ICT community rallies for Christchurch

Messages and offers of support, help from interest groups.

The ICT community is today offering messages of support and help to colleagues in Christchurch following yesterday's earthquake.

From Mike Clarke, CIO, SkyCity Entertainment Group

"On behalf of SKYCITY I would like to express my deepest sympathy for those affected by the terrible events in Christchurch on Tuesday afternoon. All of our thoughts are with the people in the area and their friends and family around New Zealand. We are now flying our SKYCITY flags at half mast and are lighting the Sky Tower in support of the New Zealand Red Cross who have set up a new appeal for this event. We urge other businesses to do what they can as we pull together in this difficult time."

Website helping Christchurch businesses

Business.eq.org.nz is the website set up to help businesses in the areas affected by the earthquake. The website has been set up to p to coordinate the efforts of a number of organisations and businesses who want to deliver support to the Christchurch based IT sector. 

Software Education offers free training for Christchurch customers

Software Education is offerings it current Christchurch customers free places on the full range of its public courses in Wellington and Auckland until the end of June 2011. Martyn Jones, managing director, says a maximum of two staff members per organisation per course will be offered to their customers that have been doing business with them in the last 15 months.

Christchurch NGOs seek donations for IT equipment

To support the Christchurch City rebuild, donations of computers, printers, mobile phones and networking equipment are needed. Tim Findlay, managing director, at Remarkit Solutions, says New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has already collected 500 personal computers (PCs), printers and networking devices, but many more are required. “Non-government organisations (NGOs) are working hard to provide IT equipment to those who need it most – this may be because they lost some of their kit in the earthquake or can’t get access to existing equipment. The need to be connected is greater than usual and we have a fantastic opportunity to lend a hand,” says Findlay.

NZCS Chief Executive Paul Matthews has received worldwide messages of support

“The Society has been inundated with comments and well wishes from members and kindred organisations around the world, including from Greece (who experienced their own in 1999), the UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia and others.

Like most of New Zealand, I watched the developments with sadness and a sense of dread, and the Society stands ready to assist with the recovery effort in any way possible. ICT professionals will have a significant role to play in the weeks and months ahead and our members around New Zealand, and in fact the ICT profession across the world, stands ready to pull up sleeves and help.”

Telecommunications Carriers Forum CEO David Stone says its members are working to maintain communications in Christchurch

Our thoughts are with the people in Christchurch. Our members are doing all they can to ensure communications remain intact.

Xero extends help to Christchurch businesses

Businesses left without financial records following the recent earthquake in Christchurch are being

given the opportunity to recreate their accounts for the last financial year, free.

Online accounting software provider Xero is providing its software at no charge until June 30 to

businesses affected. To produce the most accurate set of numbers, businesses just need to access their bank transactions between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011 or up until the present day. Electronic bank transactions can be imported into Xero and the fast cash coding features within the application can then be used to quickly process data going back 12 months.

Xero CEO Rod Drury says the initiative is one of several Xero has got behind so the businesses of

Christchurch begin trading again.“Free, unlimited access to Xero until 30 June will give businesses plenty of time complete their April 2010 – March 2011 accounts,” he says. “Come July businesses can cancel their subscription to Xero and no money will have changed hands.”

More information can be found at the Xero website.

Help from CallPlus for Canterbury businesses

CallPlus launches a series of packages to assist all Canterbury business customers affected by the recent earthquake. Kelvin Hussey, general manager for CallPlus, says the network is fully available to those who can access it and says the company is now prioritising the needs of affected businesses and providing packages to help them get back on their feet. “We are trying to contact every Christchurch-based customer to offer our support, however we are experiencing issues trying to reach some people due to building damage or people having evacuated to a safer location. If you are impacted, please let us know and we’ll do whatever we can to assist.”

The package includes: A one month relief credit for those customers who experienced interrupted service but are now operational, free set up of re-directions for any advertised numbers (including Tollfree) and special calling rates, and extended terms if customers are under financial strain.

Microsoft customers in Canterbury region get support options

“Microsoft New Zealand is making the following support offerings available to affected customers and business partners. We hope this will help our customers as they respond to the disaster and rebuild their IT capability in the coming weeks and months. This offer is available for customers in the Canterbury Region for an initial 90 day period – Microsoft will review the offer and the period as we learn more about the precise assistance most commonly needed.

  • For consumers (typically with 1 or 2 standalone PCs) experiencing software issues related to Microsoft products, as they restart their PCs, or have to reload software on new PCs, please call our support line for free telephone based support on tel 0800 800 004 Option 1 and then Option 2.
  • For small businesses affected by the earthquake (typically with 1 or more PCs and Servers, and not actively managed by a Microsoft Customer or Partner Account Manager), Microsoft is making available telephone based service incident support calls free of charge by calling 0800 800 004. Option 1 and then Option 2.
· In addition to the above, Microsoft Managed Partners and Enterprise Managed Customers (defined as the Customers and Partners that have a Microsoft Account Manager) should contact their Account Manager to discuss how Microsoft can help or alternatively utilise the available free priority telephone based technical support (on tel 0800 800 004 Option 4) .”

From Paul Johnston. managing director, Simms International

"Like so many others, the team at Simms have family, friends and work colleagues who have been affected by the Christchurch earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and all the people of Christchurch.

We have spare office space, for about four to six people, in Auckland which we would be happy to let any Christchurch company that needs to re-locate use. We are also recalling all our demo and loan equipment and have made it available to various companies and organisations as needed."

