Boomerang Bags in Pahia

Boomerang Bags in Paihia, watch out, they return in two weeks!

As newbie volunteers my niece Connie and I were a little apprehensive. Why? Because with our sewing paraphernalia tucked under our arms we were on our way to the 35 Degrees South restaurant on the sunny Paihia waterfront. This was the venue for making Boomerang Bags, a charity set up in Australia and now over here, which involves making shopping bags from recycled material to replace plastic carriers. It sounded great but, really, what had we let ourselves in for? We'd have to speak to people we didn't know, would our novice needlework skills be given scant regard? Brave faces on, we giggled that we were off to save the planet (a side effect of volunteering!!) with a pillowcase, scissors, pins and a sewing machine.

Sarah Greener, the organiser, greeted us and filled us in on the tasks. Although it was only just past 9.00 am there were already lots of busy people cutting out fabrics, pinning, sewing, ironing and screen printing. I was actually amazed. Connie and I set ourselves up on the cutting out table. Boxes galore of gorgeous fabrics had been donated by a local curtain making company, a huge array of t shirts, vests, pillow cases and other recycled fabrics had all been generously given by local people and charity shops. We enjoyed choosing material for bags we thought we would like, then sensibly realised it wasn't about us, it was about making as many as possible. Sarah told us that the Paihia FourSquare used at least 300 plastic bags a day. Boomerang Bags had a mission. Get people to use a fabric bag to take home their shopping, then return it to the shop on their next trip in so others could use it.  

We were too busy to be nervous now, we were part of a team generating a real buzz. Sarah, and her family, had kindly provided coffee and muffins (yumski btw), and I joked that we were working in the most beautiful sweat shop in the world. Seriously, have you seen the view from 35 Degrees South? Sun was pouring in through the windows. The bay was at its best.  If a unicorn had flown overhead it couldn't have been any better! 

Many of the volunteers had responded to facebook posts, others word of mouth and local shop window posters. I think there were also a couple of ladies who just walked in to see what was going on! Out on the deck they would have seen a hive of activity. Boomerang Bags logo was being screen printed onto pockets which were to be stitched onto the front of each bag. The team included some hard working children, some of whom were wielding hair dryers. Their job was to heat dry the logos before passing on the pockets to the ironing team (and obviously to stave off any unwelcome intruders with their hairdryer weapons!) 

About 12.00 people began to drift off as the restaurant was filling up.  It had been a very productive morning, many bags made and many volunteers took some home to finish them. Thanks to 35 Degrees South's incredible venue and Sarah's excellent organisational skills Connie and I had a brilliant introduction to volunteering and although the planet isn't quite saved yet Boomerang Bags is certainly raising awareness and doing something about it. I'll be back next time, hope to see you there too. 

- Diana Smith 

04-09-2017
Waiting list for rider’s due to lack of volunteers

Situated in Barge Park in Maunu, Whangarei's Riding for The Disabled is a, not-for-profit organisation which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, stimulating, therapeutic horse riding and horse-related activities, including Recreational Riding, Therapeutic Riding, 'Equine-assisted' or 'Equine-facilitated' Psychotherapy and Hippotherapy (which literally means treatment with the horse. Operating since the 1970's, and in its current location since 1994, RDA is a wonderful place to spend a couple (or more) hours.

It's a lively place, with 2 covered arenas, stable complex, a classroom with spacious covered deck with kitchen and amenities. They also have a thriving plant shop.

 

RDA operates Monday through to Thursday 8.30am – 3pm, the facility caters for up to 90 riders a week, Rachel Ball, Manager of RDA says, “Volunteers are the life line of our organisation, but we are now at a critically low point, as there is a rider waiting list”. Rachel also stresses that you don't have to be “horsey” to help. “There are heaps of ways that people can help us, and we can teach you all you need to know”.

 

Whangarei RDA have 7 horses at present, the focus is in the stables getting the horses geared up and ready for their riders in the morning along with helping in the arena to lead a horse, or to sidewalk with our riders, and at the end of the day, gear, and horses to put away along with housekeeping. Experience again is not necessary as full training will be given.

 

Rachel points out that fitness levels are no barrier to volunteering, as while you can certainly get a workout leading the horses and mucking out during the day, they also need helpers as greeters, morning tea makers, gardeners, cleaners, and general maintenance. Whatever your ability, RDA has something to suit everyone. They offer a great atmosphere with lots of fun and laughter, where we see you as a valued member of our team, it's very enjoyable and rewarding.

Anyone at least 15 years of age interested in RDA should contact us to learn more. Click HERE for more info or Whangarei Riding for the Disabled 09 438 7521 or visit their Facebook page: Whangarei Riding For The Disabled

- Trish Clarke

29-08-2017
Event Volunteers / Street Collectors Needed

Volunteering Northland have a number of One-off Events and Street Appeals that really need volunteers. Can you help?


