Dunedin website team wins in nationwide competition

From left, Chris Burgess, Vincent Rijlaarsdam and Beau Murrah, who won the ''Spirit of GovHack'' award at a ceremony in Wellington for their website prototype which aims to make legislative data easier for the public to access. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
From left, Chris Burgess, Vincent Rijlaarsdam and Beau Murrah, who won the ''Spirit of GovHack'' award at a ceremony in Wellington for their website prototype which aims to make legislative data easier for the public to access. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A Dunedin IT innovation team has won the ''Spirit of GovHack'' prize at the New Zealand GovHack awards held in Wellington recently.

GovHack was a 46 hour government data competition held over one weekend in centres around New Zealand and Australia.

The $2000 award was presented to Chris Burgess (40), Vincent Rijlaarsdam (20) and Beau Murrah (26) for their social discussion platform aiming to make access to public government legislation data easier to access and understand.

''The core idea of the design is to provide more decisions [by the public] around changing laws,'' Mr Burgess said.

''[The win] was super exciting, really unexpected.

''The best thing is having a lot of people that you respect say that this is not a stupid idea.''

The team - competition name Legolas - was also awarded the regional spirit award as well as being named the best provincial team. The team will now travel to an awards ceremony in Australia in the next fortnight that showcases the best ideas from Australasia.

Mr Burgess also had plans to pursue the innovation further.

''It's a project that's been rattling around in my head for several years.

''I'm really glad that it [the competition] forced my hand into taking action on it,'' he said.

Co-organiser of the Dunedin GovHack competition Phil Wheeler said it was another example of Dunedin continuing to ''punch above its weight''.

''All considered, a fantastic result considering this is the first year GovHack has been run in New Zealand and the Dunedin team were the only representatives of the entire South Island.''

-rhys.chamberlain@odt.co.nz

 

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