Focus on: Whangarei

“We think there is no better place in the country to be a tech person than in ‎Northland‬.”

– GovHack Whangarei ‪

Starting today, each week we’ll be showcasing one of the GovHack NZ locations for 2016. We decided to start at the top of New Zealand and work our way down, which means this week is all about Whangarei!

Read our Focus on: series

Explains Nick Williamson, organiser of the Whangarei event, “I love my home province of Northland; GovHack is a great opportunity for growing the technology sector and connecting people with an interest in all things digital”.

Team "Soul Map" discussing their project at GovHack NZ Whangarei 2015
Thinking big thoughts: team “Soul Map” discussing their work at GovHack NZ Whangarei in 2015. Credit: Nick Williamson

Read about team “Soul Map” and Zac Miller-Waugh, winner of  the Spirit of GovHack 2015 (Whangarei) award

This year, GovHack will be taking place in Northland:

  • 29-31 July
  • NorthTec, Whangarei Campus
  • 51 Raumanga Valley Road
  • Whangarei, 0110.

Nigel Studdart, STEM Project Manager at NorthTec, told us that “GovHack is a fantastic opportunity to bring together teams of talented and creative individuals. NorthTec is again looking forward to the 29th of July and we are very proud to host this event for its second  year.”

He goes on to say, “This year we will welcome students from our Vision Matauranga project in ‘Digital Tikanga’, as well as groups from high schools, business and industry. GovHack appeals to app developers, artists, project managers, gamers and problem solvers.”

Follow the Digital Tikanga project on Facebook

Keep an eye on the Whangarei page on this site for updates and info as they come out.

Keep an eye on Whangarei-specific GovHack info
GovHack Whangarei on Facebook

We’re looking forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions, drop Nick a line at [email protected] or the national team at [email protected].

Find out more about our team

When are registrations opening?

A question we’ve started hearing a bit recently is “when are registrations opening?”.

It’s a fair question, and we’re very glad to see that people are this keen this far ahead of the event!

We can now confirm that registrations for GovHack NZ 2016 will open nationally:

  • 9am
  • 30 May 2016.

There are limited places for this event, so you’ll want to get in quick. Remember, it’s free, and the venues will be providing awesome food and internet.

We’ll also have t-shirts and hoodies for sale.

In the meantime, if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any news, you can join our mailing list and, of course, we’re on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Finally – if you want to keep a specific eye on your area’s GovHack, you can check out location-specific info in the”2016 events and info” section of this site.

GovHack NZ 2016 registration dates poster


Competition: help us choose an awards location!

Last year, the national awards for GovHack NZ were held in Wellington, at Te Papa Tongarewa, our national museum and art gallery. Obviously, it was awesome.

This year, we thought we’d do something a little different. After all, that’s what GovHack’s all about, right?

So we’re opening the floor up to all of you for ideas on where to have the awards night. Sensible ideas are welcome. Mad, wacky, in-the-spirit-of-GovHack ideas are, too.

Think it would be fun to hold the awards on a train as we speed through the Alps? Want to have them soaking in a hot pool? Think Napier would be the perfect spot for some awards-night goodness, or the (in) famous Mussel Inn? Do you think your town’s community hall would be the best spot? Want to fly somewhere directly*, or sort a roadie?

Enter your idea into the competition

The event’s invitation-only, and we’re thinking no more than 150 people or so. It’ll happen on a Saturday night in late August (more details soon).

The person (only one, sorry) who comes up the winning idea will get a ticket to the awards night, and your flights (within reason) and accommodation comped (ie covered by us).

Update: hack the GovHack NZ logo


You need to take part in the GovHack NZ 2016 weekend-long hackathon event, and be over 18 years of age.

* NZ cities to which AirNZ flies:

  • North Island – Kerikeri, Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Kapiti Coast, Wellington.
  • South Island – Nelson, Blenheim, Hokitika, Christchurch, Timaru, Queenstown, Dunedin, Invercargill.

First set of GovHack NZ 2016 venues announced

There’s a buzz of activity happening behind the scenes all over the country, and you’ll have noticed changes to our website which reflect this.

Our new “information packs” section contains all the information we’ve been preparing/will prepare for sponsors, event heads, and the other legends involved in GovHack. There are two info packs up already, and we’ll pop new ones up as we finish them  – if you’re inspired and want to get involved in any way, do get in touch!

Read our completed information packs

You’ll also have seen the website’s new “2016 events and info” section, devoted to each of the local NZ events. Our local event heads have also been dashing around their cities sorting out venues, and we’ll be posting them to these pages. We’ll also be including posters, relevant links – anything that we think you might find useful!

So far, we have confirmed venues for:

And we’re in the process of firming up details for:

Don’t see your city there, but want to? Pop us an email. And, of course, give us a shout if there’s something missing, or something you’d like to see that we haven’t shown :)

GovHack NZ dates announced

Well, we’ve heard back from the mothership, and the dates for this year’s GovHack have been finalised!

GovHack will be taking place throughout New Zealand and Australia from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 July, 2016.

Stay tuned for more news and our post on the survey responses we’ve got so far. As always, you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and we’d love it if you signed up to the mailing list :)

Thanks to everyone who’s already engaging with us, and we look forward to getting to know you all. For those of you who’ve indicated you’d like to be involved in organising local or national events – we’ll be in touch very soon!

