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Govhack Sparks Creative Response

December 12, 2017

EIT lecturer in information technology Dr Thomas Hartley (right) with students who took part in GovHack.

Hosted by EIT and held on campus, Hawke’s Bay’s recent GovHack challenged some of the best and brightest minds in the IT sector to come up with creative mock systems based on national data.

The word hack originated when computing was still in its infancy, and it technically means working with and creating code. It’s only in recent times that it has become a widely-used slang term for breaking into an IT system.

Based on the original meaning of the word, GovHack is staged in countries worldwide. In New Zealand, it is a Government initiative.

The annual event mobilises small teams of competitors who, working to a 46-hour deadline, tap into national and local government data to brainstorm and then produce a project.

GovHack didn’t do any “hacking” that involved breaching government security systems.

No hard and fast rules apply for format, but the most common outputs are web applications, mobile applications and visualisations.

Hawke’s Bay’s GovHack was well supported by the industry, educators and territorial and local authorities. One of the organisers, EIT information technology lecturer Dr Thomas Hartley said the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council, Hastings District Council and Gisborne District Council all took part.

Participants included students enrolled in EIT’s Schools of Computing and Business’s bachelor and master degree programmes.