Thursday, 7 February 2008

Te Awamutu Online

Te Awamutu is the name of my home town in the Waikato district of New Zealand. Back in 1999, with the help of my brother Richard (AKA Scratch), I started the Te Awamutu Online website.

The real-world reaction was mostly confusion. People couldn't grasp the concept of a website devoted to a town. Many of my friends pulled unusual faces when I tried to explain it.

Fortunately, even back then there were a number of ex-pat Te Awamutu people who wanted to make a connection to home over the internet. We had some encouraging emails from Kiwis all over the world and we persevered. It took a few years but eventually people who do still live in Te Awamutu started to "get it". It's since become very popular, getting over 1000 unique visits per day (there are only around 20,000 residents in the local district).

Sadly, as much as I love this website, it loses a fair bit of money and I can't find any way to make it profitable. Over the past few years I've scaled back my work on the site and tried to find new ways to keep it going with less work. Getting the Courier online was a big breakthough (thanks Grant, Dean and the team). I'm also working with the i-SITE Information Centre and other interested parties to see how we can work on it more efficiently. Whatever happens, I'm very committed to keeping this site active and growing.

Note: I'll use this blog to talk about updates to the Te Awamutu Online website. There are also RSS feeds available for local news stories and forums posts here.

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