The NZ Web's greatest hits (and misses)

95 Responses

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  • Paul Williams,

    hits: ditto scoop/newsroom, tvnz's site and rnz for news and PA, kiwiblog and NRT for blogging. didn't notice if anyone said allblacks.com for sport - easily one of the best sports sites. gotta say govt site too is a great resource, superior to most Australian government online resources.

    misses: all the uni sites which provide minimal access to current research instead prefering to focus on recruitment.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2232 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Does anyone remember in 1996 when Dave Dobbyn did a live performance webcast in conjunction with Waikato Uni? It was back when most NZ interweb came via Waikato Uni's series of tubes, and managed to make any attempt at browsing that evening rather slow and painful.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1858 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    The herald site was quite good for awhile but since the linkup with finda search4 etc it has become interminably slow to load with some pages taking minutes, mind you the advertising works straight away.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Al Penn,

    I spent hours on http://www.matapihi.org.nz when I first discovered it. Mainly because the search function is slow and clumsy to use. I sourced some great old photos of Island Bay taken 100+ years ago from pretty much where my flat is now. I find old photos of familiar places very fascinating.
    I wish the film archive http://www.filmarchive.org.nz would digitise more of its collection and put it online. What's already there though is worth a browse.
    The changes to the Radio New Zealand / NatRadio site http://www.radionz.co.nz are top-notch as well.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I think one of the most important NZ websites must surely be the White Pages online. I was helping to organise a class reunion a few years ago, and managed to track down about 250 people just through using that website alone. Brilliant.The Auckland City Library website is exceptional, and I think the way they have managed to get their entire database online is astounding. Very important resource, that. On the other hand, what is with Whitcoulls? Crap site. It's not only not good now, it was never any good. Bah humbug.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Vaughn Davis,

    Trademe, anyone? Most of the websites mentioned so far seem to be websites of interest to people interested in websites. But how many of them have turned non-web users into not just browsers and buyers, but full-blown online retailers? Add in the sense of community it's generated along the way (that news item about the Waiheke kid being banned from school camp broke first on a Trademe forum) and Trademe has to be a clear contender for (scroll up, check the criteria... ) NZ's most important and influential website.

    (Or, possibly, just eBay with brown feathers and a beak, but perhaps we won't go there.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Tayler,

    Streaming video and audio at Xtra - Telecom may be evil, but NZ'ers love the Xtra Portal. It may not strictly be a website, but Xtra Mobile and Vodafone live bring lots of information directly to a very mobile audience.

    Oktober had the most amazing interactive website when I was learning who to build webpages, but who in NZ could use it in 1999!

    Why did Flying Pig get it so completey wrong... and more importantly half a decade later, why had nobody managed to get it right? It's retail and it's on-line, this is not rocket science!

    Soundsnz was a very ambitious idea when it launched - and it worked.

    SmokeCDs wins teh best customer service award for when I could afford to buy CD's (2 children = no random music purchases)

    Hate or love it... Trade Me has conquered all and encouraged many NZ'ers to really get online.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    Nostlagia - I went to the Aardvark site today for the first time in an age (nice makeover) and lo and behold Bruce was having a go at Telecom, the more things change the more they stay the same.

    Other sites from back in the day and still going strong include NZ Racing, and Lucire (from kilbirnie to the world)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Why did Flying Pig get it so completey wrong... and more importantly half a decade later, why had nobody managed to get it right? It's retail and it's on-line, this is not rocket science!

    As far as I can tell, Real Groovy Records got it right - in part because they waited and shooed away a bunch of underskilled developers trying to charge handsome money.

    I think it was about two years ago that Chris Hart told me the site was doing the equivalent of a good Saturday's trading every week. Anyone who's worked in that line knows Saturday's the day you make your money, so it seems they're going nicely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18885 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Sanderson,

    For me, viewing from overseas, two sites stood out in the late 90's - stuff.co.nz for simple, quickly readable news, and stats.govt.nz for a wealth of free data.

    If my memory is correct, stuff.co.nz didn't launch until well into 2000. ;{-)

    Toronto • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    I found a couple of sites quite useful for customised information gathering. They're not NZ sites....until you start feeding them with NZ feeds.


    From just over the ditch, Library clips is a damn fine site to pick up more than few ideas & tips about the way in which we create and consume information and the evloution of these activities.

    I'd been using a news aggregator called newzie for a couple of months to create a slideshow of new posts/articles. It's good for quickly reviewing whats changed among your feeds.

