Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation. We provide online safety help, support, expertise and education to people across Aotearoa.
Netsafe was founded in 1998 to help New Zealand internet users stay safe online and has been involved with schools throughout New Zealand ever since.
It was well before smartphones were smart or media had learned to be social.
After noticing the growing influence of technology in their respective areas, New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Education and several not-for-profits teamed up with telecommunication organisations and IT industry partners to create an independent body focused on online safety.
Together they created the Internet Safety Group (rebranded Netsafe in 2008).
Netsafe had the remit to build an internet safety organisation that didn’t scare people away from technology. Instead, it encouraged people to adopt by promoting tools and techniques they could use to minimise their online risks.
In 2000, Netsafe produced its first Kit for Schools or The Internet Safety Kit, as it was known. A lot has changed since the first Kit, both in terms of environment and advice Netsafe provides to New Zealand’s education sector.
Thanks to our positive technology stand, pragmatic approach and innovative campaigns, Netsafe has been at the forefront of the online safety industry. More importantly, it has provided advice and support to several thousand New Zealand internet users and schools and helped resolve many online safety complaints.
Netsafe collaborates with government, law enforcement, industry and community organisations locally and worldwide to achieve the best outcomes for internet users.
Today Netsafe is an internationally renowned independent not-for-profit with an unrelenting focus on online safety practice. Our knowledge across all areas of digital challenge is unique.
In 2016 Netsafe was appointed to receive, assess, and investigate online bullying, harassment and abuse reports under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.
Netsafe’s purpose to enable all internet users in New Zealand to access digital opportunities and prevent online harm confidently is more critical than ever before.
Meet the Team
Paula started her career with the New Zealand Police in the 111 communication centre in Auckland and moved into teaching after becoming a mum. Her teaching career took her from Maungaturoto, Northland to Dubai and Shanghai. In 2018 Paula returned to NZ and made Ōtautahi,Christchurch her home. After three years working for the Ministry of Education she took on...View profile
Shelley Hirst (she/her)
Shelley is a social work practitioner with experience in crisis response, harm prevention, reduction and education. She has enjoyed a diverse range of opportunities working with whānau, rangatahi and adults across the health and disability, mental health, parenting and family violence sectors. Shelley’s passion to improve outcomes for rangatahi motivated her to accept her role as Education Advisor at...View profile