MYRIVR reaches international audience

posted: 11:45 am - 28th June 2018
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(Picture caption: An MoU was signed between MYRIVR and Samoa Airways recently.) 

A milestone was reached when a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between MYRIVR and Samoa Airways at Fale o Samoa in Auckland.

MYRIVR is a free app, a self-funded and volunteer managed concept from the community, developed and released in 2015 by Corefusion Limited as MASA (Multi-Agency Services Application) to assist in a successful trial with Counties Manukau Police.

The app is now New Zealand’s largest in-app directory of community services, enabling visibility and instant access to more than 20,000 helpers and over 7,000 health and social services around the country. 

It is also currently No. 77 trending business apps for App Store and No. 2 on Google play.

Chief Executive Officer for MYRIVR Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson says for all those migrating to Aotearoa, the app is the best resource for them to use before they arrive in New Zealand.

“We reached an agreement with Samoa Airways to promote MYRIVR in international airports,” Rei says.

“Our partnership with Samoa Airways is also a challenge to other airlines to get on board so we can ensure a seamless transition of visitors to our country.”

Rei also adds that In-flight, an American Foundation has recently just agreed to fund MYRIVR to fix many of the issues in our own backyard.

“The team has also been invited as speakers in Chicago and San Diego.”

As an ex-cop and gang member, Rei has spent time at the coalface, witnessing the struggles and challenges many people in the Pacific community face in New Zealand.  

After 12 years serving with the NZ Police, Rei resigned from his role as Senior Sergeant in Charge of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolios for Counties Manukau in March, 2017. 

He has made it his mission to continue confronting issues, and trying to improve Pacific wellbeing in NZ – but this time, using technology. 

“When my parents arrived in New Zealand from Samoa, they couldn't speak English, they didn't know what an IRD number was, they didn't know about financial literacy, or have their driver’s licenses,” Rei explains. 

While there were many services in the community to help them to learn about these things, they did not know where to go for information, outside of the family. 

“My parents like many other Pacific migrants to Aotearoa - the land of milk and honey - struggled while their kids watched helplessly.”  

If left unaddressed, small things can escalate, people become desperate and this can result in tragedy, such as suicide, mental health issues, and domestic violence, Rei adds. 

During his years of service in the Police, Rei says he never saw any evidence of suicide and homicide victims reaching out for Police strategies or policies before they died. 

“But I saw plenty of evidence before they died that they had a cell phone and had tried to reach out for help whether it was via a text, phone call, email or social media. 

“I also saw too many people getting help after they committed a crime or were admitted to hospital after attempting suicide rather than asking for help before the incident.” 

Strategies and policies are great but technology through practical tools like MYRIVR app enables these ideas to become visible, Rei continues. 

Rei designed the MYRIVR concept with youth gang members, victims, offenders and frontline health and social workers, eventually joining forces with Corefusion Limited Directors Elia Chan and Robert Perelini, who threw everything into its development, and the app was made free to the community. 

Last year, Massey University’s Knowledge Exchange Hub has selected it as part of their data collection tool for a five year research project which builds algorithms that help predict offending.

“This is huge in terms of being able to prevent people reaching that crisis point,” Rei says. 

Last week’s MoU signing was extremely emotional, as many sacrifices have been made to help make MYRIVR a reality – such as the selling of Elia and Robert’s homes and me leaving the Police force, Rei says.

To download the app, visit MYRIVR.