July 8 - Hack The Government! - in a good way, of course...

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What happens when you get 12 Whangarei people in a room with loads of government data to play with and unlimited internet access?

A couple of weeks ago, I brought to you an event that was a first for Northland, in fact a first for Whangarei and NZ, and it was happening here in Whangarei at the Northtec campus. The organisers called it GovHack, and this is where people got together with free food and drink and wrote code. The code they were writing wasn’t about trying to hack into some government website around the world or causing damage to any major organisations' servers. It was about writing programs to better display data that has been given (yes, not stolen) from government agencies from around the South Pacific.

Whangarei was just one of many sites, where for 46 hours people of all ages and genders designed, wrote and displayed their skills to the world. The best part out of all this is one person within that room got to walk away with $500. This was just one of the prizes which could have been won by the group. There were prizes up to $4000 and more for some designs.

During the whole process, what impressed me was it didn’t matter how old you were or what gender or nationality you were. Whangarei, with its ultra-fast fibre and technology skills did really well. In fact out of the whole 278 teams that entered, 30 were from New Zealand and 1 was from Whangarei.  Go Whangarei! (Have a look at some of the creative skills that are out there at https://hackerspace.govhack.org/projects)

When 2016 comes around, I do hope more Whangarei skills come to light to show the South Pacific how great a place Whangarei is.

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