Focus on: Whanganui

“Whanganui is a surprising place with a huge river of talent quietly running through it. “

 – GovHack Whanganui

In the middle part of our Focus on: series, we turn our gaze to Whanganui.

Read our Focus on: series

Why Whanganui? As Kevin Double, event co-lead and Partner at Double Farley Creative Partners, waxed lyrically:

“Events like GovHack are like perfect eddies in Whanganui’s river of talent, where like minded folks circulate around each other and build upon their collective passions and energy. Afterwards they return to their own flows but continue to collectively help our city’s future as one of the digital leaders of the world.”

GovHack NZ Whanganui 2015 participants
Some of awesome people who brought their talent and warmth to GovHack NZ Whanganui in 2015. Credit: Kevin Double

Whanganui has been recognised as a Smart21 Intelligent Community for the last three years, and as a Top7 Intelligent Community in 2016, but prestigious US thinktank the Intelligent Community Forum. So it’s a great fit for GovHack!

Read more about the Whanganui and the ICF

It’s more than just talent, though. Marianne Archibald, event co-lead and Innovation Leader – Special Projects at Whanganui District Council, explained: “I organised the inaugural GovHack Whanganui and was blown away by the warmth and enthusiasm of those who participated, so I’m doing it again this year.”

Double agreed, telling us “My interest in GovHack started by volunteering for the Whanganui event in 2015. I enjoy meeting people who are passionate about learning new stuff and making a difference to their communities.”

Whanganui river
A beautiful river really does run through Whanganui. Credit: Kevin Double

This year, GovHack NZ will be taking place in Whanganui:

  • 29-31 July
  • Double Farley
  • Level 3, 15 Watt Street
  • Whanganui, 4500.

Keep an eye on Whanganui-specific GovHack info

As Archibald said: “I’m so excited about Govhack coming to Whanganui again. The thing I liked most about our Whanganui Govhack was the warmth of the people. It was really lovely and really supportive.”

“The people from last year become friends.”

We’re excited to see old friends again, and make new friends, this year 29-31 July. See you there!

Interested in being involved as one of the event’s awesome sponsors? You’ll be in great company. Says Archibald, “It’s great to have Ultrafast Fibre – our local fibre company – on board as a sponsor again this year. If your company would like to sponsor the event please contact us. It’s an awesome event to be associated with.”

If you have any questions, drop Marianne or Kevin a line at [email protected] or [email protected], or the national team at [email protected].

Find out more about our team


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

3 days! That’s right, 3 days until GovHack!

We have 25 locations in Australia,6 in New Zealand, nearly 2,000 registered hackers; governments at national, state, and local levels and our magnificent corporate sponsors.

It’s basically open data Christmas!

(Or Open-data-ka-mas it shall be known henceforth from now. We might need to vote on that.)

Get involved

Some locations have no spots left in Australia, and New Zealand is getting very full as well. Get across and register if you haven’t already.

If you have registered, get more info about your local site, take a look at the participant kit and develop kits, and there’s some info for those of you whose focus is on winning.

Thanks to our volunteers.

We would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers across Australia and New Zealand in advance, for all they have done so far and for all they will do into the future to make this event possible. You all rock! We thank you, and we know the hackers who head along really appreciate the effort each of you puts in. So, thank you!

It wouldn’t be GovHack without our sponsors!

Leading the charge nationally in Australia are the Digital Transformation Office and Telstra in Australia, and HP in New Zealand. Support from each is helping us add that bit more shine to both the competition and the red carpet awards.

Statistics New Zealand, a driving force in data innovation in NZ, has helped GovHack NZ get set up for its first year. Many more agencies are sure to follow in their footsteps.

IAG, Google, and Ancestry are supporting the international aspect of this year’s event. Which we can’t wait to tell you about.

In Australia, we’re excited to see some new faces, as well as our, what seems like family, government partners. Just looking at this list tells a story about how awesome this year competition is going to be. In addition to our official sponsors we also have guest judges from the National Library Australia, Archives NZ, and NZ National Library.

Microsoft, Splunk, and HP Helion & Frame Group have provided Platinum sponsorship and in-kind support via access to their services.

Callaghan Innovation is providing Silver sponsorship in NZ, and Amazon, AIIIA, Link Digital, Computer Power Institute, NICTA and the eGov Cluster, Acquia, ACS, and DLA Piper have got Australia covered. Amazon Web Services and Catalyst are also covering NZ Web Services needs.

GovHack kicks off at 7pm Friday. Follow @govhacknz and @govhackau for last minute announcements and to catch the opening night video!

Signing off for now,

The GovHack Cohort