New mobile and desktop versions of the free online platform Support Crew have just gone live and the Datacom graduates and mentors who worked on the project over the last 18 months are excited to see the platform come to life and connect people with help from friends, family and community when they need it most.

Support Crew helps people coordinate support for family and friends in need when they are going through a tough time – be it through illness or major life events like a new baby or bereavement – and is basically an online help roster for anything from meals, transport to medical appointments, cleaning, child-minding and other support. It also features a ‘Give Store’, handy prompts to take the psychological load off planning and blogs with advice on how to help.

“It’s that old story of ending up with a freezer full of lasagne, a cupboard full of baking and a house full of flowers and then it stops,” says Support Crew GM Kelly Banks. “That’s where Support Crew comes in – to align the help that’s really needed, exactly when and where it’s needed.”

As part of its commitment to supporting new talent in the tech sector, Datacom takes on interns and graduates in its offices around the country and looks to involve some of those graduates in a charitable project: Support Crew was the project chosen last year.

Baxter Kirikiri, who joined Datacom as part of their Wellington graduate intake after completing a computer science degree at Victoria University, worked on the project from day one. His first role on the Support Crew project was generating initial requirements, managing the day-to-day function of the project, and communicating with the customer as the project manager for the team.

“The use case for Support Crew resonated quite strongly with several of us who have worked on the project. I’ve personally had an experience supporting a family friend as they dealt with the effects of cancer and, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be an uncommon story.

“It’s pretty special to be given this opportunity to use our technical skill and abilities to improve the process for other people moving forward. I’m super proud to have been involved in the project, and I know the rest of the team are as well.”

Photograph of Baxter Kirikiri smiling directly at the camera wearing a graduate gown.
I’m super proud to have been involved in the project, and I know the rest of the team are as well,” says Associate Developer at Datacom, Baxter Kirikiri.

Baxter is now an Associate Developer in Datacom’s App Application Management team, so his contribution this year was mentoring the new grads from Datacom’s Talent Elevator programme and helping them continue the work on Support Crew.

“The aspect of this project I’ve most enjoyed was watching this year’s career starters bring the product to life. From a proof of concept to polished product. I couldn’t have imagined that the current state of the project would look so good when I started writing the requirements for it early last year.”

Yanina Amatore was part of the second graduate group, joining Datacom in early 2023 after completing the Talent Elevator programme and transitioning into web development after completing a web development bootcamp at Dev Academy Aotearoa.

“Our team's small size meant that many of us had also to take on multiple responsibilities, including code reviews, testing, and quality assurance. As a Datacom graduate developer, I found this experience profoundly enriching, as it provided me with valuable insights into how different roles collaborate and deepened my appreciation for their contributions,” says Yanina.

Photograph of Yanina Amatore wearing a cream jumper smiling into the camera.
Graduate Developer at Datacom, Yanina Amatore, says working on Support Crew was 'profoundly enriching.'

“Being involved in a project aimed at creating an app to enhance people's journeys during challenging times has been exceptionally rewarding. It feels like we're harnessing technology for the greater good, and our collective efforts are making a meaningful impact on people's lives.”

"The Support Crew platform is such a smart way to make it easy to support people when they need it most,” says Farnoosh Farahi, Associate Director Engagement and Wellbeing. “Making a difference in people's lives is the purpose we have set ourselves at Datacom so this project was a perfect way to do that and to give our graduates the opportunity to work on a practical project that is creating real impact."

The team behind Support Crew has certainly appreciated the help Datacom has given.

“They have been a phenomenal partner to work with,” says Kelly. “The graduates have been working on improving our mobile experience. Support Crew started life in 2017 primarily as a desktop platform and was hard to understand and navigate on mobile phones. Datacom has partnered to do the mahi with us and has been instrumental in helping us to evolve the platform to make it easier to use across any device.”

Kelly says it is hard to put an exact value on the support Datacom has given them as the group of graduates often went ‘above and beyond’ in their own time, in addition to allotted work hours on the project.

“These graduates have other BAU work but love this purpose piece and we are so grateful for their efforts and passion. This project makes such a massive difference to helping make our communities across New Zealand feel more supported and be more resilient and it’s been a privilege to do this alongside Datacom.”

“Datacom’s unwavering commitment and generous investment in this project and in [their] amazing graduates, has played a vital role in the successful launch of Support Crew revamped. For that we will forever be grateful.”

Check out the newly revamped Support Crew platform at:

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