New Zealand report
West Coast Wikipedian at Large
From 5 September to 26 October 2020 I was a Wikipedian at Large on the remote West Coast region of New Zealand. In September I was based in Hokitika, Greymouth, and Westport, and in October in Ōkārito, Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Reefton, and Arthur's Pass. The project was largely funded by Development West Coast, with additional support or accommodation supplied by Westland District Library, Grey District Library, and Glacier Country Tourism.The brief was to do the following:
- Working with heritage organisations such as museums and libraries to organise uploads of public-domain photos into Wikimedia Commons.
- Improve articles on iconic West Coast features, places, and people using the resources of non-profits, tourism agencies, and individual tourism operators.
- Running a public Wikipedia event in each location, where people could learn the basics of editing Wikipedia and donating photos to Commons.
- Running training for gallery, library, museum, and archives (GLAM) staff in each location – introducing them to Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata, and helping each develop a Wikimedia strategy for their collections.
- Giving presentations to tourism organisations and operators in each area on improving Wikivoyage, making print media coverage available to Wikipedians, and donating high-quality photos to Commons.
I ran over a dozen talks, workshops, and meetups over the six weeks; the Grey District Library has organised two edit-a-thons as a follow-up to these. Seventeen volunteers signed up to assist with the project. Most were working remotely, from Australia, Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch and reported their achievements each day. Prizes (donated by Development West Coast and Friends of Waiuta) were given out for the most and best contributions in different areas. Dozens of articles and Wikidata items were created, dozens of articles improved, and numerous Commons categories were cleaned up. For more on the participants and what they achieved, see the Final report on the project.
Over 1000 photos were added to the category Uploads by West Coast Wikipedian at Large in the course of the project. Here are a selection:
- Walking trails
- Stewart Nimmo photos for Tourism West Coast
Tuatara at West Coast Wildlife Centre
- Historic Buildings of Greymouth
- Images from History House Museum
Amalgamated Association of Reliable Drivers, 1925
Greymouth Opera House, 1958
The Opera House burning down 9 Feb 1958
Union Hotel flooded, c. 1900
In an interview with the Christchurch Press, I mentioned that the Wikipedia coverage of some towns and localities on the West Coast was so incomplete that tourists would be dissuaded from visiting. This led to a TV interview, and my comments were quoted in international reporting of the Hinnosaar et al. 2019 study on the effect of Wikipedia article improvement on visitor numbers. I've subsequently been approached by two NZ tourist organisations wanting to know what they can do to work with Wikipedia.
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