 
















Quiz Night Coordinator for Achieve 2B. Whangarei. (This Position is now filled, THANK YOU!)
(event is November but you can start now!)
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1779
 

Special Olympics Far North Basketball event. Kaitaia. 
Thursday 7th September
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1747

 

Special Olympics Football event. Whangarei.
Thursday 21 September
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1778


Special Olympics Athletics Event Whangarei. 
Monday 30 October
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1786


Pink Ribbon Street Appeal Area Coordinators. All towns across Northland. 
13/14 October
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities  
(type "pink" in the search box)

 

Pink Ribbon Collectors. All towns across Northland. 
13/14 October - 2 hour or more shifts. 
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1775

 

Habitat for Humanity are seeking volunteers for the Global Build in Colombia - Across Northland 
(Nov 2017) - note, this does require you to pay for flights etc. 
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1748
 

Habitat for Humanity are Seeking a Bar Manager and Waitstaff for fundraiser. Whangarei.
Monday 30th October
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1784
https://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1785

 

Log on to refer yourself, or flick us an email info@volunteeringnorthland.nz

16-08-2017
Subsidised Professional Development Workshops

We are proud that we are able to organise eight subsidised professional development workshops for the non-profit sector in Northland. Foundation North has made a major contribution towards the cost making sure the training is accessible for many. The training is available for paid and volunteer staff.

We will be using the first-come-first serve principal and aim to distribute the available seats "fairly" over as many organisations as possible. The First Aid Courses are now completed, email us to go on a waiting list as we will continue to apply for funding to run these.
 

  • 20 September,  "Communication" workshop by Barbara Jaques in Whangarei ($45 + GST, includes lunch)

  • 27 October,  "Communication" workshop by Barbara Jaques in Kaitaia ($45 + GST includes lunch)

  • 2 November, "Volunteer Management" seminar by Rob Jackson in Whangarei ($0, $30 or $75 + GST, includes lunch)

  • 7 December,  "Communication" workshop by Barbara Jaques in Whangarei ($45 + GST, includes lunch)

  • 14-15 Aug, "Comprehensive First Aid" course Whangarei

  • 24 Aug, "Communication" workshop Whangarei

  • 4 Sep,  "Communication" workshop Kerikeri

  • 4-5 Sep, "Comprehensive First Aid" course Kaitaia

More details below.

Next step: Secure your place, sign up for one or more workshops now by emailing us the name(s) and contact details of the participant(s).

Communication workshop; Essential skills to improve relationships & reduce friction:

(note, this is the same workshop held in different locations/times to suit the needs of the wider Northland community)

  • Delivered by Barbara Jaques ( www.bjprojects.co.nz )

  • 9am - 4pm, $45 plus GST,  lunch included

  • Workshop covering:

    • Maps of the world and how we think – understanding others’ thinking and rationale

    • Developing a connection (rapport) – using non-verbal communication to build relationships

    • Attending – building relationships that are respectful

    • Listening – building relationships that really connect with people

    • The problem-ownership model – a model for dealing with problems/conflicts

    • Getting your own needs met – how to help yourself

    • Win-win outcomes – developing solutions

    • Dealing with values – an overview of managing differences

Volunteer Management seminar:

  • Delivered by Rob Jackson (from the UK, invited by NZ Volunteer Centre Network, www.robjacksonconsulting.com ). We hosted Rob in October 2015 as well. He is one of the leading authorities on volunteering in the world, he has written, spoken and trained on volunteer programme management internationally for over twenty years.

  • 9am - 3:30pm, light lunch included

    • $0 Early bird (ends 1 October 2017), no charge for one person from organisations registered with Volunteering Northland

    • $30 (plus GST) for additional people from registered organisations (make sure you book your first place free, before 2 October)

    • $75 (plus GST) for people from organisations not registered with Volunteering Northland

  • Morning session:

    • Valuing Volunteer Management; A look at the essential role of the leader and manager of volunteers. How can we effectively lobby for more support?

  • Afternoon session:

    • Managing Volunteers; Get everything right and retention happens

24-07-2017
Volunteer - It's Rewarding!

It took me a few years into my (early) retirement to be ready to get out and turn up for the causes that I'm passionate about, and it came about by accident really. 

One day I was writing letters with suggestions for environmental change - and the next I found myself working alongside a dedicated little group to promote a plastic-free market, then added in helping to run a community sewing group, as one thing lead to another.

I have got so much more out of these groups than I have put in. I've met some fabulous like-minded people, and had loads of positive feedback, plus I'm working to change things that are important to me.

A few weeks back our local volunteer organization (Volunteering Northland) held a promotion in the city to showcase all of the local groups who are looking for volunteers. The marquee walls were lined with opportunities to give a little time in a plethora of different ways - anything from gardening to preparing food to sewing banners or volunteer firefighting.

