Wellington's GovHackNZ, What A Journey

Back in February we were approached, amongst a number of other NZ-wide people experienced in running hackathons, to see if we would be like to help bring the successful GovHack events across from Australia - we said yes, of course, and there started a journey that finished last weekend.

Together with friends in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Whanganui and Dunedin we were part of a bumpy weekly road to July 3rd, 4th and 5th and our first major hackathon, GovHackNZ.

If you've not heard of GovHack before then take a minute to check out their "About" page:

GovHack was originally an Australian initiative by Web Directions. They ran the first GovHack in 2009 which was funded by the Gov 2.0 Taskforce as part of their MashUp Australia initiative.

With a national site, our own local site, and a Wellington crew of many (we even had a visit from the DPMC to ask what on earth we were going to 'hack':), we managed to pull off a spectacular event at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) head office on Stout Street.

The Wellington event was managed by Mike from Hack Miramar, delivered by many of the Hack Miramar community alongside key members of central and local government - it was a true team effort with many volunteer hours being put in to ensure the event delivered on our target of "smooth, professional, well attended and 'with tigers'".

All in all we facilitated 130 attendees, 12 teams delivering projects, many many visitors (incl Hon Bill English and Clare Curran MP), food, a special event craft beer, music, major venue management, 15 major sponsors, 1 fantastic MC and a kick-off coordinator par excellance (thanks Dan), all with as much coffee as you could desire.

The list of projects from across New Zealand, including our very own from Wellington, is staggering. And don't hold back on checking out the 3 minute videos everyone had to produce, the quality of those are quite something let alone the actual prohjects delivered.

After the buzz of the weekend itself, the volunteers had a wee get together and a well deserved pat on the back - all we can say is THANK YOU to each and everyone that helped bring together the event.

But that's not the end of the GovHack season, firstly there was the New Zealand gala awards held mid-August at Te Papa in Wellington. A great evening, arranged by Cherie and Amanda, was had by all.

And finally, over last weekend, a select band of merry GovHackNZ'ers were flown over to Sydney to join up with the teams from all over Australia in a red carpet evening. And NZ did very well picking up a number of awards including International Best Disaster Mitigation Hack, iHelp by Team Tremorz and International Digital Humanities Hack, Runner up! Loaded Dice by Inequaliteam, both teams from Wellington.

And that's it for 2015 ... or is it?
A number of the Wellington teams have been talking with Govt agencies (local and central) and pursuing their projects onto more production environments - this is wonderfu news for both the teams and the agencies and we look forward to seeing them emerge into the light of the day.

However, as we have posted before, the number of projects that become commercial entities is only one of the criteria we use to measure our hackathon events. As Paul Stone so eloquently writes in his, "Why was GovHack 2015 such a success?" article, the real value of GovHackNZ 2015 was the breaking down of barriers both within and outside of the agencies and the brining together of people to make a difference - that's why hackathons.

We leave you with a few photos of all Wellington event, NZ and Australian gala evenings - more here, here and here