Social app sav­ing lives


A for­mer Auck­land po­lice of­fi­cer has de­vel­oped a life-sav­ing social ser­vices app.

Af­ter 12 years in the po­lice force Ak­erei Mare­sala-Thom­son re­signed in March to work as the gen­eral man­ager of The Vil­lage Col­lec­tive.

He’s also been work­ing part time with a team of de­vel­op­ers to re­lease the MYRIVR app, which gives users ac­cess to more than 6800 providers from emer­gency helplines, education needs, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, youth ser­vices, Maori and eth­nic ser­vices and more.

Mare­sala-Thom­son said the app had al­ready con­nected seven peo­ple with social ser­vice providers, which stopped them from com­mit­ting sui­cide.

Di­rec­tor, Matt Jull said the app was a tool to help all New Zealan­ders whether they were in a cri­sis, look­ing for a job or had just moved into a com­mu­nity.

‘‘I would like to see it on every phone on New Zealand, it’s not just for peo­ple in cri­sis but for peo­ple at any given time who will need to ac­cess some ser­vice,’’ he said.

Re­fer­rals are pushed out to the near­est social ser­vice providers which meet the user’s needs.

Mare­sala-Thom­son said the app made the process of ac­cess­ing help sim­ple.

The app has been down­loaded 300 times, is listed in the top 50 busi­ness apps and is gain­ing over­seas in­ter­est, Mare­sala-Thom­son said.

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