I thought how wonderful these opportunities would be for the bored or the lonely or the unemployed or the depressed.

Today I have just offered to join a nation-wide group who harvest fruit that is going to waste and redirect it to people in need. The group also preserve or freeze fruit, or turn it into jams and chutneys to give away. I'm looking forward to meeting a whole new bunch of people and new experiences, and even less housework getting done.
- Anne Fraser (Check out more on her
Blog)

19-07-2017
National Volunteer Week 2017

Most successful of the NVW 2017 program was the “Team Volunteering” project.

Connecting local business leaders with Not for Profit organisations. 21 projects were actioned with 26 different teams joining up. That's 120+ volunteers! A couple of individuals have offered on-going support to the organisations they were involved with. Also, the local press have responded favourably with a number of editorial stories and photos in the Northland regional newspapers.

    This initiative also highlights how 'episodic or short term' volunteering is a growing trend globally, evidence shows that with today’s busy lifestyle, volunteers are looking for flexible arrangements and are often willing to commit in the short-term. (State of Volunteering Report, VNZ 2016). - Trish Clarke (Volunteering Northland)

    As part of National Volunteer Week (18 - 24th June), the Northland Advocate took on our challenge to spend time with us to brainstorm on how we can better promote WINGS within our community and increase our paid memberships. A team of three people form the Northern Advocate (Craig, Greg and Jan) generously spent two hours with Caroline, Jackie and Rosalind throwing around idea's and strategies. A big 'Thank you' to Volunteer Northland for providing an avenue for businesses to help each other within Volunteer Week. And a massive 'Thank you' to the team from Northern Advocate for taking on the challenge. - Caroline Hudson (WINGS)

    Last week for National Volunteer Week a few of the ladies from our centre and myself visited Dress for Success and had a lot of fun learning about their services. We helped with the ironing, polishing shoes and sorting clothing for the upcoming sale. We worked alongside volunteers from Dress for success as well as Alison Geddes the new General Manager of Planning and Development for WDC - Jessie Manney (Mulitcultural Whangarei)

13-07-2017
Northland Fire Brigades Need your Help

Dear Reader

Northland Fire Brigades need your help and as little as one hour a week could be a huge help.

Volunteers are the backbone of the Northland fire service, but in the Far North we are experiencing significant volunteer shortages that will impact our ability to respond to callouts. This is a serious matter for our community and we need your support to change this.

Low volunteer numbers mean local brigades are struggling to respond to emergencies. If we cannot safely respond to an emergency, a brigade further away will have to respond on our behalf. A slower response time means your home, business, and even your life, are at a greater risk in an emergency. 

We need at least four people on a truck to respond to a call out – a driver, an officer and two firefighters. We currently struggle to safely fully crew a fire truck and this is increasingly difficult during the day. If our volunteer numbers get any smaller, we risk losing our local brigade.

We want our communities to remain safe, but we need your help to achieve this. The solution is simple – we need more volunteers.

How can you help? 
The first step is the willingness to get involved with your local brigade. Age, gender, and fitness are no barrier to being a volunteer. If you are prepared to step forward and support your community, my team will help you to find a suitable role – be it fighting fires or providing administration support at the station. 

In addition to being on call, the time commitment is just one night/hour a week for training and we offer:

• full firefighter training and the opportunity to develop new life skills;
• specialist equipment;
• and a family-orientated environment, with social evenings.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, but have concerns about how this might impact your job, we can discuss the responsibilities and benefits with you and your employer.

More volunteers mean we can reduce the workload for all volunteers, and still keep our community safe. Every person who steps forward can make a difference.

I urge you to call my team to discuss how you can be involved. Even if you cannot volunteer yourself, you might know someone who is up for the challenge. 

Our volunteers are there for you in your time of need. Now is your chance to be there for us.

Regards

Wipari Henwood
Area Manager, Muri Whenua
Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Brigade Support Opportunity Click -
Here
Operational Fire Fighter click - Here

12-07-2017
Volunteers wanted at Youth Space

Situated in the Cafler Park Rose Gardens, Whangarei Youth Space is a lively hub of activity - a safe space for the youth of the city to come together, share ideas, and be themselves. 

Volunteers are wanted at the space to act in a support role, helping with assisting activities, doing admin, and generally working as part of the team. There is a wide range of different opportunities for volunteers.

Full time worker Jackson Moetara started off as a volunteer, eventually moving into a paid position as his hard work paid off, and his passion and talent for helping youth developed. He works at the space ‘to give back to his community, and to share his life experiences with young people.’

The Youth Space is an integral part of the community, located both in the heart of the city and the heart of its people - providing health services, activities, and support for education, training and employment to the young people of Whangarei.

Whangarei Youth Space attracts around 5500 visits annually, and provides 1600 health consultations. The space opened in 2014 in response to a need identified by the youth of Whangarei, and the wider community, for a welcoming youth-focused space in the city.

