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Kiwi Foo Camp, also known as Baa Camp, was a Foo Camp, an unstructured gathering of technology industry people and policy makers, that took place at Mahurangi College in Warkworth, New Zealand February 2 - 4 2007.
It is based on the Foo Camp concept devised by technology publishers and conference organisers O'Reilly Media for previous events held in the US and Europe. The "Foo" is an acronym for "Friends of O'Reilly" and the New Zealand event was sponsored by the company. As an "unconference", it is characterised by a lack of formal schedules and structures, with the agenda being moved forward as the event takes place.
The event is open by invitation only, and seeks to bring together the technology and creative sectors, policy-makers and other influencers, about 120 of whom attended. It was organised by Nat Torkington and Jenine Abarbanel, with assistance from Russell Brown of Public Address and others. The organisers plan to hold it annually in the New Zealand summer.
The alternative "Baa Camp" moniker was coined by Torkington as a light-hearted reference to New Zealand's identity as a sheep-farming nation, and a play on the alternative Bar Camp events spawned in response to the main Foo Camps.
The inaugural New Zealand event was the first Foo Camp to be attended by government ministers. Communications and Information Technology minister David Cunliffe attended and held a session on broadband and regulatory policy, which he concluded with an indication that the discussion would have a significant impact on his portfolio priorities in the coming year: "Thank you for helping me write my action plan for 2007... As of tonight peering is an important issue"
Another minister of the crown, the Hon Judith Tizard spoke in her capacity as Minister of Archives New Zealand and Associate Minister of Arts and Culture on the Copyright Amendment Bill, which she sponsors in the New Zealand Parliament. She also became possibly the first minister of any government to play Werewolf.
Notable Open Source luminaries to attend included Chris DiBona, the manager of Google's open-source software programme, Ben Goodger, former Firefox lead with the Mozilla Foundation and now also at Google, Robert O'Callahan, lead engineer for the Mozilla Gecko layout engine, director of the GNOME Foundation board Jeff Waugh, and Asa Dotzler, co-founder and community coordinator for the Spread Firefox project. Other tech industry guests included British software developer Matt Biddulph, the co-creator of the BBC Programme Catalogue, a landmark searchable database of all programming ever broadcast by the BBC, and Artur Bergman, operations and infrastructure architect for SixApart, owner and operator of the LiveJournal, Moveable Type, TypePad and Vox blogging platforms.
They were joined by a varied group of New Zealanders, including Auckland University computer scientist Peter Gutmann, InternetNZ fellows John Houlker and Andy Linton (source, technology entrepreneur Rod Drury, user experience designer Ross Howard, Rowan Simpson of Trade Me, Mike Hodgson of the electronica group Pitch Black, and Idolblog founders Rachel and Regan Cunliffe. Also Mark Cubey of Wellington, radio producer, motivator and all round creative talent instigator of note.
Pictures from the Kiwi Foo Camp meet have been uploaded to the Flickr image sharing service and are tagged with "kiwifoo" and "baacamp".