Newsletter April 2020

From the Chair

Gosh, I don’t recall a Global Pandemic and nationwide Lockdown being included in the SeniorNet ChairPerson’s Job Description! What a month it’s been so far – thankfully New Zealand, unlike many other countries appears to have taken decisive action early enough to make a difference. Please stay safe, stay at home and we can save lives.

SeniorNet Kapiti Inc, thanks to the ongoing support of our members, is in a strong position to ride out the current crisis. We have cash reserves which have been put aside over the years for a rainy day and this feels very much like that rainy day. As a result, we are able to continue paying our rent, rates, power and phone/broadband bills throughout the Lockdown period. This is thanks to our members past and present – we are very very grateful for the foresight of our predecessors.

Since I last wrote in this Newsletter, we’ve had to close the Learning Centre down, go  into Lockdown, take stock of the situation and with the help of a number of our amazing Tutor’s we’ve already started running (online) Workshops for our members. Two month’s ago I hadn’t even heard of Zoom, yet as I write this I can count 14 Zoom Meetings or Workshops that I’ve been involved in over the past 3 weeks!

Zoom is an extremely powerful tool allowing groups of people to see and hear each other in real time, and here at SeniorNet Kapiti we’re using it to full advantage for our members. There are two arms to our Zoom strategy – helping our members to learn to use Zoom and stay in touch with friends & family, and then offering up the opportunity to keep learning during Lockdown. So far we’ve done the following to share what we’ve learned and keep our organisation operational during the Lockdown.

  • 3 x Zoom Learning Sessions – PC/Apple/Android – Total of 50 participants
  • 3 x Zoom Workshop discussion/planning sessions for Tutors which were used to decide what and when we would run future Workshops (see below)
  • Last Thursday’s Monthly Committee Meeting was held over 2.5hrs on Zoom and we covered as much online as we would normally do in a room together – and just as effectively!
  • Part 1 of our normal Understanding OneDrive Workshop was held last Thursday afternoon with 11 participants. Part 2 is being held this coming Tuesday.
  • Peter Jones and I have been involved in 3 x Zoom discussions with Heather Newell (Federation CEO) and other people from SeniorNets around New Zealand, discussing how we can all maximise the use of Zoom to our members’ advantage
  • Our LockDown Helpdesk has been established and to date has handled around 25 calls from members looking for assistance with all manner of technical questions.

I’m extremely proud of our Committee and Tutors who have all stepped up in this time of crisis to keep SeniorNet Kapiti running and to keep helping our members with their technical problems. There is no doubt in my mind that technology is makng a huge difference for everyone in Lockdown. I’m particularly excited about the fact that we can keep running Workshops for you, our members, while we’re excluded from The Learning Centre. I encourage you to enrol for these Workshops (details below), learn how to use Zoom and keep learning with us.

Peter Bunkall
Chair, SeniorNet Kapiti Inc.

Using Zoom Webpage

We’ve created a Using Zoom webpage with useful tutorials and instructions for installing Zoom, as well as joining meetings.

There’s also a button on the right-hand side of our Home Page which takes you to the Zoom page. Another link can be found in the Menu under Technical Advice.

A word of warning – Zoom is changing almost daily right now as they tighten up security and privacy. Our instructions may not be as accurate as you’re used to but if you read the screens as you proceed, you should have no problem installing and using Zoom.

If you run into problems, please contact our Lockdown Helpdesk on (04) 299 0754 and leave your details and a short message. One of our Tutors will get back to you as soon as they can to assist.

Zoom Security and Privacy

There’s been a lot of media noise in recent weeks about Zoom’s apparent lack of security and privacy. While most of the highlighted issues existed 2 weeks ago, Zoom Inc have been working furiously to close all known loopholes in their software. They have even ceased product development and all their programmers are working on bug/security fixes!

Here at SeniorNet, we are well briefed on these issues and we’ve taken a number of steps to protect our members while using Zoom Meetings.