Ryan Donaldson is one of the initial founders of the space, saying that ‘it’s the kind of thing he wanted when he was younger.’ He feels that it is ‘his duty’ to help the young people of the community, and provide the future generation with the support they need in order to grow into their best selves.

For information email Volunteering Northland at info@volunteeringnorthland.nz or go talk to the friendly Youth Space team in the rose gardens, they are open Tuesday - Saturday. You can also email them at contact@youthspace.co.nz.

Abby Buckthought

11-07-2017
Team Volunteering Hitting a High this June

The temperature may be dropping, but the enthusiasm and uptake of Volunteering Teams in Northland has already hit a high this month.

In recognition of National Volunteer Week (18-24 June 2017), Volunteering Northland asked a number of businesses and organisations to rally a group or team to volunteer on a project at a non-profit for a half day during the week. The response was phenomenal, with teams ranging from large corporate organisation's leadership teams and big business groups, through to other non-profits, migrants and student crews taking part.


Some teams are using their business skills to help a community group, others are gathering teams to carry out projects as diverse as book-sorting to tree-planting, painting, cleaning and even unpacking 1000's of Teddy Bears. Over 24 teams have already committed to help out various non-profit organisations all over Northland.

Manager of Volunteering Northland Bart van der Meer said the response was incredible, both from the non-profit's project ideas to the teams wanting to volunteer. He says the key this year was simply asking people, such as getting organisations to come up with short term projects and asking teams to come on-board. “We know that most people volunteer because someone asked them to, this year our role was to start the asking and then be a conduit between the various groups”.

The aim of Team Volunteering is for groups to have fun, make valuable connections, all the while helping to build a connected community, and to boost a team's morale through an enriching activity. “By the end of the day, a team will have achieved something worthwhile for a good cause”.

This initiative also highlights how 'episodic or short term' volunteering is a growing trend globally, evidence shows that with today’s busy lifestyle, volunteers are looking for flexible arrangements and are often willing to commit in the short-term. (State of Volunteering Report, VNZ 2016).

- Trish Clarke (Volunteering Northland)

14-06-2017
Full House for First Aid (Kerikeri)

Skiing accidents, tree-trimming mishaps and hypothermia were all part of the imaginary carnage at a first Aid training session, designed to bring volunteers and teams safe in home and at the workplace.

Twenty representatives from Mid North Non-Profits took part in the 12 hour course – spread over two days. The course was provided by Volunteering Northland and grants from Oxford Sport Trust and Pub Charities.



Red Cross first aid training coordinator Kevin Spill said his organisation's aim was to get a first aider in every household in the country.

“Most people end up doing the training through work – but the reality is, most accidents happen outside the workplace, at home,” he said.

Volunteering Northland's Trish Clarke said the two day workshop filled quickly when advertised and the organisation is looking at hosting further courses in Kaitaia and Whangarei. Recent changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act highlighted the need for organisations to keep their teams and volunteers safe.

“Many of the participants are from organisations that work with the public or host workshops, with some groups also out working in remote locations out in the environment,” Ms Clarke said.

As well as recruiting and referring volunteers to a huge range of organisation across the district, Volunteering Northland provides training for volunteer coordinators, raising the professionalism in the sector.

For details on how to become a volunteer or register and organisation to recruit volunteers, visit www.volunteeringnorthland.nz, 09 945 4984, or see the team at 71 Bank St.

-By Alexandra Newlove
Northern Advocate

17-05-2017
Go to Town, Make a Bike

Whare Bike Whangarei is not your typical bike shop. Run entirely by volunteers and with parts and funding coming from mostly donations, this is a place that with a little time and effort turns fantasies to reality, part of a revolutionary co-op known as a ‘bike kitchen.’ It’s a not-for-profit, bicycle cooperative focused on making cycling and bike repair accessible to everyone.

30 year old cycle enthusiast and entrepreneur Ash Holwell is at the forefront of the Whare Bike recent re-emergence and blossoming success.

“I guess I had no idea at the beginning, it was just opening up and seeing what happens, then we had a whole lot of bicycle enthusiasts come through and a whole lot of people donating bikes. People tend to think it’s a shame to send old bikes to the land fill. Within the second week of re-opening we got 9 bikes on the road, so there is definitely a demand” Ash also points out how Whare Bike provides the regular volunteers a home and a purpose.

Whare bike is located next to Chipmunks on Woods Road Whangarei and opens Thursday evenings from 5:30- 7:30pm, and is also on Facebook as Whare Bike. Ash is keen to grow and welcomes everyone; those in need of a bike, to new volunteers and special interest groups.

“Just come down to this space and see how it is in its rebuilt state and find out how easy it is to make a bike and how easy it is to volunteer” Whare Bike is currently working on getting systems sorted out to the point of being a sustainable organisation that can support itself and the volunteers into the future. “It’s a hands on way of learning which fits better than school for a whole lot of people. It is a useful skill you can use for yourself, and has a whole lot of applications into the future”.

