Andrew McMartin |

The extension of a partnership between PowerNet and Hato Hone St John will bring significant benefits to mental health, first aid and community wellbeing in lower South Island.

Since 2014, the two organisations have worked together on initiatives across Southland, Queenstown Lakes and West Otago, while donations from PowerNet have topped $1 million. The organisations are now proud to announce their partnership has been extended to 2026.

To date, the relationship has seen the Hato Hone St John Whātuia te Waiora Weaving Wellbeing programme delivered to more than 2,000 Year 7 and 8 students across 19 Southern schools, empowering young people with mental resilience and coping skills.

As the principal sponsor of the wellbeing programme, PowerNet Chief Executive Jason Franklin says the initiative has proven hugely successful and will now be extended to coastal Otago where OtagoNet, an electricity network under PowerNet management, is based.

“Ensuring the mental wellbeing of people and communities is an important focus for us. We’re thrilled to continue our sponsorship of Hato Hone St John’s work and to continue partnering and supporting their great work for another three years.”

In addition to the mental health programme, nearly 54,000 Southern tamariki have been trained in injury prevention and emergency readiness through the ASB St John in Schools programme.

Since 2020, PowerNet has also been the principal sponsor of the Hato Hone St John Mental Health First Aid course, equipping nearly 500 people with the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond to someone experiencing mental health concerns.

A further 1,500 people have been trained in first aid, 17 AEDs (automated external defibrillator) were gifted to Southern communities, four vehicle charging stations for Hato Hone St John Health Shuttles were donated, and PowerNet supported the Hato Hone St John Invercargill Training Hub which holds up to 15 courses each month.

Debbie Zwies, Hato Hone St John Fundraising Manager for the South Island, says the relationship with PowerNet has had a significant and meaningful impact.

“Hato Hone St John is dedicated to improving the health, wellbeing and resilience of all New Zealand communities. PowerNet shares this vision, and we’re excited to be partnering with them to help build a stronger Aotearoa.”

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