The internet’s not a web, it’s an ocean

Enspiral Dev Academy teaches the tools to become a junior web developer in just 18 weeks. It is based in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand.

Fetuolemoana Teuila Tamapeau is on a journey to learn web development at Enspiral Dev Academy.

“There are great opportunities to harness the tools of web development for Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (Oceania). I don’t view the web as a web at all, but as an ocean that connects us all. This way of thinking about the ocean and connectivity is inspired by vā as an ancient science of connectivity and many great philosophers of Oceania.”

Fetuolemoana is 30 years old and of Samoan and Niuean descent. “Samoa, Niue, Fiji, Tonga and Cyprus are the primary genealogical and cultural locations of my immediate family today. The villages I am affiliated with are Makefu (Niue), Salimu i Fagaloa, Mauga, Le Auva’a and Fasito’o uta (Samoa). I have lived with and been raised by family in Samoa, Auckland and Newtown, Wellington where my family has been since the 1970s.”

Fetuolemoana’s path has led her to Dev Academy through a desire to navigate the tools of the internet.

“My previous job involved a lot of web editing and creating content in line with web usability and accessibility standards. During a large project, I became less into navigating templates and imposed structures and more curious about how to create and build things from scratch. I view exploring tech as an opportunity to express my creativity and play a bit more.”

Her technological inquisitiveness was encouraged from a young age.

“When I was a kid I got a 386 computer for my 9th birthday and was taught how to navigate the MS-DOS prompt so I could install and play games. Since then, I have loved gaming and not been too intimidated about finding my way around a computer.”

For Fetuolemoana, learning how to become a web developer ties into opportunities for Pasifika peoples to harness the possibilities of the future and protect the distinct cultural taonga of Oceania.
“There are islands literally disappearing into the ocean, what is left of us when our lands are gone? My hopes for the future include developing accessible living and breathing Oceanic spaces that will protect and grow our taonga (languages, cultural practices, indigenous sciences, the arts, our philosophies) and help us all to thrive as a region despite some of the real horrors imposed by climate change and unethical globalisation.”

She applied for Dev Academy due to “the real sense of a duty of care in its kaupapa,” something that Dev Academy works very hard to achieve. She is so far finding it “challenging and refreshing.”

Fetuolemoana notes “I have had some pretty isolating experiences as a Pasifika and queer person at other learning institutions. [Dev Academy’s] holistic approach to learning is better aligned with how I want to be with myself and my families in this world.”

She received a diversity scholarship to support her participation in the programme. The intention of these scholarships is to help the demographics of the tech sector one day reflect the demographics of Aotearoa as a whole. She notes these scholarships help, but more support is needed to bring everyone along on the technological waka. “The scholarship is a measurable indication of Dev Academy’s willingness to engage with communities beyond the pālagi straight male. I feel happy to be a part of this process as an individual, but collectively I hope full scholarships can be made available for all Māori and Pacific students, not just the few. As family we all move up together.”

Fetuolemoana has enjoyed the Phase Zero part of the curriculum, which is based on remote learning from home. She notes that “Phase Zero hasn’t been a walk in the park,” but she is excited for the next part of the programme, which is an intensive 9 weeks full-time in class. She notes “it’s personally and culturally crucial to get that kanohi ki te kanohi time” that the in-class part offers. Fetuolemoana says she’s looking forward to working in person with her tutors and the other students.

Fetuolemoana’s approach to learning stems from her passions. “I am passionate about our cultures, science, theory, creativity and ways of understanding and connecting with the world(s) as peoples living and thriving in Oceania.”

She keenly feels the importance of advancing Pasifika contributions to the area of web development. “I believe that adding collective and inclusive Pasifika perspectives to the mix has benefits for all.”

“The time has been ripe, o le pa’ū a le popo uli, the growth opportunities are there, we’ve got to get imagining and planning now.”

If you think that Enspiral Dev Academy could be the place for you, check out our website and apply now for the next cohort. To be considered for a diversity scholarship simply tick the box in the application form.