Digital Engagement team

Our Digital Engagement specialist team provides guidance, tips, and strategic advice across New Zealand government on how to effectively use the online channel. The scope of our work is to lead, share and encourage best practice on emerging technologies and information to deliver quality online services that are tailored to the public. Examples include:

  • online public engagement that is informed by our best in the world social media guidance — also featured on the leading U.S. public sector website, GovLoop, and Australia’s Victorian eGovernment Resource Centre
  • iterative development and user-centred design of the redeveloped newzealand.govt.nz to enable the public to easily find the information they need without needing to understand the structure of government
  • the open data programme to encourage agencies to make data openly available for reuse through data.govt.nz
  • delivering standards and driving integrity in managing the government domain (security, privacy, accessibility, usability) to build public trust in online government services and information.

We are a small team and acknowledge how important it is to work with the local and international expertise that surrounds us. This is why we invite guest blog posts and interaction to share that knowledge with our wider audience who is asking for advice on how to make our online services and information easier for our public to interact with government.

Keep in touch with what’s happening via this Web Toolkit. We look forward to your further input and feedback.

Team members

Jason Kiss

Photo of Jason KissJason is Senior Advisor in Digital Engagement at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) where he advises on web accessibility, the NZ Government Web Standards, and .govt.nz domain name issues, among other things. He is currently the W3C Advisory Committee representative for the New Zealand Government, and participant on the W3C's HTML Accessibility Task Force and ARIA Working Group. Prior to joining DIA, Jason worked for the Canadian Government, advising on the implementation of its government web standards.

Laura Sommer

Photo of Laura SommerAn experienced specialist in online public engagement and participation, system-wide improvement and change management in the public sector. In a former role, I have been responsible for a public sector-wide online participation programme: an innovative programme focused on the uptake of new media by public sector agencies and conditions for effective ICT-enabled public engagement. My spare time is spent with an active sporting family, I sing with Wellington City Chorus where we've represented NZ internationally, and I'm a Rotarian in our community (plus social networking co-ordinator for Wgtn region).

Nadia Webster

Photo of Nadia WebsterNadia is the Principal Advisor in the Digital Engagement team in Government Information Services at the Department of Internal Affairs. She provides strategic and operational leadership to improve government’s online presence, particularly in the areas of open and transparent government, open data and citizen engagement. With an ecological sciences background she is passionate about system efficiency.

Rowan Smith

Photo of Rowan SmithRowan has worked in government since 2007, first at State Services Commission and now at Internal Affairs. Prior to 2007 he worked with numerous government agencies large and small providing web development and accessibility services, both through a small development company and as a freelancer. Current areas of focus include accessibility, open data, common web services, IPv6 and web interoperability standards. Rowan's a techie at heart whose claim to fame is running the only IPv6-only web server in the South Wairarapa.

Susan Carchedi

Photo of Susan CarchediSusan is the Senior Advisor Engagement for the Digital Engagement team at DIA. She has extensive experience in communications, graphic design and policy, and is a PMP certified project manager. Her role is to engage with agencies and other stakeholders to help with the successful delivery of the online programme.

Past team members

Jared Gulian

Photo of Jared GulianJared was a Digital Strategist with the Department of Internal Affairs Result 10, Digital Transformation team. Prior to that, he worked as Product Owner on beta.govt.nz. He has over 15 years of experience in the digital domain, including cross-government strategy and implementation, agile product development and management, social media strategy, information architecture, usability, and content strategy. His government experience includes work in New Zealand for the Department of Internal Affairs, the Food Safety Authority, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and Wellington City Council, as well as work in the United States for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Katherine Barcham

Photo of Katherine BarchamKatherine is a content designer for the Govt.nz team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). She has extensive experience with web content, and is passionate about helping organisations to think away from their structure and into the world of their customers. In the last couple of years she has been focusing on web accessibility. She started at DIA working within the Digital Engagement team, working to promote and champion web accessibility within Govt.nz, DIA and the wider Government Web Community.

Nathan Wall

Photo of Nathan WallNathan was an information architect on the Digital Engagement team in Government Information Services at the Department of Internal Affairs. Nathan has more than 17 years experience designing and implementing websites, information portals and transactional services for government agencies in both Australia and New Zealand. In 2004 Nathan was part of the project to replace the Inland Revenue website, in 2010 it was passports.govt.nz and in 2011 he led an adhoc team supporting the government's social media response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Nathan was the product owner for Govt.nz overseeing the final delivery of the site as it ended its beta phase and replaced newzealand.govt.nz in 2014. 2015 saw Nathan resume his role with the Digital Engagement Team at DIA and focussing on web analytics and strengthening connections with government digital teams around the world such as Canada, the UK and Australia. In September 2015, Nathan left New Zealand for Australia to serve in the Australian Government's Digital Transformation Office.

Sarah Young

Photo of Sarah YoungSarah's worked in the world of web since 2007, always striving to improve the end-user experience. While at the Department of Internal Affairs in the Digital Engagement team, she worked to prove that there is a need and a want for common web analytics reporting across all of government.