Volunteers grow people, open minds, open hearts and create joy. Mary-Ellen shares her volunteering story (which includes a burping kiwi!) and reflects on the benefits of volunteering. 

Ever heard a kiwi burp?

Not many of us have had the chance to see a real kiwi up close, but even fewer would’ve heard a kiwi actually burp!

A good old fashioned belch was how 8 year old kiwi Lala marked the end of a monthly health check at Christchurch’s Willowbank Park.

Volunteer Mary-Ellen Wilson was surprised when she heard the burp. She’s been volunteering with the Conservation Trust at Willowbank for about 10 years.

From picking up kiwi poo, cleaning water bowls to weighing Lala’s food to check how much she’s eaten, Mary-Ellen couldn’t imagine life without volunteering.

The benefits of volunteering

“It goes two ways. You get a lot back from it. What you give you really get back! You know you’re doing well because the numbers of kiwis are coming back”.

“You meet people, you help people, you get so much back from it!”.

Mary-Ellen also works at Volunteering Canterbury and she says many people don’t realise the large number of volunteering roles that are available.

In the meantime, her Tuesdays are taken up looking after Lala, grinding up meat for the 8 year kiwi, who clearly appreciates it.

>> Watch Mary-Ellen’s volunteering story

Mary-Ellen’s story is part of Volunteering New Zealand’s video series, launched to celebrate National Volunteer Week (21-27 June). This year’s theme is ‘Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi I The benefit of working together’. This series showcases a diverse range of personal stories of mahi aroha, volunteering and social action.

 Volunteers grow people, open minds, open hearts and create joy. We hope this video inspires you to connect to a community or cause you care about.