Nature Hack

A weekend hackathon for creatives, designers and coders, ready to take on the challenge of building and launching new web services and apps.

A weekend hackathon for creatives, designers and coders, ready to take on the challenge of building and launching new web services and apps.


Nature Hack takes place at a unique and secret location. We'll pick you up somewhere in Wellington, New Zealand.


Apply as an individual or as a team of up to three people. All you need to bring is your laptop and an open mind. Nature Hack is free of charge.


We will leave central Wellington, New Zealand on the 6th of November at 6 PM and we’ll be back on the 8th of November at 2 PM.



Ashlyn Baum

Website @ashlynbaum

Connor Boyle

Gabrielle Young


TreeHugger was created to encourage people to stop and take a closer look at the unique beauty of the native tree and plant species found in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This app gamifies the identification of native species. Using geolocation via smartphone to provide the user with a list of different wildlife environments nearby and species that are likely to be found there, along with plant identification information and images. Users can unlock achievement badges and real-world rewards for their efforts while also learning about and appreciating this incredible country.

Project site

Winner of the award for most novel use of Landcare Research data


Pernilla Lofgren

Website @linzlds

Annette Hadler

Website @linzlds

Josh Kosmala

Website @KosmalaBro


The whole idea of the application we wanted to build was centred around native bush and it’s make up relevant to your location. This would work towards modelling the natural environment of a given area to deem it's health and aid in regeneration projects/efforts.

Project site


Jay Gattuso


Sean Mosely


Greig Roulston


Recognita Project

For our project, we have utilised the NZOR, GBIF and ALA datasets with a set we brought along ourselves - the digitised Royal Society of New Zealand papers from 1868 to 1961. We have combined these sets in a web application, Recognita, that allows users to explore the overlaps between the various data sources. The aim of this is to present the historical Royal Society data in a contemporary context.

In order to help users find a point of entry into the data, we have created a Twitter bot, '@RecognitaNZ', that will periodically publish links to various species which are featured in the app. Users can then follow these links to discover the Royal Society publications and data from the other data sources."

Project site

Team Touchtech

Dennis Trautwein

Website @touchtechnz

Sebastian Ibanez

Ilia Kopylov

Tracking trapped animals

We built a mobile app for tracking trapped animals. If park rangers find trapped animals they have to write it down with pen and paper and digitalize it later on. With our app they are able to do it instantly. The app uploads the collected data records to a webservice.

The webservice displays this data crossed with other data provided by Landcare Research.

Project site

Hot Source

Ryan Loader

Website @ranisputnik

Dana Chan



NatureDash is a scavenger hunt for native species. The premise is that anytime your family goes on a bush walk, the app will use the Geospatial Biodiversity Survey Data to find native plants and DoC data to find animals in your area. So as you go on your walk you can start looking out for the native plants and animals that might be out and about. Match the images in the app with what you see and take the picture.

The app can also act as an image data collection point and as more people spot these plants and animals, it will build a richer picture of the native species around us.

Mischievous Meerkats

Kelsey Thomson

Website @kelchup

Michael Smith

Website @NotThatSmith

Shanshan Zhou

Website @shanshan_z

Back to our Roots

Using Landcare Research's GBIF database, we have created a web app, 'Back to our Roots'. This app allows users to directly see the effects of planting a native tree in their backyard.

We aim to empower Kiwi's to build biodiversity into their backyards, in order to create a halo effect, not only around Zealandia, but around all of the native forests in New Zealand. We want people to deeply understand that everything is connected - the trees, the soil, the birds, and us. We are a part of this ecosystem, and we can do our small part to improve it. We invite kiwi's to be a part of this wider, long term vision to restore New Zealand's native ecosystems.

Crimson Dawn

Jesse Eedrah

Website @jesseeedrah

Amelia Laundy

Website @amelialaundy

Piet Geursen



An application that enable farmers to make better commercial decisions by harvesting data from across research institutes and presenting it in an simple way.

Land metrics gives users metrics for land quality in an easy to understand way. Users click on a map and the application displays information for the selected property.

