Blog: Ministry of Awesome turns 4!

Can't believe we just turned 4! We had a blast yesterday with balloons, origami hearts, stickers, onesies and disco dancing! There's no better way to spend this special day than to celebrate with our friends the collective achievements in the ecosystem.

Dance guru Adam Hayward opened yesterday’s Coffee and Jam with a good old dance session, and went on to talk about his role in running the Christchurch Body Festival and his interest in the use of space in the arts. He spoke about Christchurch before the earthquake, where as an artist you were dictated space and what spaces were available; but now post quake where many of the old spaces have disappeared, artists no longer have this barrier and can be a little more creative about what spaces they use. 

This year Adam plans to hold an event called ‘Thrill The World’ which will see groups of people all around the world simultaneously participating in an apocalyptic style Thriller dance, and is looking to get workplaces involved as a wellbeing activity for staff. 

He left us with this great quote by Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” 

We heard from some of the Ministry of Awesome’s first members. Kaila Colbin, co-founder and trusttee, spoke about how the first Coffee and Jam session was held at 7.45am on a Monday morning...and well let’s just say that didn’t really work out - six people showed up, five of them being Ministry of Awesome staff! Aaand that’s how we arrived at the slightly nicer time of 12.30pm....but the original breakfast orientated name of Coffee and Jam stuck! 

Geoff Brash (trustee) spoke about how we also use to run Awesome Evenings, which would include 5-6 speakers, music and even drinks instead of coffee! 

Erica Austin, Event Awesomist, spoke about coming to her first Coffee and Jam session on her birthday when she first arrived in Christchurch in 2013, and how the Ministry of Awesome helped her settle into Christchurch. 

Catarina Gutierrez, Start-Up Activator, spoke about how she spoke up at one of her first Coffee and Jams when she was new in town, and asked if anyone had any jobs....well turns out the Ministry of Awesome did, and she’s been with them ever since! 

What the Ministry of Awesome are excited to have achieved over the last 4 years: 

  • 3 full-time staff
  • 157 Coffee and Jams
  • 600+ speakers
  • 23 Awesome Evenings
  • 12 Epic Caffeine Adventures
  • 15 Double Shot Sessions 
  • 267 Ideators (Start-Up Activator)
  • 3 Christchurch Soups
  • 33% Reliant on grant funding
  • 1 Fully operational co-working space


To celebrate the Ministry of Awesome’s 4th birthday we put the spotlight on some of the awesome organisations in our ecosystem that have started up or expanded in the last four years, and spoke about some of the awesome things they’ve achieved over the last 4 years: 

Our Daily Waste
Since we started in 2012 we have provided recycling services at 45 events, and in that time we’ve hauled, sorted and picked up a total of 55 tonnes of waste, 27 of which were recycling and 28 of landfill, diverting almost 50%. 

In The Loop
Connecting people through our monthly gatherings across the city where they can share and celebrate their amazing projects. 

We opened in August 2014, and since then we have hosted 107 creative events and provided workspace to 35 resident creatives. 

Te Pūtahi
Collaborating with thousands of artists, students, performers, entrepreneurs, arts and community organisations to imagine Christchurch differently, and presenting those imaginings live to create FESTA so the denizens of Christchurch and visitors to the city can collectively experience Christchurch differently. Working with Studio Christchurch and getting somewhere between 20-30,000 people back into the central city for LUXCITY in 2012 was especially memorable.  

Startup Weekend Christchurch
Over 300 people have attended our weekends and created a company. Some of these companies have continued to develop and many of the attendees have gone on to found real star-ups as a result of their experience, often with the help of people they met on the weekend. 

Christchurch Bike Share
Crowd funding and setting up a two year pilot.  

SingularityU New Zealand
We’re running the SingularityU New Zealand Summit this November!  

Kilmarnock Enterprises
We’re extremely proud of the way we have transitioned from a charity to a social enterprise. This has enabled us to leverage business excellence to greatly enhance our social value and provide a fun, connected environment where our team can learn the skills and develop the confidence they need to pursue a good life. 

Gap Filler
All the fun, crazy and innovative projects we have been part of; Pallet Pavilion, Dance O Mat, Sound of Garden, The Commons and CHCH Soup to name a few.  

UC Centre For Enterprise (UCE)
We established the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship with a world-class student incubator that has already produced a number of talented entrepreneurs and ventures with great potential. 


Shout Outs

- John Veitch is keen to speak with anyone from the Canterbury Young Professions. He can be contacted at:

- Cosmology is a new online shopping mall which you can check out at, or you can contact Leo for more information at:

- Pizza for the People - an event happening at The Picture Club in Lyttelton this Saturday. Bring your own pizza toppings, $5 entry, and there will be an open bar. For more information go to:  

- Fluent Scientific are looking for an Angular Developer. For more information email:

- Rebecca Williams is a Personal Development Coach who can provide small business and entrepreneur coaching. She can be contacted on: 021 418 056 or For more information go to:

- Joseph Quested is a web developer looking for work or a fun project. He can be contacted at:

- Morgan from Tech Happy is running an event of the 4th of May called ‘Perfecting Profiles’ which looks at using things such as LinkedIn effectively, and includes having your profile picture taken by a professional photographer. For more information and tickets go to:

- A trampolining events center in Bromley called Flipout will be opening in the near future. Andrew Moss wants to combine sporting and technology and is looking for anyone with ideas on how to make this happen. He can be contacted For more information go to: