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Hyper-local app brings new news model to Wellington

This week Wellington becomes the ninth app in a growing network of regionally based apps for mobile device users.

Ruth Copeland and Huup Waagen, owners of The Wellington App, with son Jasper

The Wellington App is the latest member of the Independent App Network of New Zealand, providing daily news, sports and features, weather and transport information, event listings, and paid-for directories of local businesses.

Independently-owned apps have rolled out around the country in the wake of the Wanaka App, developed two years ago by former radio advertising sales manager Tony O’Regan. He has licensed 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.

Now the concept has been brought to Wellington by creative crew Ruth Copeland and Huup Waagen.

Huup and Ruth met in Amsterdam and moved to Nelson in 2002, where Huup ended up organising most of the major concerts and events for the city. Ruth was a Nelson City Councillor for six years and is excited by progressive social policy and thought leadership.

They are both committed to enhancing community connectivity and were excited by the potential of the app.

“This opportunity to develop a mobile community news, information and business directory for Wellington inspires us greatly, “says Ruth. “It will be a force for much good and many new connections.”

The app has attracted the interest of the Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council. The Wellington App is also partnering on content with Scoop.co.nz, which recently celebrated 19 years of independent media activity.

The founding editor of The Wellington App is Mark Cubey, who is looking to cover all aspects of Wellington living: civics, politics, transport, hospitality, fashion, technology, sports, arts, entertainment and the weird and wonderful things that happen in the shadows and sunlight of the capital.

He has a long history in media, including ten years at RNZ producing Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, and founding involvement with Wellington publications City Voice and LOOP. He takes up the position after a contract managing the Writers and Readers programme for the New Zealand Festival.

“This venture brings together three things I am passionate about,” he says. “Listings, start-ups, and the opportunity to reflect the community and culture of Wellington back on itself.”

The Wellington App will launch in full on Thursday 21 June, and is available to download now for iOS or Android.

You can listen to the RNZ Mediawatch interview with Tony O’Regan of the Wanaka App and Andrew Board, managing director of the Nelson App, here.

Photo: Ruth Copeland and Huup Waagen (right) with son Jasper