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Region’s Talented Tech Minds to Compete at

Region’s talented minds will compete to solve primary sector challenges at

The call is out for the Nelson Tasman region’s best minds to sign up for – an event that aims to make a practical contribution to solving challenges faced by our region’s primary sector businesses.

is launching on 5 October and culminates in an intensive 48-hour collaboration challenge from 10-12 November at NMIT. Primary sector businesses have the opportunity to provide real-life challenges that their businesses are encountering for the competing groups to address. Challenges include actual business data but are made anonymous so client information is protected. Groups will then work together to identify fresh ideas and create prototype solutions for Nelson Tasman businesses.

invites participants from a wide variety of backgrounds – including but not limited to creative designers, engineers, and digital technology and software development specialists. The groups will work intensely in multi-disciplinary teams of 5-10 people to solve specific business problems presented by established regional producers. The type of challenge that might be tackled could include how to develop a 3D underwater camera system to estimate the number and size of fish inside a fish farm, or developing an artificial intelligence system to automatically write email responses, or designing a website or machine learning system to assist with a problem faced by a primary sector business.

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Participants will be supported by mentors with various specialist skills, who will educate, coach and guide competitors through the event. There will also be plenty of food and drink and a fun atmosphere. Once the 48 hours are up each team will present their results to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ of judges, vying for a prize pool that includes a first prize of $2000 cash.

will be a competitive but supportive environment, involving people from all backgrounds and with a variety of skills that will lead to innovative and powerful solutions produced in a very short time,” says Datacom’s Nelson Manager Matthew Dodd. “This is a model that is well proven in New Zealand and around the world and we are delighted to sponsor the event here in Nelson Tasman.

“The process provides an opportunity for professional development for participants – it’s an ideal event to send members of your team along to – it’s also a great way for people within our community to showcase their capability and talent to multiple businesses and organisations.”

The Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) sees real potential for to contribute tangible results for participants and business. “We see the event as part of a burgeoning ecosystem designed to help businesses to disrupt their thinking and really get to the heart of problems and challenges they are facing,” says NRDA Chief Executive, Mark Rawson.

“We believe that the process can help producers to utilise local talent to unlock solutions, and to identify how to develop those solutions in a way that’s relevant for the rapidly-changing world in which we’re doing business.

“We recognise that the NRDA has a key and central role to play in this area and we’re actively engaged in a range of initiatives to support our region’s businesses to use technology and different approaches to problem-solving.

“It will be fantastic to see how businesses use the intellectual property that comes out of – we can see that businesses who are providing challenges for the competition are already thinking ahead in terms of implementing the solutions that will be identified. We know that similar events in other locations have led to service contracts and the establishment of new business entities. We are looking forward to seeing the fresh ideas that come out of .”

People who are interested in participating in can register their interest at www.hacknelson.nz and can come along to the free launch event on 5 October to hear the business problem pitches presented by the region’s primary industry companies.

Event details:

Launch Event – event introduction and businesses problem pitches

Thursday, 5 October from 5:30pm

Creative Industries Building Atrium, G Block, NMIT

Free entry

Main Event Weekend

Creative Industries Building Atrium, G Block, NMIT

Friday, 10 November 4pm onwards

Saturday 11 November and Sunday, 12 November 8am onwards

Tickets can be purchased at


Developers, designers and businesspeople - $99
Students with qualifying tertiary ID - $49


About :

is a non-profit event sponsored by Datacom with the vision of creating a stronger professional innovation network and unlocking hidden opportunities for our established local primary industry businesses. Over the course of the weekend the teams will design and prototype a solution (usually software based), hone their understanding of a business opportunity, and then present a winning pitch. On completion of the 48-hour weekend, teams will present their concepts and prototypes, but are not required to produce a fully-implemented solution. A judging panel will award first and second place prizes. This is the inaugural event of its type in Nelson Tasman but is modelled on a very successful Datacom event that has run in Auckland for the past six years. The theme for <> 2017 is adding value to our established primary industries.

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