Ash got the idea of recycling cycles from his travels in Vienna and the Netherlands where he discovered bicycles as a key mode of transport there. “I started cycling in the Netherlands where everyone bicycles. I think there is 19 million bicycles there and only 17 million people”.

Shortly after Ash moved to Vienna he discovered a couple of community bike workshops. “I was a poor student and had no money so I went there to build bikes and I really loved just putting the bikes together… There was one that had a great culture around young kids that were helping out other people. The cycle couriers would also come in after work and have a beer and then everyone would work on their bikes for a while and then have food together, it was a really cool biking community. It seemed to make so much sense that there were a whole lot of bikes that were rusty, lying in sheds and back yards potentially going to the rubbish dump to get them to a place where people can come together and work on them to keep them moving.”

Overall it was refreshing and inspirational to meet someone so young and passionate, willing to give back to the community. I encourage you to see for yourself what Whare Bike is all about on a Thursday.

 

Tim Schmidt

08-11-2016
On the Look Out

Do you consider yourself somewhat of an observer? Someone with a desire to make the community a safer place? If so, then volunteering for the Police may be for you! There is currently a shortage of volunteers, needed for two different roles - monitoring CCTV footage, and night patrols.

Volunteers are needed in these roles, as there has been a decline in volunteers as of late - night patrols have had to stop monitoring the Abbey Caves car park in the Parahaki area, while CCTV volunteers have been working extra shifts. At least eight more volunteers are required for patrols, as well as eight for CCTV monitoring.

Volunteering is described as a rewarding role, which allows you to meet new people, make a difference, give back to the community, have new experiences, and fill your spare time in a productive way.

Night patrols, facilitated by CPNZ (Community Patrols of New Zealand) involve 4 hour long shifts - from 10pm to 2am on Friday and Saturday nights - during which volunteers drive around the district and keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.

There are also daytime shifts during the summer in popular areas such as Whale Bay, The Town Basin, Parihaka, and many more.

Robert Patterson, District Representative for CPNZ, describes CPNZ volunteering as a “very well organised network that wants to make a change, and will go about doing it.”

Ross Wagner, Whangarei resident and CCTV volunteer, describes his role as a volunteer as “a venture in community safety”, saying, “We’re just trying to make a bit of a difference”.

Volunteering to watch CCTV footage is suitable for people of all abilities, with Wagner joking, “breathing is good, age doesn’t matter.”

Watching CCTV footage also involves night shifts, is wheelchair friendly, and is suitable “for anyone with a killer instinct,” as volunteers are on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary, with upwards of twenty cameras to be monitored.

The joining process is relaxed, with potential volunteers encouraged to sample the role, and if they feel that this is suitable for them, they may make whatever commitment works best for them.

For more information on volunteering to patrol, please visit the Volunteering Northland website CPNZ page www.volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1581, visit the CPNZ Facebook page www.facebook.com/CommunityPatrolsNewZealand, or visit the CPNZ website www.cpnz.org.nz.

For more information on volunteering to watch CCTV footage, please visit the Volunteering Northland CCTV page http://volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers/opportunities/1580.

 

By Abby Buckthought

26-10-2016
"Making Time" during National Volunteer Week 2016

Kathryn Ross (GM Strategic Planning & Policy FNDC) about volunteering at Hospice Mid-Northland: "Volunteering at Hospice during National Volunteering Week was a privilege. The work of volunteers makes our communities better places to live and enhances the lives of others.  I was amazed at the range of skills people have, and the talented way that organisations tap into these skills to match the person with the volunteering roles they perform.  All skills are valued and if you didn’t think you had anything to offer, you’d probably be very pleasantly surprised.  The deal is not one-sided.  Being a volunteer gives you your own rewards.  The work done by volunteers in our society is to be celebrated.

Special thanks to Hospice Mid-North for allowing me to join them.  They are exceptional people, doing exceptional things and if you’re looking to contribute, especially if you are young, I know they’d love to hear from you."

Sjoerd Post (CEO Refining NZ) about volunteering at Citizens Advice Bureau: "Very stressful job...Respect!". Moea Armstrong about Sjoerd Post: "Quick learner – would be happy to employ him!"

Nikki Davies Colley (Chair Northpower Ltd.) about volunteering at North Haven Hospice: "There is nothing better than a community supporting those in need in their own community.  I was privileged to spend some time with the North Haven Hospice team and learned just how much it takes to provide this wonderful service for patients and families at the most vulnerable time of their lives.  I was astounded by how many people it takes to run this service, and by how many of them were generously volunteering their time.  To learn that it is a 24/7 operation so that even people with full-time jobs can contribute in some small way was an eye opener for me. On top of that, everyone I met was great - welcoming, friendly, professional and compassionate.  Thanks for taking the time to educate me.  I will certainly be putting out the good word on behalf of your team!"

