Kiwis often joke about New Zealand being a “rock on the bottom of the Earth.” The reality is, it’s a massively creative, stunning, sustainability-focused prototype for the communities of our future. It’s not just their progressive agenda, or (relatively) agile government, it’s the value they place on community. It’s the way they preserve stories. It’s the way they share and celebrate the traditions of their Iwi. And it’s how New Zealand is successfully hacking regional development of native-owned companies, generating millions in investment.

I hope you enjoy the story of Hack Tairāwhiti, this is our most recent recap from the hack in 2019

At our hackathons, heritage is celebrated versus hidden. It is a cross-generational, cross-racial commitment to help Māori businesses do their best. Social status and job title don’t matter. The creativity and hustle you bring to the weekend does. Because as Teresa Pollard says, “What’s good for Māori, is good for New Zealand, and what’s good for New Zealand is good for the world.”

People are often intimidated by hackathons. And I totally get it. Silicon Valley (both literally and on TV) makes them out to be crazy code-filled all-nighters powered by red vines and Mountain Dew. While there’s admittedly a piece of that in our savory pie, there’s need finding, rapid prototyping, value discovery, empathy driven design, endless pitch practice, dancing, laughter, multi-lingual lessons, great food, and so, so, much more. The indigenous hackathons held in New Zealand are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and they should be the model not only for native hackathons around the world, but for how we all solve problems together as a community, with empathy.

T3W is spreading economic empowerment, rippling across New Zealand one community at a time. First it was Gisborne, which you can see in the video below. Later this month we’ll head to Hawke’s Bay, for our first large scale event there. I couldn’t be prouder to be a partner in their endeavors.

2018 was our first Hack Tairāwhiti in Gisborne, New Zealand

No one goes direct-to-mass-market. Every product launch starts with a community. Every movement with a small fire, field with faith. These hackathons are that kindling, as leaders from New Zealand’s largest companies, and hottest startups, join rising community minds to build the future.

I hope after you watch the recaps of these last two years, you can see what I mean, and register to join us for the Haka-thon in Hawke’s Bay.

Special thanks to T3W, Datacom, and NZTE for the invite, and to Josh Smith for his support editing this super speedy.