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Fun and fire at Wellington App launch

The ninth member of the Independent App Network of New Zealand had its launch party last week on the longest night of the year.

The Wellington App owners Huup Waagen and Ruth Copeland with Wanaka App founder Tony O’Regan. Photo: Meriana Johnsen

Ruth Copeland and Huup Waagen, co-owners of The Wellington App, welcomed a small crowd of guests to the Wharewaka on the night of the winter solstice to showcase the new capital-centric venture providing smartphone users with localised daily news, weather and transport information, event listings, and paid-for directories of local businesses.

The App concept was started in Wanaka two years ago by former radio advertising sales manager Tony O’Regan, who flew north for the launch. He is licensing the model to operators who are tapping sustainable advertising revenue streams from localised directory-style advertising, and attracting audiences looking for localised news and information.

Wellington City Councillor Simon Marsh, portfolio leader for economic development, small business and events, spoke enthusiastically of the App’s potential to contribute to capital life, and urged the audience to convince local businesses to join up.

His WCC colleagues Nicola Young and Chris Calvi-Freeman were also in attendance, along with Wellington App editor Mark Cubey and sales manager Viv Brown, who last worked together 25 years ago on a similar publishing venture, City Voice.

The launch also celebrated the conclusion of midwinter festival Lōemis, as its fiery solstice ritual took place at Whairepo Lagoon.

Wellington App Advertising Consultant Katrina Laurent and Wellington City Councillor Simon Marsh. Photo: Meriana Johnsen

RNZ’s Claire Murdoch, soon-to-be Head of Publishing at Penguin Random House with Tina Falloon of Talent-International. Photo: Meriana Johnsen

Communications specialist Frances-Ross, WCC Head of Communications and Engagement-Denise Mackay and Wellington App Advertising Sales Manager Vivienne Brown. Photo: Meriana Johnsen

Chris Bourke of Audioculture, Liisa McMillan of RNZ Music, and Matt-Smith. Photo: Meriana Johnsen

The burning of Seraphina at the solstice ritual. Photo: Meriana Johnsen