The concept of SeniorNet emerged in 1986 in the USA from a research project at the University of San Francisco. The projects aim was to determine if computers and telecommunications could enhance the lives of older adults. SeniorNet was first established in New Zealand in 1992.
SeniorNet brings older adults and technology together in a friendly, fun and stress-free way. It's for people over the age of 50 who'd like to learn more about technology and what it can do for them. Small, well organised classes, with volunteer tutors, about the same age as their students, run courses not only an introduction to computers and surfing the Net but also a vast range of subjects.
Tutor training sessions are run by Learning Centres and are also conducted at Regional Meetings.
There are Learning Centres established throughout New Zealand. Each is run by a management team who organize all aspects of their Centre. A Federation of SeniorNet Societies was established in 2006 to support the learning activities of Centres with resources and funding.
Grant Sidaway helped to start the first Learning Centre in New Zealand and is now employed by the Federation as its Executive Officer to manage the organisation at a National level. The national office is in Wellington.