  • Meeting Ids are shared seperately to registered attendees only, and never published on our website
  • All Meetings require a password to gain access. For limited attendance Workshops, the Meeting Id and password will be shared with you by the Lead Tutor a couple of days before the session is scheduled. Please do not share this information with anyone else
  • We have purchased a Premium License for our Tutor Account and all Workshops will be run using that account. A Premium Account has far more power over the Meeting including the ability to vet people joining as well as to expel any intruder!
  • Members are strongly encouraged to properly register with Zoom and not to use the “Join with Facebook/Google” option. This prevents your personal information being shared with those organisations
  • Members are encouraged to use the official Zoom App to gain maximum capability from Zoom while in the meeting. Using the url/Browser connection method only gives you limited options
  • All attendees will be encouraged to update their onscreen names in Meetings to use their full name. This allows the Lead Tutor (Host) to ensure that only SeniorNet Members are in attendance.
  • When prompted, members should update their Zoom software – this is happening every couple of days right now!

COVID-19 Webpage

We’ve created a special COVID-19 webpage for our members to reference. We’ve chosen to keep it simple and just provide a series of references to official information from WHO, NZ Government and the Ministry of Health. There’s a button on the right-hand side of our Home Page which also takes you to the page.

Online Workshops During Lockdown

As Peter mentioned above, we’re running a series of online Workshops during Lockdown. We’ll be adding new topics as we proceed so please check our regular emails.

During Lockdown there is no charge for members to attend these Workshops

The following Workshops are already planned and more are coming…

  • iPad & iPhone Monthly Workshop – Monday 13 April 1:30pm
  • Understanding OneDrive (Part 2) – Tuesday 14 April 2:00pm
  • Zoom Learning Session for Android – Wednesday 15 April 10:00am
  • Smartphone and Tablet Monthly Workshop – Thursday 15 April 10:00am
  • Tutors’ Monthly Workshop – Thursday 16 April 10:00am
  • Introduction to Internet Banking – Monday 20 April 10:00am
  • Scams Workshop – Wednesday 22 April 10:00am 
  • iPad & iPhone (Fortnightly) Workshop – Monday 27 April 1:30pm
  • iPad Pages Workshop – Monday 4 May 1:30pm
  • Monthly Q&A Workshop – Thursday 7 May 10:00am

Workshops shown in blue above have limited numbers so you must enrol with Elaine on 021 169 6256.

If you would like us to run a Workshop on a different topic, repeat one of the ones above or repeat one we’ve run in the past, please speak to Elaine.

NB Term 2 Courses are all cancelled and we won’t be running any of our normal Courses during Lockdown – they just don’t lend themselves to the online environment. Rest assured though, we are already thinking about Term 3 back at The Learning Centre. 

Lockdown Helpdesk

We are operating a Lockdown Helpdesk for our members. If you have any technical problems, please call 04 299 0754, leave your details (incl phone number) and a description of the problem. We will then assign one of our Tutors to call you back.

If you don’t hear back from us within 48hrs, please call again and leave another message.

You can of course also email us at and leave the same information.

Membership Renewal

We are thrilled that, despite the current situation, members continue to renew their annual membership – thank you.

If you haven’t renewed yet, it’s still $25 ($45 for a couple) for the 2020-2021 year until the end of April.

While you can’t drop into The Learning Centre to pay right now, we encourage you to use Internet Banking to continue your involvement with SeniorNet Kapiti Inc.

Thank you for your ongoing support – it’s very important to us and very much appreciated.

Access to The Learning Centre

KCDC, our landlord, has written to us advising that we’re not permitted to enter The Learning Centre (or any other council-owned premises on Reserve land). As a result, the Committee and Tutors are all “working from home”. If you need to contact us, please leave your details and a message on the office answerphone (04) 299 0754 or send an email to

A big shout out to Veronica Kemp, our Office Manager who is juggling all the messages and emails remotely from her home, as well as assigning Tutors to the Lockdown Helpdesk calls.

Our Sponsors

Please don’t forget our sponsors – they’re important to SeniorNet and help us in many ways, including offering discounts to our members. They will all appreciate your support after the Lockdown is over. Always show your membership card and ask if there’s a discount – you might be rather surprised! One example is that the Noel Leeming discount extends well beyond computers to everything in their store!