be aware that these channels can also be used by ill-intentioned strangers to reach out to our children. Just as in real life, it is important to be aware of who our children talk to online. 
  • Try to talk to your kids about the games they play or the videos they watch, and also the people they play with online. I always remind my son to come to me immediately if he faces any situation online that makes him feel uncomfortable. More than 70% of parents in Asia-Pacific were not very confident that their children would come to them if they encountered unsafe situations online. Considering more than a third of the parents we interviewed had never spoken to their children about online safety we need to work hard to reassure our children that we are here to guide and protect them. 
  • When assessing if a game is suitable for your child, it is important to check not only the content of the game, but also whether the app allows online communications with others. Some multiplayer games allow only a few options for social interaction, like a thumbs up rather than a text chat. This reduces risks of unwanted social interactions by quite a lot. 

3. Offer appropriate content at the appropriate age. 
The fear of children encountering inappropriate content has long been among the top concerns of parents in surveys. There are family safety features that parents can use to help guard their children from content that may not be suitable for their age. However, we learned that only 50% of Aussie parents we surveyed are using these features. Here are some features that you can start using today: 
  • Turning on SafeSearch on Google helps filter out explicit content in Google’s search results for all searches, including images, videos and websites. SafeSearch is designed to help block explicit results like pornography from Google search results. 
  • Manage your child’s device by creating a Google account for your child and using Family Link. This allows you to add filters on Google Search, block websites or only give access to the ones you allow or track the location of your child if they have their own device. 
  • Many parental controls are available on YouTube Kids. You are able to limit screen time, only show videos that you approve or select suitable content based on the age of your child. 
Some other time-tested tips include allowing children to use the internet only in common areas in the home such as the living room. But the tough part is leading by example! 

At the end of the day, the core of parenting lies in the relationships we build with our children. They require our guidance on the internet as much as they do in the real world. 
Let’s work together to make the internet a safe place for our children to learn, create and explore. 

Celebrating the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in today’s Doodle

Today, as we collectively recognise the 1840 signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Google New Zealand’s Doodle depicts Te Whare Rūnanga - an important landmark of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds - in acknowledgement of Waitangi Day.



Nestled in the far northern Bay of Islands, surrounded by 140 subtropical islands, Waitangi stands out both for its beauty and for the history it carries for Aotearoa. These grounds are often referred to as “Te Pito Whenua, The Birthplace of our Nation” in reference to the site where New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Upon this significant place, standing proudly is Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) which, alongside the Treaty House, is representative of the partnership between Māori and the British Crown. 


Opened on the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi as a place to bring people together for important hui (meetings), visitors from all over New Zealand and the world have come to gather at and observe the Whare as one of the most important historical sites for Aotearoa. The unique carvings and intricate tukutuku panels in the Whare design represent Māori throughout Aotearoa as it brings together the stories and styles of all Iwi (tribes), and thus showcases a completely unique gallery of Māori art, as well as an example of Māori social and cultural life. 


Waitangi Treaty Grounds Cultural Manager Mori Rapana was consulted throughout the Doodle design process and said, “In Māori culture, the structure itself is seen as an outstretched body, with the roof’s apex at the front of the house representing the ancestor’s head. The main ridge beam represents the backbone, the diagonal bargeboards which lead out from the roof are the arms and the lower ends of the bargeboards divide to represent fingers. Inside, the centre pole is seen as the heart, the rafters reflect the ancestor’s ribs, and the interior is the ancestor’s chest and stomach.”


I interpret the lines on either side of the green base as representing hands holding up the Whare and thus bringing us as a nation together. The flicks on either side of the whare to me represent a bird spreading its wings, and the outline of the drawing to represent the wings of a kite - which in Māori culture is what brought the East and the West coast together.”


Kiwis all over New Zealand can also take a journey through the Waitangi Treaty Grounds today, through Inside the Treaty Grounds, a digital experience on Google Arts and Culture. Captured in 2017 in partnership with CyArk, to celebrate and share the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kiwis and those abroad alike can learn and explore more about this historic site. On mobile devices, searching for “Waitangi Treaty Grounds” brings up an AR experience that allows you to view the Meeting House in your own space.