    More recently I'd found customisable pages such as netvibes and feedraider which allow you to add your own feeds. Couple these with feedscrapers where a RSS or an ATOM feed is not part of the site and you've got what I think is a powerful way of keeping an eye on the sites that you're interested in.

    Osterreich • Since Nov 2006 • 460 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Nerdly housewife alert: I'd just like to give a shout-out to Progressive Enterprises for their online shopping sites for Foodtown and Woolworths. When I had to boycott Progressive during the lockout, venturing forth to Pak'n'Save was frankly nightmarish. I'd forgotten what a dreadful chore it all is. I can get groceries for two weeks delivered to my door by spending about ten minutes at a computer. That's worth the ten dollar delivery charge any day of the week.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3656 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Snook,

    How about TopNews NZ. A Digg-like site focused on NZ news. It's a bit short of registered users at the moment, but it has potential.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • peter payne,

    R2 was great for me here in the UK while they were(i guess inadvertently)streaming TVone & TV2 live onto the net('got to see most of the last series of Eating Media Lunch at 384kb).a shame it didn't continue.

    also,what's up with the interweb pipe out NZ at the moment? all my usual kiwi sites are very slow to load and i can't stream any media(Bfm,RNZ) without chronic rebuffering.it's only been like this the last few days.

    anyone else experiencing this?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I want to nominate the original Flying Nun website, back when FN was still a record label rather than another Warners trademark. It came from a time when record companies globally simply hadn't realised the potential of the web to display their wares. Chocker full of information, trivia and the ability to contact and purchase, it was ahead of its time.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Soundsnz was a very ambitious idea when it launched - and it worked

    ambitious it may have been but work it did not...it had a terrible reputation for crashing browsers all over the place when launched. My memory is vague, but wasn't there some big fracas between Sounds and the development team.

    I've always found the Sounds site lacking in detail and a bit amateurish compared to, say, CDNOW, which predated it and was incredibly comprehensive from about 95 onwards (and openly stocked bootlegs for a year or so!)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Callum Valentine,

    In terms of internet impinging upon everyday life, changing habits and so on, I would suggest Hell Pizza as one of the most inovative sites around.

    Despite recent contrversy over condom advertising campaigns, mentioned above, they got into the online scene pretty early in the ol' days. Definately the most innovative food delivery website in the country. The site is also incredibly well designed, with a flash interface which actually WORKS and is fast and simple to use.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Dom Waghorn,

    Xtra v 1.0

    For those of us building the damn thing, it was a combination of not-knowing-what-we-were-doing (1996 - did anyone?) and bonkers management decisions. Everyone remembers the ridiculous homepage - a fullscreen jpg that took about 3 min to load on a 28.8 modem - but you don't know how often we tried to talk the blokes in charge out of going with it. It was a time when the telcos the world over, including Xtra, expected to own the internet - why would anyone need to use any other sites? That arrogance permeated through everything.

    I still think we did some good things with Xtra in those early days, experimenting with streaming audio and video, getting automated news feeds working and trying to get some user feedback and interaction going, but it clearly lacked any overarching strategy or direction.

    As for other NZ sites of the time, I always liked the Bulls Bus Terminal, an early NZ music directory. I've just Googled it and can't find any reference to it - am I making it up?

    At Xtra, we all read Aardvark, mainly to see what they'd be slagging us off about next ;-) I buggered off to London after two years at Xtra and loved Hard News by email. Still miss it for a snapshot of what's going on in NZ. Reading over this thread, it's great to hear of the innovation going on since.

    Dom

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    For those of us building the damn thing, it was a combination of not-knowing-what-we-were-doing (1996 - did anyone?) and bonkers management decisions. Everyone remembers the ridiculous homepage - a fullscreen jpg that took about 3 min to load on a 28.8 modem - but you don't know how often we tried to talk the blokes in charge out of going with it.

    Ah yes, the giant client-side image map. It was created by a basket-case development firm called Digital Video Productions, based in Brisbane. Telecom was talked into buying DVP by Chris Tyler, the flashy American hired by Rod Deane to run Xtra. As far as I could tell, DVP knew bugger-all about internet development: their expertise was in CD-Roms, and it showed.

    The awesome Xtra login system -- the one where the numerical customer IDs mapped directly to alphabetical passwords on a standard keyboard (the IDs were discoverable by use of the old "finger" command) -- was the creation of another Telecom asset in Australia, Pacific Star.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18885 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    A great slice of history here,

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

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