Computer access pioneer honoured

Laurence Zwimpfer has been made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to IT

Laurence Zwimpfer, a campaigner and worker on several fronts for ordinary people’s access to computer technology, has been made a member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to information technology. The honour was conferred in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list over the weekend.

A long-time member of the 2020 Communications Trust, Zwimpfer has been active in digital literacy projects and in efforts to recycle disused computers, both for practical use and to recover valuable material and reduce pollution. He founded and coordinates the annual eDay electronic-waste collection scheme, which has now sparked a nationwide effort on a similar front by the Ministry for the Environment.

He runs an ICT consultancy, Zwimpfer Communications.

Zwimpfer played a key role in the inauguration of New Zealand’s NetDay, which, from 1996 to 2001, used volunteer labour to set up digital networks for schools. He has also been active in international ICT-related forums, notably UNESCO’s Information For All Programme (IFAP) and the World Summit on the Information Society.

Zwimpfer is programme director for the national Computers in Homes programme, which provides computers and internet connections to disadvantaged families who might otherwise be unable to afford them.

In 2010, he was made a Fellow of InternetNZ.

Congratulated on his MNZM, he says “it’s good for the IT sector to be visible in these awards.”

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