Kiwi companies bring home the bacon at Internet Awards

A quintet of Kiwi companies have won some serious accolades at the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards. Is it a sign of greater things to come?

Five Kiwi companies have brought home the proverbial award bacon at the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards in Melbourne – and it’s got internet gurus buzzing about what could come next.

New Zealand companies made it a clean sweep of the new Tech Start Up category, with Auckland based Latipay taking out the main prize, and Christchurch’s Linewize being named as highly commended. Massey University’s Design + Democracy project won the Information Award for their work on online voter engagement, and the Virtual Learning Network Primary School and Attitude Live were both highly commended in the Diversity and Digital Skills category.

Design + Democracy at the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards.

Ok, so that’s a pretty good showing for Team Aotearoa, at least as InternetNZ’s CEO Jordan Carter sees it. He says it’s a testament to the quality of the New Zealand entries that five out of the seven finalists received awards, and that two organisations won their respective categories. “The quality of New Zealand finalists show that New Zealand’s tech sector is in good hands. We have a lot of positive ideas coming out of New Zealand, and it is great to see that the New Zealand winners represented a number of communities nationwide.”

Cameron Boardman, the newly appointed CEO of auDA, agrees. “As my first ANZIA event, as CEO, I was struck by the incredible atmosphere and genuine excitement of the community to celebrate such valuable contributions from our finalists. It is encouraging to see such diversity and innovation across the wider tech sector.”

So who are the winners? We take a gander at what they’re all about.

Design + Democracy

Wellington-based Design + Democracy won the Information Award. A research unit at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts., the project is focused on looking at how design can help to advance 21st century citizenship. They aim to harness technology to help build a vibrant democracy through the use of clever design. The project has been responsible for the “On the Fence” app in the 2014 election, known for its super-cute sheep icon.

Latipay

Latipay  captured the Tech Start Up category. An Auckland-based online payment solution that facilitates a Chinese yuan to New Zealand dollar transfer from a CNY bank account to a NZD bank account, Latipay can be used to make payments for goods or travel, or to pay a bill directly from a CNY bank account.

Linewize

Christchurch’s Linewize received a Highly Commended award in the Tech Start Up category for their software that lets teachers track what students are actually doing on their devices. Teachers using Linewize can use the software to identify which students are staying on task on their device, and which students have been distracted by other things. The software lets teachers implement their own filters and helps schools support “bring your own device” policies while tackling one of the biggest problems with devices in schools – making sure students stay on task.

Virtual Learning Network Primary School

The Virtual Learning Network Primacy School received a Highly Commended award in the Diversity and Digital Skills category. This initiative aims to extend learning opportunities by enabling online collaborations between schools. The project allows students to access online learning for subjects and areas that may not be offered at their own schools. The programme also supports teachers to develop their confidence and capability in e-learning, and there is an Online Community of Learning to broker connections and collaborations.

Attitude Live

Auckland-based Attitude Live received a Highly Commended award in the Diversity and Digital Skills category. Attitude Live is a creative studio that produces award-winning documentaries, video content and campaigns in digital and traditional media, with an aim to help organisations, service providers, governments and brands step inside the world of disability and rethink their attitudes to move closer to the community, or change their marketing for the growing disability and health landscape. As well as producing content, they manage an online platform that has an engaged audience.