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Making a last-minute decision to head along to last month's GovHack event at NorthTec has really paid off for Zac Miller-Waugh. The Huanui College student has been invited to attend the red carpet awards night in Sydney, Australia on Saturday (5 September).
He will be joined by fellow GovHack Whangarei participants: his father Kevin Waugh, and NorthTec’s Nigel Studdart, who will get together with a cross-section of over 100 GovHackers from 20 cities and regional centres around Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian trip is icing on the cake for Zac, after scooping a $500 cash prize and a visit to Wellington for winning the ‘Spirit of GovHack’ Award.
"Being able to participate in the GovHack weekend was an amazing experience," says Zac. "Everyone was really awesome to me, and there was a great positive vibe. It was fantastic to work in a group with such great people."
Zac's dad and fellow GovHacker Kevin Waugh says: "Being sent to Sydney for the awards evening is just amazing. It's like a curtain and window opening on a bigger world."
None of this would have been possible if it wasn't for the event's international supporters and local sponsors including NorthTec, which provided the world-class technology venue for the event.
NorthTec's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Project Manager Nigel Studdart helped bring the event to Whangarei and sees it as an opportunity to further grow the skills and opportunities for the people of Northland. Nigel will be joining the contingent to Australia to help promote Whangarei as a desirable destination for the technology sector.
Northland Inc's General Manager Business Growth, Joseph Stuart, agrees that this is a great example of the opportunities that can be available to Northlanders in the technology sector. He said: “We are currently looking for stories about great digital initiatives and technology projects that can help create new jobs in Northland. Having examples of activities like GovHack really helps to demonstrate the potential that can be unlocked if better internet access was provided throughout the region."
For those people who would like to be part of the action but didn't make it to the GovHack event, there is still an opportunity to mix with other tech-savvy entrepreneurial types. GovHack Whangarei organiser Nick Williamson is helping the team putting on the Whangarei “Startup Weekend” at NorthTec on 18-20 September. For more information, visit www.whangarei.startupweekend.org.
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