Great start to GovHack NZ 2016

GovHack NZ 2016 is off to a flying start!

As the national team prepares for our first major meeting, we thought we’d share some fun stats with you from our first newsletter of the year.

  • We have 64 subscribers on our 2016 list (squee!)
    • General news / might attend – 62
    • Volunteers on the weekend – 29
    • Local organisers – 28
    • National organisers – 14

Join the 2016 mailing list

  • More than half of the 344 people we emailed from last year opened the email
    • 56 people clicked on the link to our  “help us make GovHack NZ 2016 awesome” survey. We have 45 responses so far, so some good data!
    • 37 clicked on the link to
    • 195 opens were from NZ
    • 153 were from the US, and
    • we had opens from Aus, the UK and JAPAN, too :)

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on the survey responses we’ve got, and news on next steps!

Thanks to everyone who’s already engaging with us, and we look forward to getting to know you all.

Take the “help us make GovHack NZ 2016 awesome” survey


Time to start on GovHack 2016!

Happy new year to all you, dear GovHackers – we hope it’s your best year yet :)

GovHack 2015 – NZ’s first GovHack – was great. So great that we’re doing it all over again this year, and we want to make it even more awesome. And we’d love your help.

First up, we have a super-quick survey for you – we invite you to fill it out whether or not you came to last year’s events, or were involved at all. It’ll help us understand who wants to be involved this year, how, and steps we can take to make things even awesomerererer.

Take the super-quick GovHack NZ survey
(you can also fill it in below)

Secondly, we’ve got a mailing list you can sign up for. It’s linked to below, and also in the survey. Please note: It’ll be the mailing list we use from now on, so please sign up if you want to stay up to date and informed!

Sign up to the GovHack NZ mailing list for 2016

We can’t wait to hear from you :)


Where, who, what…WHAT?

Where will you attend GovHack?

We have events planned all over the country! Here is the current list, and this is only in New Zealand – they have plenty more in Australia, as well!

You can register for the Wellington event here, and the rest are here.

Who should come along?

GovHack is open to everyone and anyone. From data vis, graphic designers, journos, digital media dabblers, budding entrepreneurs, OpenGov enthusiasts, and user experience peeps, through to web developers and hard core application developers. Pull a team together with a mix of skills to raise your chances of winning! GovHack is about having fun and learning, regardless of your level of expertise. From high school and 1st year university students through to hardened developers, everyone who gets involved will come away from the weekend with something new, whether it be code, content, an idea or new contacts.

What’s in it for me?

Aside from having the opportunity to interact with your peers, get mentored by experts, or show off your skills to a community who loves this kind of stuff? Hack Days rock. They rock because when you get cool people in a room they do cool stuff. The essence of a Hack Day is achieving something remarkably amazing — awesome — in a very short period of time.

You will also be in the running for prize money and grants for the best work undertaken with government data across a number of major and minor categories. The categories will be announced Friday night. You can probably somewhat infer the categories from who our data and prize sponsors are, but GovHack is about what you can develop from Friday night till Sunday afternoon, and that work is what the judges will take into account. GovHack days provide an opportunity to get exposure to new ideas from different perspectives about technologies and approaches you may never get to experiment with in your day to day job or at university. This is an opportunity to test run those ideas you’ve had, but never had the chance to partner up with someone or had the dedicated time with experts around you to make the idea a reality.

What is the format?

  • You will arrive 5pm Friday evening. There will be snacks and drinks, and this will be the opportunity to mingle, create teams and begin generating ideas.
  • The official opening of the competition is at 7pm. Once the competition has begun, you and your team find a workspace and decide what direction you will take, what tools you will use, what data you want to use, who will do what. You will need a team name.
  • You must leave in the evening. Go home, ruminate, relax – you have a big weekend ahead of you!
  • Arrive back at the venue, refreshed and ready to go on Saturday morning, work all day and long into the night.
  • Go home, it’s late.
  • Arrive back at the venue, refreshed and ready to go on Sunday morning, tie up the loose ends of your project and work on your 3 minute presentation video. This must include the team members, what your objective was, what data you used, what each team member did.
  • The competition will finish at 5pm on Sunday. You have to submit your team page, 3 minute video of your concept and any code/source materials by close of play.
See you there!

It’s all over!

GovHack is over for 2015!

It was an amazing weekend of teamwork, sleepless nights, knowledge sharing, coffee overload and hard, hard work.

Visit to see all the projects created over the weekend, or check projects out by the different prize categories at

Head over to to view some photos from the weekend and don’t forget to vote on the different projects.

How do we place our hacker vote for the projects we like?

There are four weeks available to submit your Hackers Vote, so make sure you vote before 2nd August 2015.

Only registered team members can vote.

Head over to or to see the projects.

You can vote on every project, giving them a rating between 1 and 5 stars.

To vote, open the project and scroll to the bottom of their project page to find the star ratings buttons. You need to be logged in and registered to see the star ratings buttons.

View the projects and check out the information, videos and any other information provided to help you decide on your rating.


Get in touch

Get in touch with us if you’d like to sponsor, volunteer, participate or share ideas to help make 2016 even bigger and better than 2015.

Cherie Ellis: [email protected]
Amanda Jackson: [email protected]
GovHack NZ on Facebook