Keep up to date with what's happening at Switched On Group as we continue to enhance environments for whānau, businesses and communities across Aotearoa.

Here, we'll share stories about our kaimahi, projects, community kaupapa and successes in the industry. 

Making a difference in our hapori

22 January 2024

Switched On’s partnership with Beard Brothers is making a difference for tamariki, rangatahi and whānau across Region 07 and beyond – all made possible by a neighbourhood friendship, spurred on by disaster.


Richard Jenssen, Switched On Housing’s North Island Trade Representative first met Rob Beard from Beard Brothers when he moved in next door. They both share a passion for fishing and were in similar circumstances, so easily formed a friendship. 


After Cyclone Gabrielle, the pair were having a kōrero about the devastation it had caused and what they could do to help those affected in their hapori (community). A plan was hatched; they would take the Switched On BBQ trailer out to heavily affected areas and cook sausages provided by Beard Brothers to help fuel the people involved in the clean up. 


Handing out kai to volunteers3


Once the road opened, the team loaded up the trailer and moved from area to area, setting up the BBQ as a base and loading up Rob’s ute with kai and cold water to deliver to the masses. They worked closely with local Iwi, marae and community organisations to ensure that they got to those who needed it the most. 


 Switched On BBQ in heavily affected area3


“It was so great to be involved with this. To see someone smile and be so grateful for a sausage in bread and a cold drink after they had lost everything was truly humbling.”  said Richard. 


In the weeks after the cyclone there were roughly 15,000 sausages cooked and supplied to the Hawke’s Bay - Te Matau-a-māui community. 


This connection was just the beginning of a partnership between Switched On Housing and Beard Brothers who have continued to support local schools, mental health organisations and hauora initiatives with lots of other fundraising events together since. 


We’re looking forward to doing more incredible mahi with the awesome team at Beard Brothers in 2024!


Beard Brothers team handing out kai4