Week-long celebration of volunteering

Nearly one million Kiwis volunteer each year






Adefinition of volunteering is work done of one’s own free will, unpaid, for the common good. National Volunteer Week is a week-long celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is Time to Shine — He wa¯ p¯ıataata. Nearly one million Kiwis give mahi aroha (volunteer) for a charity or cause each year. ■ Choose to volunteer, connect, and create change in your community Volunteering is any activity that involves putting your unpaid time, energy, and skills to work for the greater good. New Zealand is a leading nation in the contribution made by volunteers. Statistics New Zealand’s latest quarterly Labour Market Statistics highlights New Zealanders contribute a total of around 159 million hours of formal volunteer labour each year. The value of formal volunteering is estimated at $4 billion per annum. Through volunteering, mahi aroha and social action, individuals can create positive change on many fronts — human rights, faith communities, health, education, sports and recreation, social services, arts and culture, emergency services, the environment and conservation, animal welfare, and community support development — the list is endless. 2022 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards The 2022 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards have now closed. These recognise and celebrate individuals and teams of volunteers who freely share their time, energy, and compassion to help improve the health and wellbeing of others. Since they began in 2013, the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards have recognised 73 teams of volunteers and 116 individuals across our hospitals and communities. In total that’s several thousand people demonstrating how individual commitment and dedication makes a positive difference to the lives of others. This year a new award category has been added to our existing categories — Covid Health Volunteer — to recognise the great work by volunteers responding to the specific challenges of looking after people and helping to keep them safe during the pandemic. The Long Service category has also been extended to team nominations so we can recognise the collective contribution made over many, many years by some of our health volunteers. Winners will be notified during National Volunteer Week. Why do people volunteer? Giving back to your community is such a worthwhile exercise, to see that the time you donate can make a difference to a lot of people. Organisations are always looking for volunteers so if you are at high school and decide to do some volunteering, you can add this to your CV. Volunteering is great for people living on their own, those who have spare times on their hands, and you may be lucky enough to find yourself volunteering for an organisation that you have always had an interest in. Speaking from a personal view One volunteer does not have a lot of spare time, but with family living abroad and out of town, she finds that she sometimes ends up alone at Christmas time. This is an ideal time to help with your Community Christmas lunch. It is only a few hours out of your day. Last year due to Covid there was no large gathering, instead she buddied up and delivered food and gifts for the children, to families who did not have the means for a Christmas celebration. Seeing the joy on the faces, especially the children, made it all worthwhile and made you realise what Christmas is all about. She can thoroughly recommend it! How can I start volunteering? Decide which organisation you would like to donate your time to and give them a call . . . it is as simple as that. Y ou will get far more back than you will ever imagine. And finally, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to thank all our volunteers who give so generously of their time to assist for the greater good. We thank you.