27-06-2016
National Volunteer Week 2016

Each year New Zealand celebrates National Volunteer Week to recognise and celebrate the vital contribution of New Zealand’s approximately 1.2 million volunteers to social development, the economy and the environment.
This year, the week focuses on time through the following two sayings:

  • Make time - Whai whā
  • Thanks for making time - Kia ora mō tāu whai whā

The 2016 campaign is therefore a call to action. We believe that for volunteering to flourish, and the various benefits of volunteering to be realised, people and volunteer organisations are increasingly going to need to make time, now and into the future.

This year’s theme recognises that volunteering can fit into a busy schedule and that there are volunteering opportunities suitable to people’s individual needs and commitments. People who are volunteering this week include:

  • Brent Eastwood (Chief Executive Sport Northland) volunteering at RoadSafe Northland
  • Debbie Evans (CEO Kaipara Community Health Trust) volunteering at Dress for Success
  • Rob Forlong (CEO WDC) volunteering at Quarry Arts Centre
  • Sjoerd Post (CEO Refining NZ) volunteering at Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Kate Malcolm (Owner Dive Tutukaka) volunteering at Idea Services
  • Kathryn Ross (GM Strategic Planning & Policy FNDC) volunteering at Hospice Mid-Northland
  • Craig Cooper (Editor Northern Advocate) volunteering at Food for Life
  • Eru Lyndon (Regional Commissioner for MSD) volunteering at Literacy Whangarei
  • Maggie Dixon-Lester (Director Maggie Dixon Real Estate) volunteering at Cancer Society
  • Malcolm Nicolson (Chief Executive NRC) volunteering at BOI Vintage Railway
  • Nikki Davies-Colley (Chair Northpower Ltd.) volunteering at North Haven Hospice
  • Graham B Wallace (Chief Executive Marsden Maritime Holdings) volunteering at Whangarei Budgeting Service

 

 

20-06-2016
Community Matters with Libby Jones

The week of 19 to 25 June is National Volunteer week. The theme this year is “Make time and Thanks for making time.” It is both a call to action and an appreciation of those who make such a significant voluntary contribution to our communities.

In our busy lives, time is what many people feel they lack most. Trying to make time to fit in anything else can seem like an impossible task. In fact, lack of time is the most commonly cited reason why people don’t volunteer, even though they say they would like to be able to help. Of course sometimes this can be a handy excuse to avoid getting involved, in other cases, if it is not made clear to potential volunteers how much time is expected, what they will be required to do, and importantly how they exit an organisation, they may hold back from coming on board.

Community groups often rely on the goodwill of volunteers, without considering the value they bring to the organisation. Volunteers need to know their involvement is making a genuine difference and that their contribution is both recognised and appreciated.

Good volunteer management creates a win-win situation for the volunteers and the group. A bit of planning and the right person leading the team can make all the difference to volunteers’ motivation to become and stay involved.

Looking after volunteers

  • Effectively respond to enquiries and create a welcoming environment – including time requirements
  • Find out what motivates your volunteers so you can keep them interested, it may be different for each person
  • Match volunteers to the roles available in the organisation
  • Share the workload
  • Provide orientation and training where needed
  • Invest time and money into practices such as expense reimbursement and role expectations
  • Have a mentor or someone available for new volunteers to call with queries

Keeping volunteers

  • Understand there are many factors that contribute towards volunteers staying in an organisation, including personal e.g. motivation, life stage, and available time, as well as organisational e.g. length and usefulness of meetings, good leadership and communication
  • Ensure cost is not a barrier to volunteers’ involvement
  • Have an organisational culture that welcomes, values and respects volunteers
  • Ensure you communicate with volunteers and keep them up to date
  • Recognise, appreciate and thank your volunteers and supporters regularly and genuinely - take the time to ask them how they might like to be recognised and rewarded/thanked
  • Ensure that staff (if you have them) involve and support volunteers
  • Have fun
  • Have well run effective and time limited meetings

There are organisations available to support community groups if they need help in this area, such as Volunteering NZ and closer to home Volunteering Northland, as well as businesses who offer training and support such as Exult, and others help with specific purposes such as CreativeNZ and SportNZ.

If you haven’t acknowledged your volunteers recently, then Volunteer Week brings the perfect opportunity to recognise and thank them for the work they do in your group and community, and to check in with them about how it is going for them.

19-06-2016
Education and Environment Project join

Have you heard of the Dragonfly Springs wetlands project? Situated in Onerahi between Ngaio St and Raumati Crescent, it’s a co-development initiative of husband and wife team Jeremy Busck and Pamela Winter.
The sanctuary has been developed over the last 7 years and utilises 15 acres of low ground to act as drainage and run off filter for rain water and a buffer in times of excess rainfall – Jeremy describes it as the liver and kidneys of the land. As well as its practical function, it forms a pleasant wild-life refuge and an asset for the local community.

