The internet is celebrating its coming of age in New Zealand this year and downtothewire.co.nz, a very cool website dedicated to telling the story of a "connection that revolutionised the nation and finally laid waste to our fear of geographical remoteness" went live this morning, Monday 11 October.
The project has been run by Wellington digital agency Heyday, previously Doubleclique (which celebrated its tenth anniversary on 10.10.10 by changing its name) and, in an effort to give back to New Zealand's online community, it has created and produced a website that tells the story of the internet in New Zealand and how it has changed our lives.
The site includes videos that capture the thoughts of more than 60 of the nation’s leading internet personalities and players, from those who worked to get the wire into the country to the people who made use of the internet in innovative or unique ways. Among those appearing are Duncan Blair (Orcon), Russell Brown (Public Address), Greer McDonald (stuff.co.nz), Richard MacManus (ReadWriteWeb), Brendan Smyth (NZ On Air), John Houlker (NZTE), Geoff Ross (The Bakery), Brenda Leeuwenberg (NZ On Screen) and even our very own media magnate Vincent Heeringa.
Actress and project presenter Madeleine Sami kicked things off by introducing ‘1989’, the year New Zealand got connected with 'it came without a manual'. And, over the following 21 days, Heyday will load content onto the site for each of the 21 years up to 2010.
downtothewire.co.nz also includes entertaining editorial, key facts and seminal stats. And, as is the custom, visitors are able to provide their own thoughts and insights, information about key events and even suggest other people who might be interviewed on video in the future. Heyday will add to the site's content over time and aims to curate a growing, lasting resource for New Zealand.
New Zealand record label Flying Nun is also getting in on the act, offering visitors to the site a free MP3 download each day of classic Kiwi tracks from each of the last 21 years.
"We're excited to tell the stories that we have uncovered and to create a space for others to reminisce and grow the story with us," says Down to the Wire project lead Thomas Scovell. "We hope this truly becomes all of New Zealand's story – how the Internet has transformed the way we communicate, do business and laugh together."
And before you delve into the depths of local internet history, check out the trailer for some cute overload. Insights from the mouths of babes...