The inaugural GovTech cohort was made up of 12 project teams. Each of the projects fit into one of the following broad themes Digital future, Environment and Community.


Wellington City Council – Housing

Wellington’s population is growing, and the housing demand with it, however, the amount of land left to develop is limited. That land exists in small pockets across the city, some of it in the backyards of existing properties.

Unlocked can help make homes happen in Wellington, and beyond, by educating landowners of the development potential of their land and bringing together a range of information into one simple tool.


Ministry of Education

New Zealand’s digital divide means too many citizens lack affordable and accessible internet. Unable to fully engage with digitally-enabled services, these New Zealanders are denied the full range of opportunities available to their peers, be it in; education, health, housing or any other digital public service. These people are missing out, and their wellbeing is affected.

The Equitable Digital Access team are using insights from current education pilots and the Lightning Lab process to connect communities and funders. By pulling together community information, government and private sector data they are able to raise inclusion and close the digital divide for future generations.


Greater Wellington Regional Council

Greater Wellington Regional Council spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on important assets and projects, but the public feel they are brought into the decision-making process too late, if they participate, they don’t understand what happens to their feedback and find the experience frustrating and impersonal.

We want council to make decisions in the region that people understand and contribute to.

Mārama is a formal consultation platform developed with users to enhance their user experience. Mārama promotes ease of use, transparency and understanding of the decisionmaking process. Users will be able to contribute with ease, understand why and when projects are happening, see the wider community’s viewpoints, track their feedback through the process and understand how it comes together with other inputs to influence final decisions.


Ministry of Social Development

Young people are passionate. They’re keen to have their voices heard but, globally, are becoming increasingly disengaged with governments and policy advisors who don’t know how to reach them and processes that don’t feel empowering.

Fortunately, in New Zealand, there is a growing willingness to engage with young people when designing policy and services.

Bridging this divide between policy and youth, we’re starting with social media before moving through to an all-of-government engagement hub. This will ultimately help create value; giving young people their rightful voice, making engagement easier for policy creators and better, more representative policies for New Zealand.


Department of Internal Affairs

How can you prove that you are you? Having a secure, trusted, easy to use digital identity is the future and will allow New Zealanders to assert their digital rights and participate in the growing digital economy. 200,000 baby boomers will apply for superannuation over the next two years. Interviewing each applicant to check their identity documentation with old utility bills and certified, scanned copies of passports will take up valuable time and frustrate those involved.

Using new technologies – such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and facial biometrics – allows applicants to prove who they are without presenting in person. This project has been working with the Ministry of Social Development to address this need but they know that this wider impacts across all Government services.


Ministry of Social Development

Poverty haunts more than 600,000 kiwis. Hunger, stress, and social isolation follow. Existing services including financial mentors and a national helpline are ready to help. However, only one in ten people experiencing poverty use these services each year.

The team travelled around the country to ask the people who don’t use these services: “What’s needed?”

After the understandable answer of “more money”, the wider answer is hope – better ways to connect with training, advice, and opportunities. Based on their insights, the team has created Spring: an ecosystem of empowerment, information, expert advice and incentives which provides people the power to improve their financial wellbeing and self-esteem.



Wellington’s Early Stage businesses with ambition to scale fall into a support gap. Unlike startups, these businesses don’t have access to support services that help them increase their revenue, impact or staff.

WREDA has created a suite of services for these businesses. The first of these is ‘Experts on Demand’ – a platform matching founders to expertise when extra help is needed most. Experts on Demand reduces the stress and workload of the full-time team while increasing sales & productivity. This service enables businesses to reach their full potential faster.</P


Joint Venture Business Unit

Aotearoa has one of the highest rates of family violence in the developed world. Preventing and responding to family violence presents a massive opportunity to improve the well-being of many New Zealanders.

The Joint Venture Team’s digital ecosystem promotes collective responsibility by creating transparency between government and non-government agencies.

This cohesive approach aligns and prioritises resources to better support families in times of crisis. Family violence cannot be solved by the efforts of a single agency so our solution focuses on supporting multi-agency safety responses. The approach is strengths-based, celebrates small successes and acknowledges the personal and social goals that lead to a greater sense of safety and well-being.


Wellington City Council

1 in 4 people in Wellington currently have a disability or impairment. This means they’re not able to fully participate in city life.

The Accessibility Space will be part of the city that provides a seamless experience for all people – a place where everyone can easily move around and access all services. The solution will also include an online platform where anyone can find all the accessibility information they need.

The purpose of the physical and online space is two-fold; with the power to give people with disabilities space to live a barrier-free life and, just as important, providing people of all abilities visiting the space with awareness of the physical and social barriers faced by people in our city.


Taiwan Water Corporation – Water Saviour

With previous, well-received experience in Taiwan working with local water utilities to conduct system trials, Water Saviour is working with NZ public sector agencies to discover their most important challenges when it comes to water efficiency.

With a limited capability to detect and repair water leakages efficiently and effectively, governments are turning to Water Saviour who are working with big data and machine learning technologies to detect and report water leakages on pipelines automatically, efficiently and accurately.

Their solution will reduce water loss, cost of labour and improve repair times in order to save water – a worldwide problem.


Ministry for the Environment

The quality of Aotearoa’s freshwater system is under pressure from years of population growth and changes in land use and practices. Many of our rivers and lakes are unsafe for swimming and 75% of our native fish species are in danger of extinction.

Managing freshwater quality is a complex issue. Pāmu Ora is a cloud-based catchment management tool designed to improve decision-making and collaboration at catchment and farm-scale to improve freshwater quality.

Pāmu Ora aggregates scientific and cultural data, remote sensor data and spatial views of land and water, and also provides intervention options, case studies, planning tools and video content to support change.


Department of Conservation Southern Seabirds Trust

Since 2005, 75% of the Antipodean Wandering Albatross breeding population has been lost. At this rate of decline, in five years, the remaining population will half, and in 20 years they will be functionally extinct. If we don’t act now it will be too late.

Why? It seems the single biggest factor causing albatross decline comes from being caught on fishing hooks from longline fishing vessels.

Engaging with industry, government and NGOs in New Zealand, Japan, Chile, the US, South Africa, and the Pacific Islands, the team has developed EARS – the Electronic Automated Reporting System.

EARS aims to reduce bycatch mortality in international waters and stop or reverse the decline. It monitors compliance with internationally regulated mitigations while incentivising vessels with better management and supply chain transparency.