I spoke to one of the volunteers about the work. Fiona is studying environmental science and she feels this is an opportunity to get first hand practical experience on a large project, experience that will stand her in good stead once employed in that discipline.
There are many other volunteers who give time and a community project team do a weekly planting stint, but keen gardeners, handy men and indeed anyone interested is always welcome.

The resource is used as an educational facility by Unitech and the Northland Polytech, the Mountain to Sea trust use the Dragonfly Springs in their field environment education programme.
Guided tours are offered to the Whangarei district gardening clubs, U3A and the local pre-school and primary schools who are considered a very important target group, especially Onerahi Primary, who have their own nominated area.

In addition to the on-site planting programme, the plant nursery supplies the Onerahi Coastline Action Group. Kiwi North, Parahaki Mountain Bike Park and other community projects.

So if you fancy spending a bit of quality time in the fresh air helping to develop a pleasant and positive asset for the area, feel free to put your name down. The project has occasional open days and the next new is due in the spring and will be advertised on the volunteer web site.

Story by Tony Mullinger

01-09-2015
Minister kicking-off NVW-2015 in Whangarei

The regeneration of Matakohe/Limestone island is a community project, driven entirely by the zeal and hard work of countless volunteers. There is always plenty to do on the island to maintain and grow it’s capacity as a sanctuary for native species, from administrative roles on the Friends of Matakohe/Limestone Island Committee to hands-on tasks like tree planting and pest control.
Any help makes a big difference, and there is no expectation to commit to regular volunteering. Even as a one-off, getting stuck in on the island and working alongside the rangers and other passionate volunteers is a remarkably fulfilling experience.

Island Ranger Bernie Buhler leads the tour, keeping the group well entertained and informed with his expert knowledge of the island’s history and eco-system.
Over the past 25 years, the generosity and helping hands of countless local volunteers have transformed island into a safe haven for endangered species, including kiwi, banded rail, New Zealand dotterel, moko skink and forest gecko.

The island has been cleared of mammalian predators, creating a pest-free haven for a proportionately huge population of Kiwi, with 40-50 chicks calling Matakohe home at any given time and the two permanent breeding pairs roaming the island’s 37 hectares.
The island operates as a kiwi crèche, with over 150 chicks having been raised there and released into the wild since the early 2000’s.

The Minister is clearly delighted at the opportunity to get her hands dirty and contribute to the ongoing regeneration project.
“This has truly been a community project thanks to the leadership of the committee who have created family friendly voluntary activities suitable for everyone that wants to be involved”

Story by Miranda Rose, Photo by Blandine Chilese

21-06-2015
We've got Northland covered

With statistics showing northland has the highest number of volunteers per capita in the country, Volunteering Whangarei’s job just got a lot bigger.
That is because the not for profit organisation has had a name change, now operating as Volunteering Northland.

This means they will help coordinate volunteers in all of northland, including the Far North District, which is in the top five percentages of volunteers for local authorities nationally, and the Northland electorate, which ranks as number one in voluntary work per resident.

Community and voluntary sector minister Jo Goodhew, who was at the launch at the Kamo Voluntary Fire Brigade, says the rebrand is a positive one. Northland has always had strong regional towns and cities which have a sense of pride in their history,” she says.
“It is also a region which has a very strong identity. I have no doubt volunteers consider themselves to be supporting the region as a whole.”

Volunteering Northland manager Bart van der Meer says although the move was a natural progression, it also shows the strength of volunteering in the area.
“That this is happening within two years of us starting has to do with local success and also the support from the Far North District Council,” he says.

Although the expansion will see an increased workload, the organiastion has processes in place to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
“Our website, our main point of access for non-profit organisations and volunteers, can easily be modified to handle different locations. We have experience with other ways of communication, like local papers and our stall at public events, and there are opportunities to do the same in the other districts.
“Many organisations that work with us operate in the whole of Northland or have sister organisations outside the Whangarei District.”

Van der Meer says he thinks the northland attitude plays a big part in volunteering being so popular.
“It must have to do with the approach to life where taking care of each other seems to come natural. I myself come from a crowded urban area where it is normal not to engage with neighbours.”
“In Whangarei, in town, in a store or on the beach, I often have a spontaneous friendly chat with a stranger, which of course in most cases turns out to be a local.”

“I guess this attitude results in the willingness of people to put their hand up, especially when someone asks them.”

It is asking that is the main purpose of Volunteering Northland; asking volunteer orgainsations where they require assistance, but mainly asking local people to help their local community.

Story by Jared Dennis, Photo by Blandine Chilese

21-06-2015
Developing skills, showing motivation

Volunteering as an unpaid reporter has really paid off for Ayla Miller. After a stint as a volunteer journalist she has now landed a full time role as a writer.