Project site

The Fuzzies

Marc Sykes

Mathew Rollitt

Ngahere o Pukenui

Nick Williamson

Website @mashmatix

Arturo Pelayo

Website @mexiwi

Dave Smith

Forest API

Te manu e kai i te miro, nona te ngahere; te tangata e kai i te matauranga, nona ano te ao
This whakataukī expresses the aim of the project to tell the story of the ngahere, and the life and wisdom it offers the people who live in its vicinity…

If the forest could talk, what would it say? If you could talk to the forest, what would you say?
This Project helps identify, curate and manage the natural environment and recreation needs through access to deeper layers of information, while recognising and bringing ‘alive’ historic and cultural heritage.
Already the partners have been working to bring together the arts, heritage, culture & sciences into conservation. We now seek to use technology and youthful spirit to digitally take the forest into the classrooms, and bring the classrooms into the forest.

Project site


Fredrik Bergstrom

Website @eightpointfour

Tim McNamara

Website @timClicks

Josh Taylor



Connecting landowners and beekeepers to support more bees and a healthier planet.

Project site
Username: osynlig
Password: sommar2015

Winner of the Callaghan Innovation Award


Sarah Habershon


Tim-Hinnerk Heuer

Website @geekdenz

Kurt Lenfesty



We want to understand human impact on New Zealand biodiversity. We've created a heat map of species biodiversity against population density. Future iterations would include showing other man-made impacts, including agricultural and industrial land use. We would also show how human impact affects how many native and non-native species are present as well as species endomicity.

Hi Vis

Peter Jacobson

Website @petejakey

Iain Kirkpatrick

Website @iaink23

Jon Lemmon


Fungus Time

Live temporal & special data mapping tool for pattern insight and telling and discovering stories. Little more work to use with any data with space&time

Project site

Winner of the Peoples Choice Award sponsored by Ice Breaker and winner of the Air New Zealand Award


Sarah Rogers

Website @sarah_arrrgh

Flinn Gendall

Website @flinnja

Zachary Landes


Taxon/Taxoff is an application which visualises the data from the NZ Organisms Register in a friendly, approachable way. Users can click on the taxon or species to focus on that element, and the tree will display all members of that taxon which can in turn be inspected by the user.

Project site

Team Matt and Caitlin and Liam

Matt Bennett


Caitlin Miller


Liam Roth-Thomas


We have gamified the process of recording species occurrences with the intent of training users to better record them. This data can be sent back to landcare to improve current sets.


New Zealand, Aotearoa, is a country known for its nature – our wild and beautiful natural places are home to many species found nowhere else on earth. Globally, New Zealand is recognised as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ - a place where an immense variety of birds, insects, plants, fungi and other life-forms live.

Increasingly, New Zealanders are aware of the importance of protecting and valuing our unique native species and environments: they are an important part of our natural heritage and what it means to be a New Zealander.

This Hackathon will enable New Zealanders and other global citizens to explore what makes our nature so special, promote its conservation and celebrate its intrinsic value. It will also enable young, talented entrepreneurs to create new value from information about the living species and environments we have here in New Zealand. The information will be sourced from several nationally-significant science collections Landcare Research cares for on behalf of New Zealand.

The setup

The goal of Nature Hack is for your team to build a simple web service or app related to nature and/or wild life. An important part of the concept is to build something that "stands on its own". The focus is on execution, and creating something that is simple and actually works. In general, "Keep it Simple" is great advice for any hackathon.


We’ll share all important timings and details with you as we get closer to the event but something that can be good to know now is that the actual hackathon is for 24 hours. Friday is for socialising and the hacking begins on Saturday morning and ends on Sunday morning.

Before the hackathon starts, we’ll give a short presentation to outline the trends that are shaping the landscape of tomorrow as well as share a few words on the APIs. Callaghan Innovation, Landcare Research and the Hackaway team will also be around the whole time to answer questions and bounce ideas.


Just to make things crystal clear: you can build whatever you want as long as one of the data sets and/or APIs that you're using comes from Landcare Research. You need to be 18 years old to apply to Nature Hack.


After the hackathon, you'll be given three minutes to present your hack, after which we’ll name a winner.

