The Covid-19 lockdown reinforced the importance of being connected.
When New Zealanders were forced to live most of their lives online – for work, school and social connection – it exacerbated the effects of digital exclusion and gave The Business Hive director Alex Regtien the idea to redistribute unused electronic devices to those who had a need for them.
With the help of community project manager Robert Roodnat, he has established Donate Waitaki Devices – a service to find a good home for unused computers, phones and tablets.
Mr Regtien said some people would have old devices lying around unused that were too good to be thrown – and that out people needed.
“It might be people with kids at school who need a device; it might be through Age Concern, because that was another thing during lockdown – some of the elderly didn’t have access to devices and couldn’t have video calls with family.”
Businesses that had upgraded their computer systems might be another good source, he said.
“This is a really good way to do good for local people that need it.”
Devices can be dropped off at The Business Hive, and then they will be checked by Laser Electrical and prepared for use by Oamaru IT Solutions.
Mr Roodnat said the electronics would then be re-homed by social services, to the people in most need.
He has created an app social organisations can sign up to.
“We will know what is needed, what we have in stock, and we can distribute it.”
Devices need to be up to a certain working standard. They must be able to connect to the internet, be in reasonable working order and come with a charger.
Microsoft devices must be no older than eight years and have an Intel processor, while tablets, phones and Apple devices should be less than six years old.