My participation includes as the founder/manager of Keep Northern Wellington Beautiful and Keep Porirua Beautiful, Volunteer Honorary Fisheries Officer MPI, Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Team Member, and more.
I have committed thousands of hours to voluntary roles and causes throughout my life. My community involvement spans 25 years and seven countries. I am currently contributing my time to a total of ten volunteer roles.
My various roles include
- Life-Long conservationist with over 20 years’ service to the environment
- Predator Free Grenada Village Founder with over 1,000 predators caught with 383 active volunteers
- Justice of the Peace (JP) ambassador in October 2019
- The Royal Navy as a volunteer English tutor for 7 years.
- New Zealand Red Cross member of the Disaster Response Team and Urban Search and Rescue for over 6 years
- Neighbourhood Support Coordinator in Grenada Village since 2016
And a lot more roles.
In late 2020 Gary received the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Tidy Kiwi Award
The Tidy Kiwi Award recognises an individual who has distinguished himself as truly extraordinary and serves as an inspiration to us all. The award honours outstanding leadership in litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, and beautification activities. Presented by Pio Terei.
What is your touching moment?
I have two defining moments;
The first was with the Red Cross Disaster Welfare and Support team setting up a local welfare centre during the Nelson and Tasman District fires of 2019. It included checking on residents door-to-door; it was a great feeling to be helpful and provide support and help to the local community that had been affected by the fire.
The other moment for me was on an Honorary Fisheries Officer patrol 2019, which was a joint helicopter patrol between MPI and the New Zealand Navy. We spent the day onboard a Navy Sea Sprite, flying between Blenheim air force base and Kāpiti airport, monitoring and photographing commercial fishing vessels, and checking their compliance.
What would you consider as the biggest benefit of volunteering?
I’m really lucky that I work with a great team of people, who I’ve learnt a lot from.
I’m very much a people person and I like being around and meeting all different types of people.
What does volunteering mean to you?
For me, volunteering means working side-by-side with others. This connects me to other human beings as you are working toward a common goal. When you volunteer, you are making connections. Volunteering also makes me feel connected with my community. I feel connected with the problem as well as the solution. You are connected to a process – a process in which you believe. Through your actions and involvement, you are benefiting others as well as yourself.
Is there any additional thought you would like to share with us?
Volunteers are busy people. They often have jobs, families and obligations to tend to. You are volunteering on your own time, but be sure to not overextend yourself to the extent that you will let someone down or not fulfil expectations. Do something that matters. You are choosing to use the time to work on something. Be sure to give it your best shot!
Find a Passion
Is there a cause that excites you? Is there something happening in your local community or overseas that breaks your heart? Find something that evokes an emotional response within you. Identify your goals and interests. What excites you? What pulls at your heartstrings? Awaken your passions and your heart by volunteering for something that is meaningful to you.