The next big thing in community connectivity could be set to take off from little ol' Whangarei.
Hive, a job-matching enterprise started by Whangarei mum-of-two Vanessa Wilson, is growing fast and gaining the attention of industry peers.
The internet-based business won the Northland Inc Innovation Award - Emerging Business category in this year's Northland Business Excellence Awards.
The judges said Hive was moving through its development phase and showing significant potential.
Hive was ready to enter the market in a scalable way capitalising on a global opportunity to support a new way of working, they said.
Mrs Wilson describes Hive as a social marketplace to discover odd jobs, people and the services you need from individuals nearby.
Hive connects people in the community to help one another so people can make money or find the right person in minutes, Mrs Wilson said, who got the idea for Hive while searching for a gardener when she was setting up another business, Deloraine Cattery, located on a hectare of parklike grounds.
"I thought, there's got to be someone out there that needs a job but for whatever reason hasn't advertised their abilities," the 38-year-old said.
She took her idea to Facebook, and the Hive concept was born.
The business is based at the Orchard, with several local developers working remotely.
They are currently finetuning systems live at myhive.nz.
Mrs Wilson said Hive workers come from all sorts of backgrounds from near-retired people looking to slowly wind down from full-time work, but wanting to stay busy, to the motivated, unemployed person determined to secure work.
In between are stay-at-home parents, students needing enough to cover living expenses, trades people wanting to fill gaps in their day and the goal-orientated person saving for a holiday, car or house (over-achievers who work 60-hour weeks).
Mrs Wilson said the success of Hive was because of a combination of factors.
"Timing is one, with the propensity for sharing economies, the uptake of smart phones, and people choosing lifestyle over the traditional 40-hour week.
"But, I believe it's also in Hive's ethos to connect everyday people to help each other out; whether that's needing an extra pair of hands to help build a fence or feeling great helping drive someone to their doctor's appointment and earning an income.
"Money is a motivator, but its more than that. It's a double win. And this is the culture we are cultivating in Hive.
"Where people do great things for each other, as opposed to seeing people as pure commodities."
But which comes first: The job or the worker?
" ... You can't have one without the other.
"It's the jobs to be had," she said.
"But that comes with a perception and societal behavioural change. That it's okay to ask for an extra set of hands, or to get those items done on your to-do list.
"We all secretly wish those little elves would visit in the middle of the night and do all those little tasks, like sweep away the cobwebs and clean the fridge or oven."
What's next in the grand plan?
"We are starting in Northland, learning from our community. Growing with our community. And taking those learnings and applying them in other regions.
"In the next 12 months, we see Hive throughout New Zealand being used as frequently as TradeMe to buy and sell goods.
"Now there's another option, that doesn't require you selling your possessions to make ends meet. You can find a market for your skills and earn money with your time," she said.
Mrs Wilson said the global opportunity the judges touched on can be seen in AirBnB and Uber.
"Making money from your available resources, be it a spare room, your vehicle or your time," she said.
"The US and UK combined sharing economy is estimated to be $6 billion by 2020 according to PwC. So, it is a massive opportunity to use your existing resources to earn extra money.
"And I believe, with the right ethos and values behind Hive, it will be the technologies that will help build strong communities of connectedness.
"Rather than disconnecting communities like Task Rabbit which block relationships and commoditise people in order to monetise every transaction.
"We state a NZ living wage of $19.80 p/h on our site as a suggested starting point."
By Nick Unkovich, published in the Northern Advocate, 23rd November 2016.