Search on mobile device for 'Waitangi Treaty Grounds' to view in your space


Together with our partners, we’re privileged to help celebrate and preserve the Waitangi Treaty Grounds through technology, to share this history and culture with the world.



Post content

Celebrating the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in today’s Doodle

Today, as we collectively recognise the 1840 signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Google New Zealand’s Doodle depicts Te Whare Rūnanga - an important landmark of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds - in acknowledgement of Waitangi Day.



Nestled in the far northern Bay of Islands, surrounded by 140 subtropical islands, Waitangi stands out both for its beauty and for the history it carries for Aotearoa. These grounds are often referred to as “Te Pito Whenua, The Birthplace of our Nation” in reference to the site where New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Upon this significant place, standing proudly is Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) which, alongside the Treaty House, is representative of the partnership between Māori and the British Crown. 


Opened on the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi as a place to bring people together for important hui (meetings), visitors from all over New Zealand and the world have come to gather at and observe the Whare as one of the most important historical sites for Aotearoa. The unique carvings and intricate tukutuku panels in the Whare design represent Māori throughout Aotearoa as it brings together the stories and styles of all Iwi (tribes), and thus showcases a completely unique gallery of Māori art, as well as an example of Māori social and cultural life. 


Waitangi Treaty Grounds Cultural Manager Mori Rapana was consulted throughout the Doodle design process and said, “In Māori culture, the structure itself is seen as an outstretched body, with the roof’s apex at the front of the house representing the ancestor’s head. The main ridge beam represents the backbone, the diagonal bargeboards which lead out from the roof are the arms and the lower ends of the bargeboards divide to represent fingers. Inside, the centre pole is seen as the heart, the rafters reflect the ancestor’s ribs, and the interior is the ancestor’s chest and stomach.”


I interpret the lines on either side of the green base as representing hands holding up the Whare and thus bringing us as a nation together. The flicks on either side of the whare to me represent a bird spreading its wings, and the outline of the drawing to represent the wings of a kite - which in Māori culture is what brought the East and the West coast together.”


Kiwis all over New Zealand can also take a journey through the Waitangi Treaty Grounds today, through Inside the Treaty Grounds, a digital experience on Google Arts and Culture. Captured in 2017 in partnership with CyArk, to celebrate and share the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kiwis and those abroad alike can learn and explore more about this historic site. On mobile devices, searching for “Waitangi Treaty Grounds” brings up an AR experience that allows you to view the Meeting House in your own space.


Search on mobile device for 'Waitangi Treaty Grounds' to view in your space


Together with our partners, we’re privileged to help celebrate and preserve the Waitangi Treaty Grounds through technology, to share this history and culture with the world.



Post content

Marvel at Maria Island with today’s Google Doodle

January 26 stirs a full spectrum of emotions for Australians across the country. It can be a day of pride or protest. A day to rejoice, reflect or reexamine our history. Or for some, perhaps it’s just any old Tuesday.

Whatever the tone of the day, Australians are bound by a love for our land, the seas that surround us and our extraordinary wildlife. Now more than ever, we’ve been prompted to treasure our natural wonders – as this time last year, our heroic firefighters battled Australia’s worst raging bushfires in modern history. 


So, as we honour the many marvels of our island home today, we’re taking a virtual trip to a spectacular island just off Tassie, Maria Island. 

Maria island is home to a unique collection of mammal, marine, and avian species – and has been categorised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. This includes one of Australia’s rarest birds and the star of today’s Google Doodle, the forty-spotted pardalote. This precious bird is about 9-10 cm long, with a light olive green body and distinctive white dots. It is depicted nestled in its natural habitat, the dry eucalypt forest where white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) occurs. The tiny pardalote is the first Australian bird known to forage a sugary sap called manna by snipping the leaf stalks of gum trees. Maria Island supports the highest breeding population of forty-spotted pardalotes in Tasmania, which plays an important role in maintaining the forest’s vitality and managing insect pest populations. 

Whether you’re in Tassie or Townsville, we invite you to explore Maria Island on Street View and get inspired for your next trip. You can discover ancient clams, sea fans, corals of the Fossil Cliffs walk – and the vibrant colours and swirling patterns of the Painted Cliffs walk

Today’s Google Doodle was developed in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal community and Elders. We respectfully acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and Elders past and present.