A Tech Event in Wellington, called a Hack-a-thon.

[an occasional series of community members giving their views on our world]

Michael Thornton

For me this all started with school - I was coming up on term break and feeling like the passion of tech was fading, when my head tutor in IT told me that HINZ (Health Informatics New Zealand) was holding a hackathon on health care. Due to my history in nursing she thought I may have something to take to it. During the event I joined up with fellow students and create a wonderful project (RemindMe; look it up on Facebook). I made wonderful friends and super awesome social connections.

Like Kay Jones, 2 weeks after this event, there was a GovHackNZ event and my enthusiasm was kicking in!!

I was really unsure what I could contribute to GovHackNZ, but I found the team I had 2 weeks prior joined a few more and we started working on My Vote (*again look it up on Facebook). But one of the biggest parts of GovHackNZ was using open-source government data and our project would produce heaps but did not make the most of what it had collected.

This inspired me to get a team of fellow students and attempt to organise a hack-a-thon for our polytech. So using models on creating events from Mike Riversdale (HackMiramar co-founder) and the insight of Dr Karen Day (Auckland University and Health Informatics), we worked though the process step by step and we had a great inspired team, a venue, we had a Data, and Focus. But what we didn't have was a lead towards sponsors. Needless to say we were told to discontinue, but by then it was too late I was addicted!!!

These inspirational events are loaded with fun, learning, growing, and even create a environment for creative thinking. 

Some people come with an Ideas, others are inspired to think a concept up on the spot (luckily for some of us who have had the phenomenal experience of attending such a event). You will no doubt find they are extremely addicting.

From health hack-a-thons, governments celebration of making it's data open source seeing what ideas people can draw off it and create though internationally shared idea's getting like minded people to create ambitious projects to business start ups.

if you're a computer programmer ("Developer"), here is your chance to really shine and show off your many talents.

Or maybe you are a digital graphic artist ("Designer"), show off how wonderful you can make anything look.

Or the idea hustler ("Entrepreneur"), use that creative mind to conjure up the next food simulator (OK shameless Star Trek reference) or next holodeck - the only limit is your imagination.

The talented people who do all the management behind these magnificent events are wizards at making all of the hard work and dedicated hours look easy - the likes of Hack Miramar, GovHackNZ, Startup Weekend New Zealand, Health Informatics, Espiral, Creative HQ and many may others.

These fantastic opportunities offered by hackathons have inspired many to continue to study or to excel in their mundane daily activities - thank you. The people whom attend, facilitate, and participate come out inspired focused and energised - be one and attend an event near you!

At a StartUp Weekend I helped and participated and I have started to see more people coming to these events as it starts to de-stigmatise the social fears around technology and innovation.

The more I attend the more my passions for technology and innovations stay alive. For any students I would say you really cannot afford to miss a chance to attend a hackathon, and if you get the chance to help out, trust me you'll be inspired by the people you will meet.

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