Here are the most important criteria you'll be judged by:

  • Is it innovative?
  • Does it work?
  • Is it live?


As Nature Hack gets closer we’ll share more details, what to pack for the weekend and what the meeting point on the Friday will be. Don’t hesitate to contact Martina at if you have any questions.

Here’s a video from the latest hackathon that the Hackaway team organized. It took place in October, 2014.

Organised by

Landcare Research

The land sustains us all. At Landcare Research we believe innovation in the sustainable management of New Zealand’s land resources and biodiversity is the key to ensuring New Zealand’s society can develop within environmental limits into the future, meeting both community and market expectations.

Read more

Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation works with New Zealand businesses to help improve their chances of turning research and development into market success. We have a range of services to make the road to success easier, faster and less risky.

We work with businesses of all sizes who share the ambition of challenging what it possible.

We’re supporting Nature Hack as it goes to the heart of what we are about - Rukuhia te wāhi ngaro, hei maunga tātai whetu. Explore the unknown, pursue excellence.

Read more


Hackaway is an international hackathon concept from Sweden. Organized by Martina Elm, Jonny Strömberg and Ted Valentin.

Read more →


Born in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the merino sheep has a light, superfine, highly breathable coat that keeps him cool in the scorching summer heat. When winter sets in, he grows an extra layer of wool over his base coat so he can roam through ice and snow in warmth and comfort.

Icebreaker has taken the merino’s wool and created a system of lightweight layers to give you the same freedom to explore your environment in any condition. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Icebreaker is sold in more than 5000 stores in 50 countries. Created by nature, adapted by Icebreaker.

Read more →

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is an international and domestic airline providing air passenger and cargo transport services within New Zealand, as well as to and from Australia, the South West Pacific, Asia, North America and the United Kingdom (and shortly Buenos Aires in South America).

Read more →

Data sources

Allan Herbarium data

Allan Herbarium data: Plant species, mainly indigenous and exotic plants of the New Zealand region and the South Pacific. (In GBIF)

Website →


  • GBIF
  • ALA
  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.

Fungal and plant disease collection

Fungal and plant disease collection: specimens from New Zealand and other Pacific countries. (In GBIF)

Website →


  • GBIF
  • ALA
  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.

Arthropods Collection

New Zealand Arthropods Collection, New Zealand land invertebrates, with many specimens also from the South Pacific.

Website →


  • GBIF
  • ALA
  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.

Flax Collection

New Zealand Flax Collection: A living collection of over 160 provenances of Phormium of cultural, economic and historical interest.

Website →


  • GBIF
  • ALA
  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.

Organisms Register

New Zealand Organisms Register: Actively maintained compilation of all organism names relevant to NZ.

Website →


Digital soil map

Digital soil map of NZ (polygonised), to be applied at any scale.

Website →


Fundamental Soils Layers

Fundamental Soils Layers: contain spatial information for 16 key soil attributes (pH, Salinity, particle size etc).

Website →


Land Resource Inventory

NZ Land Resource Inventory: polygons which describe a parcel of land in terms of five characteristics or attributes (rock, soil, slope, erosion, vegetation).


NZ Topographic Base Maps

Includes the terrain, hydrography, transport infrastructure, settlements, coastline and coastal features of New Zealand.

Website →


  • More information will come.

Land Cover DataBase

Land Cover DataBase: a thematic classification of land cover and land use classes.


National Vegetation Survey

National Vegetation Survey: A physical archive and electronic databank of vegetation survey plots of indigenous and exotic plants.

Website →


  • GBIF
  • ALA
  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.


Online service access to some of Landcare´s holdings of environmental data with a thematic focus.

Website →


  • SDKs will be provided to hackathon participants.

Geospatial biodiversity survey

Geospatial biodiversity survey of the average endemism (uniqueness) of species found in cells of a grid pattern across NZ.

Website →

  • Coming soon
Other data sources and collections

In addition, other data sources are available for use in Nature Hack including New Zealand and international data for citizen science species observations and threatened or endangered New Zealand species, to name a few. Bringing these publically-accessible datasets together with the Landcare collections fosters a mashup environment in which participants are able to create something new and innovative.

Special guests