"How I Use Excio to Spark Conversations"

By Claire Callaghan

Claire Callaghan with the Excio app on her phone

Claire, tell us about you and how you discovered Excio...

In my day job providing digital workplace services, I look after tech and the relationships which are essential to ‘good tech’.

Good tech has two meanings for me:

1. Where the tech is good for the community or world - It has purpose and adds value to people’s lives (and doesn’t have to be free), e.g. apps like Excio, VeriSafe, Te Reo Māori.

2. Where the tech might be more functional (or even seen as a little mundane) but has the customer at the centre of its design. This is what I do at work – making sure that when I design new tech services, for the staff in my company, that their needs are at the heart of the decision making process.

To create good tech solutions I have to value and cultivate relationships with all my stakeholders. No hiding away in a wee black-box and then jumping out and yelling ‘ta-da, look what we’ve created, aren’t we marvelous!’ This, in recent years, has led me to my real passion – connecting and supporting women in tech.

I seem to remember that I tagged Excio in a LinkedIn post about clever Mahuki tech initiatives. The founder, Ana, reached out to me and we decided to ‘grab a coffee’ (a favourite Wellington pastime). I leapt at the chance to hear more about the work Excio was doing both with photographers and with groups like Wellington City Archives and Te Papa.

What do you like most about Excio and why?

What first attracted me to Excio was the smart tech solution, spearheaded by a Wellington woman. Secondly, while I am no photographer myself, I love the emotional connection that images and art create. The images on Excio brighten my day and they often create unique talking points. I should also mention here that I find it valuable when there is an explanation and photographer/artists name attached to the image; it always seems just a tiny bit sad to look at an image online, wanting to know more, and find nothing there of explanation.

You mentioned Excio helped you to spark conversations, can you tell us a bit more about what happened and where the conversations led?

Two instances come to mind. Firstly, there was a gorgeous Te Papa collection on Excio called ‘Faces of WW1 – the Berry Boys’. One day I was showing them to my Mum. We were hoping to see her Dads face amongst those soldiers photos, as he’d sailed out of Wellington in 1918 bound for the Western Front. Although we didn’t find him, what we saw solved another piece to our family history puzzle, for in these photos was the same background and props of another ancestor’s photo. Now we were able to trace a tatty old scanned copy of my Grandmother to the studio where her photograph was taken and her age at the sitting; magic!

Second, the LinkedIn conversations that have been sparked through sharing an Excio image of a favourite Kiwi destination have been incredible. People from all over the world sharing and talking about Aotearoa is a very special thing. Jo Mohis' Sunset Petone Beach photo sparked one conversation where someone said “Petone Beach is a very special place. What a beautiful shot. My turangawaewae is very close actually”. Another instance was Abel Tasman from the NZ Photography Workshops - there was a lot of conversation from people about the Tasmans unique ‘tonic’ in our lives. We’re reminded of just how lucky we are to have places like this on our doorstep.

What are your favourite collections/photos on Excio and why?

Excio images draw me in for three reasons. The ability of Excio to show off our country is obviously important to me, so I share 2 or 3 images/collections a month of gorgeous landscape photography such as those from Karen Moffatt McLeod, or the undeniably talented Peter Maiden. Images bring to mind memories as well, like Marina de Wit’s flower photos which remind me of watching my mother, as a child, when she arranged big bold heavenly flowers for our local church.

Imagery can challenge us as well, and for that reason, I’ve been really drawn into the photography work from Kāpiti College students; it’s diverse and often confronting and makes me think about the images’ message.

If you were to select 5 photos on Excio that you like the most - which would they be?


Marina de Wit’s Engela

Jo Mohi Sunset Petone Beach (Published in NZPhotographer collections on Excio)

Karen Moffatt McLeod’s Whitianga Wharf

ANY/ALL of Jane Blackmore’s work, but if I had to pick then Family

Kāpiti College student Chloe Crockers Wax Hands

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