Meet the digital strategist from Taranaki Regional Council who is driving lifestyle in Taranaki by accessing a collaborative office space.


Lauren Bennett is a Communications Adviser at TRC
Photo credit: Dom Prestidge

Lauren Bennett is leveraging Johnson Corner to unlock the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) aims of improving lifestyles, supporting livelihoods and taking Taranaki forward, a region voted no.2 in the world by Lonely Planet. 

Challenge: to be successful in meeting its goals, collaboration is critical to keep up with digital changes, enabling TRC to connect and engage with the community.

The digital world is constantly changing, and it’s an ongoing, but an exciting challenge to keep up with how people access and interact with information – that information can often be quite complex. As Communications Adviser, Lauren is working on creative solutions to help more people use the Council’s environmental data in their daily lives. This data, after all, belongs to you – the regional public.

Solution: having the time to plan, innovate and connect with people who use state-of-art technology to benefit the community.

As part of a more extensive web enhancement programme, TRC has recently launched Surfwatch ( which incorporates live wind data (direction, speed, gust at monitored sites) with additional, externally sourced data covering swell forecasts, air and water temperature, weather forecast and tides, plus webcam images where available. The solution is web-based for now, but will soon be available on the app store.

Results: enhanced digital capabilities that enable people to enjoy the Taranaki lifestyle.

Collaboration was key in the success of Surfwatch and the solution was developed in close consultation with the surfing community. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and evidence suggests that Surfwatch has brought new users to the TRC website. This project has given the Council valuable experience in enhancing and adapting their website’s live data feeds to create user-focused, digital solutions – and this is only the beginning.

See the full suite of TRC Environmental data here: and feel free to share any feedback or ideas with Lauren at TRC: