• Connect Cromwell

Cromwell reBoot

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

This is a great project, started by Ben Deegan, Jacalyn Tapp and Louise Haig and is ongoing. At last count they had received 12 laptops and processed and donated five to students.

Retired laptops gathering dust around Central Otago can now be given a ‘reBoot’ and new lease of life, to be donated to local schools.

Students use laptops increasingly from Year 3 upwards and they are mandatory from Year 7.

Goldfields Primary School assistant principal Jacalyn Tapp(above left) says the required laptops retailed at around $350 to $400. She and Year five and six team leader from Cromwell Primary School, Louise Haig, agreed it was a significant cost for parents wanting children to have their own. Both schools made purchasing optional and provided laptops as best they could for use at school.

The pair are very pleased to be able to donate up-cycled laptops to families and to increase the supply of those available for the schools to lend in class-time.

Cromwell reBoot was launched in late 2019 with local computer expert Ben Deegan(above centre) volunteering to collect laptops, remove the existing operating system and install a school-compatible system similar to those currently in use in classrooms. The software was freely available due to its open-source development model, he said.

“We can take any type of functioning laptop produced from 2010 onwards and install the necessary software. They just need to be able to hold about two hours battery power and have power cords.”

Ben said people wanting to donate their old laptops could drop them into Paperplus Cromwell anytime.

Things to know: You need to fill a quick form as you hand-over, your laptop MUST be in working order and lastly you will get a free reBoot sticker to show what a good guy or gal you are!

The scheme is being facilitated by Connect Cromwell and also aims to prevent laptops going to landfill. Any proving unusable would be taken to an e-waste recycling depot. Anyone with questions about Cromwell reBoot can contact Connect Cromwell @

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