Ayla says she always had a passion for English and writing, so after finishing her degree in Media Studies at Victoria University, she intended on completing further study in Wellington towards a course in journalism.

However, she decided to return home and took up a volunteer position with Volunteering Whangarei as a reporter. She says she realised experience was far more valuable than an expensive course and the job could be quite rewarding.

The position helped her gain experience with writing and interviewing people.
“Actually getting published was a big thing to put on a CV,” Ayla says.
“It helped with getting a job later on”. As part of her position she met with various volunteer organisations and covered events around Whangarei.

Several of her pieces were published online and in the local paper, and she helped draw attention to some of the wonderful community groups and events in Whangarei who need volunteers and helpers. “Meeting people, finding out what everyone’s doing, so many people get up to things that you never would hear about, unless you go out and talk to them,” she says of her time as a volunteer.

Ayla is now a reporter at the Kaipara Lifestyler and covers stories about news and events in the Kaipara community. She says she enjoys her job because she gets to work on positive stories about her community. “When you meet little sub committees of people who have visions and ideas toward improving your town; it’s quite exciting.”

In the future Ayla says she would like to keep writing, and perhaps use it to supplement her love of travelling, and pursue a career in travel writing.

Story by Rachael Machado

20-06-2015
Moving Forward, No Looking Back

“Empowering, challenging and rewarding.” Those are the three words Brenda Broughton uses to describe her voluntary involvement with Whangarei Rape Crisis.

In 2010, the devoted mother responded to an increasing need for volunteers. She hasn’t looked back since. Her passion for breaking the silence eventually led to fulltime employment and advocacy for mana wahine, empowerment of women.

Brenda positively recalls her first experience with Whangarei Rape Crisis.

“When you go upstairs you get this feeling that it’s a safe place and the group is not about rape, it’s about learning how to put yourself first.”

“It starts with telling yourself that you’re beautiful; all of those cool love yourself affirmations”.

She says her most memorable experiences are of those who have persevered through the difficult journey of self-discovery.

“I’ve been privileged to hear success stories of survivors who initially turned to substances, but then decided to shift their focus to more positive things like gaining a tohu or mau rākau.

“It’s such an honour and I look forward to those stories because they bring you back to earth”. Having lived in Mangonui for 10 years, Brenda says she needed a change.

“I was heading for Auckland but had a thought to check out Whangarei and fell in love with the place, so decided to stay”.

If she is not working, she is supporting her sons in their sporting activities, often productive in community initiatives herself.

The small but devoted team at Whangarei Rape Crisis, coordinated by Joanne Phillips, find their strength in knowing that they are making a positive contribution to other people’s lives.

They work hard to provide an array of support services, which include a women-only safe space, children’s area, 24-hour phone line, face to face support, free counselling, advocacy and an 8 week support group programme.

An emphasis on healing, empowerment and eliminating rape and sexual abuse against women and children remains at the heart of this organisation.

Story by Kayla Vatu, June 2015

02-06-2015
Letter from FIFA Volunteer

As I write this, I’ve just completed 10 shifts amounting to 40 hours of voluntary work for the 2015 FIFA under 20’s World Cup. What a unique experience it was. The event was proudly held at the “Northland Events Centre” known locally as Toll Stadium.

I applied as a volunteer back in September 2014. It was easy to do online, where they captured all your personal details to carry out identity and police checks etc. In early Feb I was called up for an interview where my strengths and preferences were discussed with the aim of identifying the most suitable role from the numerous and various opportunities available.
There were lots of positions to be filled such as stadium dress, drivers, sorting and distributing uniform, processing accreditation, ticketing, and spectator services to name just a few.

Having volunteers was an essential part to making this event a success. In particular I was driven by the keen desire to be an ambassador for our country. I wanted to be a part of the team that showcased Whangarei as a place that can cater for and deliver such professional events to perfection.
Football is the world’s biggest sport and the World would be watching us! It was great to be involved, make the tournament a success and bring beauty and a special atmosphere to the four games held here.

I enjoyed my time making new friends and learnt new things especially around event planning and security. The training provided was online as well as via flexible group training sessions. Procedures were set out by way of clearly documented job cards.

Apart from game days – work shifts were flexible so volunteers could state online their availability and work allocations were fitted around your personal commitments. Volunteers got to wear and keep a smart Adidas uniform, food needs were catered for and contributions recognised with an after event party.

If there was one thing I wish would have been better, then that would have been an increased attendance on game days. I had hoped that more locals would have supported this event and ultimately our city.
The stadium is a real asset to our community and I hope it brings in many more events for the benefit of our city. If new facilities emerge and improvements take place around our place then it will contribute to more tourist dollars for our economy.

I “Love it Here”.

Dawn Pugh
June 2015

01-06-2015