Last mont we missed mentioning New Zealand's first-ever WikiConference, West Coast WikiCon 2021. New Zealand's COVID-free status means we've been able to continue with Wikimedia community meetups and events over most of the last year, and we decided to celebrate this by running small conferences in Wellington, Auckland, and (the first) in Hokitika. Hokitika is a small town on the remote West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, a heavily-forested province with as history of gold- and coal-mining. The conference was to build on the success of 2020's West Coast Wikipedian at Large project, and Development West Coast continued their support by providing a venue for free.
The event, held over the weekend of March 20–21, was small, with 14 attendees. It was a mixture of presentations, organised as an Unconference, and skill-sharing and collaboration session. User:Schwede66 walked people through the Did You Know process, and we had arranged two local articles (Ebenezer Teichelmann and the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival) to feature in DYK during the conference. Other sessions discussed Wikisource, VIAF in Wikidata, article alerts, and how to support new users. There were two field trips, to the nearby settlement of Ross and to Hokitika Cemetery, both with introductions from local historians. Over 100 photos were added to Commons, and the corresponding articles were created or expanded.
Thanks to the generous support of the Wikimedia Foundation and InternetNZ, conference costs were heavily subsidised, so we had attendees from all over New Zealand. There was a taped welcome from Katherine Maher, a Wikipedia 20th Birthday cake, and Saturday night pizzas and bonfire on Hokitika Beach. All who attended thought it was a great success, and we're looking forward to Auckland WikiCon on July 17–18.
Afghans, official biscuit of the NZ Wikimedia movement
Learning about Did You Know
Cutting Wikipedia's 20th-birthday cake
Performing Arts Aotearoa project grant
User:Pakoire was successful in securing a project grant (only the second ever awarded to NZ) to run a four-month Wikiproject to improve the Wikimedia coverage of the performing arts in Aotearoa New Zealand. Wikipedia coverage of New Zealand topics in general is poor compared to Europe or North America, and the arts have been particularly neglected, especially Māori or Pasifika performers. Pakoire comes from a professional theatre background and is well placed to work with performing arts companies and practitioners to source information and clear copyrights on photo collections for Commons. She will run three edit-a-thons, in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. The project begins on May 17th, and one of its goals is to add photos for 100 performing-arts venues in New Zealand to Commons.