Volunteering Stories

Volunteering Stories. The power and potential of volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action shines through at times when our communities are stretched and challenged. To help inspire and celebrate the volunteer effort during the COVID-19 response, Volunteering New Zealand is sharing stories from around Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Share your volunteering story! Please contact the VNZ team at office@volunteeringnz.org.nz with a story to share! We’re looking for stories about community kindness, virtual volunteering or volunteering for an essential service. You could share a link to a published story, blog, quote or simply share a few setences as a summary.

Behind the scenes of welfare volunteering

Volunteer Central, May 2020.

The Manawatu-Whanganui Civil Defence Group sought support to provide essential supplies in Palmerston North, and the Salvation Army (SA) answered the call in conjunction with other local organisations and donors. They have created a “well-oiled machine” to guarantee families in our community have food, blankets, and clothes through difficult times.

Behind the scenes at Volunteering Central

The Wanaka App, April 2020.

The busy team at Volunteering Central has hit the ground running with its response during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since alert level four began Volunteering Central has been helping with everything from providing emotional support to isolated or anxious older residents; helping people with pharmacy pick ups and grocery shopping to those in need; and assisting council welfare teams; all the while dealing with a huge influx of new people offering to volunteer.

Lending a hand in lockdown

RNZ, April 2020.

Each year, the New Zealand Red Cross helps settle hundreds of former refugees in new homes across the country. During this lockdown the Red Cross is actively supporting 358 families – about 1300 people all together through their long-running volunteer programme.  

Coronavirus: Championing peoples’ work and housing rights during lockdown

Stuff, April 2020.

David Cameron is one of 2600 Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) volunteers helping people understand their legal rights during the lockdown. Stuff  is celebrating the coronavirus champions – including essential services workers and volunteers like Cameron – who are keeping New Zealand going through the lockdown.

Volunteer Kāpiti and Red Cross – Meals on Wheels success story!

Volunteer Kāpiti, April 2020.

Story: At the beginning of lockdown, it was clear to the Red Cross that many of their existing Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers were not going to be able to continue with their role due to being over 65 years old or existing medical conditions making them vulnerable to COVID-19. As an essential service, Red Cross Kāpiti branch asked Volunteer Kāpiti to advertise for new Drivers for the lockdown period so that their clients could continue to receive their daily meals. The response from the Kāpiti community was overwhelming and within 48 hours Volunteer Kāpiti had recruited and screened enough suitable volunteers for the service to continue in the Kāpiti area until it is safe for the existing volunteers to resume their positions. A fantastic example of a Volunteer Cetntre supporting their community through the COVID-19 response! Learn more about Volunteer Kāpiti.

Volunteers keen to help others

Otago Daily Times, April 2020.

Volunteering Central is concerned there may be people in need of help or support who are for whatever reason not asking during lockdown. Volunteering Central senior co-ordinator Gillian White’s main focus had switched to liaising with councils and their emergency response teams to co-ordinate “spontaneous” volunteers.

Hundreds volunteer to help others

Otago Daily Times, April 2020.

Otago communities have once again shown their willingness to step up during times of need. Volunteering Otago was thankful for the “strong” response it received when the nation moved into lockdown.

Coronavirus: Student volunteering, years after university ended

Stuff, April 2020.

This is the second time Courtenay Chenery has helped out as a member of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA). She continued to receive SVA’s emails long after she graduated – so when an appeal was launched for people to provide childcare for the children of essential workers during the lockdown, she knew she had to get back involved.

St John extends phone friendship service during Covid-19 lockdown

1 News, April 2020.

St John ambulance is encouraging people to use its free phone friendship service to stay connected during the lockdown. Volunteers of the Caring Caller programme phone people regularly for a chat.

Matamata’s guardian angels

NZ Herald, April 2020.

Couple going to great lengths to help supply elderly in one of NZ’s worst COVID-19 clusters.

Coronavirus: South Island communities rally for those in need during lockdown

RNZ, March 2020.

From the desperate circumstances people have found themselves in due to the nationwide lockdown, heart-warming stories have emerged. The Queenstown community had rallied around the vulnerable to support them during the four-week lockdown.

The Good Neighbour who’s keeping an eye on everyone at 74

Stuff, March 2020.

In a time of crisis and isolation, good neighbours are what we need most. Jane Matthews brings you their stories. Charles Le Breton is the watchdog of his New Plymouth street and when the coronavirus lockdown was announced, he started reaching out more than usual – in more ways than one.

Together, Apart

Stuff, March 2020.

As the nation shuts down in its effort to squash Covid-19, some Kiwis are sticking together through compassion and kindness. In these vignettes of life under lockdown, Stuff reporters found communities coming together, strangers becoming friends, and hope for the future.