Top tips

ActInSpace NZ is over for 2018 – stay tuned to find out more about how the winning team from Christchurch does in the international finals, and about the next global ActInSpace event in 2020.

Here’s a list of our top tips for getting the most out of ActInSpace. If you have any more tweet us (@CSST_NZ #AIS2018) and we’ll add your suggestions!

  1. Read the What to Bring, Food, and Wellbeing sections below to make sure you have everything you need to stay happy, healthy, and productive.
  2. Have a chat to our mentors and organisers. We’re all here to help and make sure you get the most out of your weekend, and many of us have competed in hackathons in the past.
  3. Try not to get your heart set on a single project – if the data simply isn’t available, join a team and be involved in something different. Even if you don’t know much about their topic by the start of the weekend, you’ll be an expert by Saturday!
  4. Try not to be a perfectionist. (We know it’s hard. We’re perfectionists.) You want to get something up and running for the sharing on Saturday afternoon, even if it’s not perfect.
  5. Talk to other teams and be generous where you can. We’ve seen teams lending each other coders and designers where there’s been a skill gap, and it’s great to see.
  6. We’ve said it elsewhere, but seriously, sleep, eat, hydrate, take breaks! And do take some alone-time if you need to recharge away from people.
  7. If you’re feeling stressed, uncomfortable, or in need of assistance, come chat to one of our organisers. It’s really important to us that ActInSpace remains a safe, creative, and welcoming space for all participants.

Remember that you’re allowed to do research and project planning before the event – it helps to come prepared, as these can be time consuming. Think about what you’re interested in doing in the weeks leading up to ActInSpace, and see if you can find some of the datasets you’ll need.  

What to bring: tech and equipment

Please label your belongings so we can return them to you if you leave them behind.

Here are some of the things we’ve seen people using at other hackathons.

  • Laptop
  • Mouse and mousepad
  • Adaptors and power cables
  • Headphones
  • Portable scanner, spare batteries, SD card
  • SD card reader
  • USB thumb drives, external hard drives
  • Tablet and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • Drawing tablet and stylus
  • Bluetooth adaptor
  • USB hub
  • Identification or Proof of Age card

What to bring: the other stuff

ActInSpace is great fun, but it can also be an intense and stressful weekend at times. Bring what you need to stay productive and comfortable.

  • Comfortable clothing
  • A jumper
  • Any data you’ve downloaded for the event, or notes you’ve made
  • Your favourite snacks and drinks (we’ll provide main meals and healthy snacks!)
  • A water bottle
  • Glasses, if you need them for reading screens
  • Pen, paper, post-its, notebook, coloured markers, your stationery drawer
  • Business cards
  • Any medications you may need


We’ll be taking care of your food while you’re at ActInSpace, so all you need to bring along are any snacks you want.

Wellbeing at ActInSpace

Taking care of yourself sounds pretty basic, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget over an intense 24 hours at a hackathon. Here are a few glaringly obvious things to bear in mind.

  • Try not to get too stressed. (It helps to set realistic expectations, and to focus on having something ready to demo – perfectionism and feature creep aren’t your friends at a hackathon. And don’t forget to backup your work, to avoid any last-minute panic.)
  • Stretch!
  • Make sure you eat and drink regularly, and not just caffeinated drinks.  Hydration is important.
  • Take breaks, go outside in the sunshine, tune out the world with headphones.
  • Remember to take any medication that you need.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep. (We don’t recommend being that person who works all night and doesn’t sleep. This recommendation may be based on real life experience.)

We have a Code of Conduct we expect everyone during the event to adhere to – we will be hardlined on this.


We expect that you will be part of a team already, or will join a team at the start of the competition. The maximum size for a team is five people. The best teams have a mix of skill sets. If you don’t have a team, find a local crew member who will help you meet other ActInSpace-ers looking for a team.

Observers & Visitors

There will be observers present at ActInSpace at various times over the weekend. Observers are only there to ‘observe’. They are allowed to communicate with the participants, but not allowed to assist them in their project.

Photos and videos

You may be photographed, recorded, or videotaped as part of the weekend.

Internet connectivity

We will provide free WiFi. Details for how you can connect to the WiFi will be provided at registration. Your WiFi usage, including content downloads, may be monitored as part of general venue security, so please use the access provided with respect and avoid any illegal behaviour.

Please make sure the laptops or computers you bring can connect via WiFi, or that you bring a WiFi dongle. Hardwired connections are not available.

Social media – #AIS2018

Twitter will be the primary social media platform that will be used and monitored throughout the event.

Questions, comments, mentions, and cat GIFs can be directed to @CSST_NZ #AIS2018

Register for ActInSpace.