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has set up a collection for laptaps

“Christchurch earth quake - you can help. If you have a working laptop you can donate, send it to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, well packed with the hardware and software specifications listed on outside of box to:

John Ferguson, Sector Manager - Digital Content & Technology, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Level 11, 23-27 Albert St, Auckland. We will find a business that can use it. Please be generous.”

NZICT CEO Brett O’Riley offers his support

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues in Christchurch throughout the Hi-Tech and ICT industries that have faced some of the worst moments of their lives in the aftermath of yesterday afternoon’s earthquake. We have been working closely with many organisations in Christchurch over the last 9 months with planning for RWC2011, and experienced their sense of frustration and stresses that resulted from the previous earthquakes. To now face a further earthquake with the tragic loss of life and the destruction of physical assets is truly devastating.

Personally I was about to hold a conference call with colleagues in Christchurch at 1.00 pm yesterday and in the aftermath I have been unable to reach them to confirm their safety. Our prayers are with them and their families.

Throughout our industry people have quickly rallied to ensure telecommunication and IT services are available and able to support the massive task facing the people of New Zealand today – thanks for the spirit and commitment many of you have shown.

If there is anything that NZICT Group can do to support actions you may be taking then please contact me on 021 02709021 or our office on 09 475 0204.”

Message from Renaissance and YOOBEE

Renaissance has a long history with Christchurch and we are all doing what we can for the city now. At Renaissance we are moving forward quietly, humbly and respectfully in support of the family, friends, staff, and colleagues that we are seeing affected by this terrible tragedy. We have asked for assistance from our vendor partners and are in discussions with a number of organisations in education and the design industry to see how we can help there.

If the meantime if any reseller or customer in Christchurch needs to contact us regarding service, quotes and insurance, our 24-hour contact centre 0800 4 YOOBEE is there to help. We are delivering as and where possible to our Christchurch resellers, retailers and customers thanks to the terrific support from Courier Post and our logistics partners. We continue to serve our resellers and customers around the country and are prioritising all activities related to the emergency response.

We have three Christchurch locations and all were safely evacuated but NatColl and Magnum Mac/YOOBEE buildings in the CBD suffered some damage and remain inaccessible. We are awaiting official damage reports from the professionals who are in charge of assessing all the buildings in the cordoned off zone. We will not be returning sales activities to those locations until they are declared safe to re-enter. In the meantime we have been using our Dunedin premises to logistically support our affected staff and their families. Our Student IT store at the Canterbury University appears to be unaffected.

Renaissance has had a very long history with Christchurch and we don’t plan to change that now. MagnumMac and the National College of Design (Natcoll) were started there and are integral to the design community in Christchurch. Creating, and supporting creative communities, is a key part of everything we do. We will be doing everything we can to review what options are available to us to provide business continuity to our staff, our customers and our students. Our Response Team is also working to establish alternative service areas in Christchurch to assist customers needing equipment, supply and repairs. The MagnumMac/YOOBEE store in Christchurch is closed and is still to be assessed for damage. The future for many CBD buildings is unknown at this time. We are reviewing options now that may allow us to deliver a retail experience in a different location while we wait for that response.

Message from HP New Zealand

“We are all saddened and shocked by the tragic situation in Christchurch. Our focus at this time is on the safety of our employees and their families and working closely with our customers and partners to ensure minimal disruption to their business operations.”

Message from Connect NZ

"The team at Connect NZ extends our heartfelt condolences to the people of Christchurch city. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on those who have lost so much, so quickly. For those who have known our Canterbury team over the years, we are happy to report that they and their families are safe and well. Our office in Fitzgerald Avenue has been shaken badly, and although still standing, will need engineering assessment before re-occupation. Until this happens, emergency network related calls are being handled by our national call centre and we are working around the clock to get our affected customers operational. We have additional engineering support that will be flown in to Christchurch as soon as the infrastructure is made available. We remain a national company committed to supporting our local partners."

Aubrey Christmas, CIO of the Employers' and Manufacturers' Association (Northern) Inc. (EMA) offers support

“From the comfort of our desks and lounges in Auckland we watch with horror the coverage of events unfolding in Christchurch and Lyttleton. I send my deepest sympathy for the fear and sadness that you are all suffering. I pray/hope the quakes stop; the missing people are found safe and sound and amenities can be returned to functioning to keep everyone safe and healthy. At EMA we once again refer businesses to the web pages of our sister organisation, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, to provide an understanding of what you can do if you have staff, buildings and/or stock in Canterbury. The pages were set up in the aftermath of the original earthquake in September last year but the information is still valid and provides many resources and contact numbers.

Please visit www.recovercanterbury.co.nz/ “

Via Twitter

@Bobpinchin: Any ChCh tech company needing to relocate to Akl on temp basis we can accomodate up to six people free.

@paulbrislen (Tuanz): we have office space spare in Takapuna (Akl) if you're out of your ChCh office and need a desk/facilities/etc. Let me know.

@WaveAdept: Stuck in Wgtn & need desk, power & internet then join us on L6, 50 Manners Street. Call (021-169 1359) or just walk in ^MR

Essential reading on business continuity from the CIO website:

Dealing with disaster

Earthquakes and volcanoes make headlines but business continuity is not just about dealing with natural disasters. It's about sweating the small stuff.

Business continuity plans still need work

More than half of businesses reported productivity losses as the top negative effect of their network disruptions.

Post-earthquake learning curve for IT

The CIOs of Christchurch City Council and Access Homehealth share their lessons on business continuity.

Protection that matters

New Zealand CIOs give us the lowdown on the cornertone of a business continuity strategy.

Relevant links:

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management

Google Person Finder: Christchurch earthquake

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