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The hack is back

Innovative and dynamic tech event Hack Tairawhiti is returning to Gisborne next month.

The hackathon is a 48-hour competition that requires teams to develop a commercial solution to a business problem — and importantly, a solution that can be taken to the world.

The aim is to demonstrate that innovation can be found anywhere, even beside a beautiful beach on the east coast of New Zealand.

The inaugural Hack Tairawhiti had a demonstrable impact on the companies involved.

It featured New Zealand’s first national Maori hackathon, bringing together eight Maori tech exporters and the country’s top talent — designers, developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and business leaders — to tackle complex challenges.

This year, the event’s focus is on a broad range of exporters in Tairawhiti, building on the momentum from the past year and deepening its impact on the regional economy.

The hackathon will feature eight businesses and more than 100 business leaders, technologists, creatives, designers, entrepreneurs and investors.

It is an opportunity to pool collective brain power in a condensed timeframe, addressing their greatest imaginable challenge and accelerating international growth.

Digital disruption is part of everyone’s lives, and Hack Tairawhiti aims to help the region embrace opportunities and be a key part of regional economic development.

Hack Tairawhiti 2018 was a finalist in the CIO50 Awards, which celebrate organisations that are harnessing business technologies to help solve social and community issues. A highlights video of the event can be viewed on the event’s website.

Hack Tairawhiti is being organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Datacom, along with supporting regional and technology partners.

NZTE general manager of services Suzie Marsden said the event was a remarkable experience.

“I joined one of the teams last year and it was amazing to be part of the energy, the invention and the determination to help our company develop a practical solution to their problem.

“The hackathon has a very strong spirit of collaboration, where everyone brings their expertise and openly shares it.

“It doesn’t matter if you write code, create graphics, have a marketing or business background — all of those qualities are valuable.

Datacom associate director of transformation and innovation Kerry Topp said hackathons had the potential to provide transformational change for businesses but the key was keeping people at the heart.

“Over 48 hours not only are people contributing their skills but also deepening their knowledge of innovative behaviours, and this is what helps to accelerate organisations into effective digital transformation.”

Hack Tairawhiti 2019 is at Waikane Surf Life Saving Club from May 17 to 19. To register, go to www.hacktairawhiti.co.nz

HACK 2018: Last year’s Hack Tairawhiti innovation and technology event attracted more than 80 developers from outside of the region. Event organiser Barry Soutar said many of the developers were drawn to the cultural and scenic aspects of the region. Taking part in the 2018 Hack are (from left) Dipesh Trikam, Roger Shakes, Steve Whitaker and Alex Ang. Hack Tairawhiti 2019 is being held next month. Herald file picture