Whangarei migrants Vinkal Gaur and Astrid Kelly found volunteering helped them successfully find paid work, assisted by an employment program at Multicultural Whangarei.
International Northtec student Vinkal Guar came to New Zealand in 2017 to study a Bachelor Degree in Sport and Recreation. He wanted to build networks and connected with Multicultural Whangarei and Volunteering Northland through the Northtec International Student orientation. He also applied for advertised jobs but found the lack of response frustrating, plus he really wanted to work in the sports industry.
“I applied for jobs in the supermarket,” he says, “but I never heard back from anyone.”
As part of the Multicultural Whangarei employment program he volunteered to lead Yoga classes. This led to a referral to the Whangarei Aquatic Centre, which resulted in a few weeks working as a volunteer there until he was offered a paying job.
“I have learned a lot, and I continue to learn.” Gaur says of his six months working as a group fitness instructor. He says his job wasn’t advertised, and his hours have increased since he started work.
“This is the ideal job for me in my current situation” he says, “it is an amazing place to work… and it is very satisfying.”
Migrant Astrid Kelly had a similar experience after migrating to New Zealand from the Philippines to join her kiwi husband. By late 2016 she had a visa allowing work and through her own research into job searching she learned volunteering could help in finding paid work.
“Volunteering can give you exposure… it can be a stepping stone to work,” she says.
Like Gaur, she had no success in applying for advertised jobs but worked as a volunteer through a Multicultural Whangarei employment program and joining Volunteering Northland.
“My first volunteering in administration was for Plunket,” says Kelly. She was also a volunteer event photographer for Multicultural Whangarei.
She used these local work experiences and references when applying for paid work as her other references were from the Philippines. In 2017 she applied for a job suited to her skills at Literacy Whangarei, a vacancy she discovered through her Multicultural Whangarei network. She began work as a Literacy Whangarei administrator in May.
“Volunteering is good for foreigners to know how it works here in New Zealand,” Kelly says about work experience and the job application process.
Multicultural Whangarei Centre Manager Jessie Manney agrees. “Lots of New Zealand employers want local experience” she says. “And we have our own volunteer program here… I can give a reference when someone has volunteered for us.”
As well as gaining local work experience and references, Manney has found
volunteering helps migrants find work through developing networks which give them access to more opportunities. It also helps migrants get to know their community and to learn how things are done in New Zealand.
As a migrant herself Canadian Manney has experienced this and says there are a lot of small things to learn about a new country, “Here it is ‘A4’ and I never heard that before,” she says of standard A4 sized paper, “We call it ‘letter size’.”
She has observed that being a successful volunteer helps newcomers build confidence as well as providing opportunities to practice language skills in a work setting, all of which help with success in getting paid work.
- Cathy Robinson
All ready for the off at 8.45 am: bag packed ready (sun cream- check, sunnies - check, hat - check, rubbish bags, gardening gloves - check errr, rubbish bags, gardening gloves?! ) They're packed because it's Bay Beach Clean. Bay Beach Clean is a group of volunteers who meet alternate Sunday mornings to collect rubbish from Waitangi to Te Haumi. There is an 'A' team and a 'B' team who start at different ends of the Bay and meet in the middle at Alongside Restaurant in Paihia for a generous free coffee and chat afterwards.
John and I have only taken part three times so far. We were a little bit surprised the first time when we realised that there were only three of us. We checked the time and place, 'B' team, 9.00 by the boat ramp at Te Haumi. We looked around at dog walkers and ramblers wondering if they were part of the team, but no, so the three of us got on with it. With some advice from the other volunteer we collected not only glass, cans, paper etc but treated wood that can leak chemicals into the sea. Amazingly the most common debris washed up on the shore was pegs. Between us we also found an assortment of woolly hats, socks and undies (possibly from faraway peg-less washing lines!)
The next time we took extra collection bags with us thinking that there may be detritus from Christmas and New Year's Eve revels. Pleasingly the good folk of the Bay had mostly cleaned up after themselves (or the council had got there first!)
It's a really nice way to start the day. We have lots of cheerful chats with people we meet along the way, a few shout outs from well wishers, a lovely coffee from Alongside, a warm feeling inside and best of all we made friends with another Bay Beach Clean volunteer. Sadly, we haven't managed to meet up with any A team volunteers yet, we must keep missing each other.
Check the Bay Beach Clean website for dates and times to help keep the bay beautiful.
- Diana Smith
It was a call for help from the Friends of Waitangi which led my husband John and I to volunteer to support the team behind the scenes at the Waitangi Treaty Commemoration celebrations.
Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi supported by Waitangi National Trust were going to be setting up food and beverage stations and providing refreshments for the public attending pōwhiris for the Governor General and the Prime Minister. As they were also hosting buffets for the Governor and Prime Minister on two consecutive days they were asking for volunteers to lend a helping hand with preparation, cooking and clean up afterwards.
We turned up at 8 am and were pretty amazed at the buzz of activity already in place. Security seemed to be high, and after a bit of to and fro-ing on radios we made our way to the Hobson building to meet Rowena and her team. John quickly made himself useful in the kitchen - he buttered and jammed a mountain of bread alongside a very welcoming group of women who were busy preparing bright orange crayfish, huge crates of raw fish in coconut milk, moist dark chocolate steamed cake, platters of fresh fruit, pipis piled high and smoked fish amongst many other sweet and savoury dishes for the buffets.
Meanwhile I was busy in the marquee setting up tables, laying places and making new friends! Rowena, the aunties and the rest of the team, including young staff from the Waitangi cafe, the Whare Waka, were probably under pressure, but still found the time to be patient with us newbies and I felt very privileged to be a part of this occasion. There were three other volunteers and we pitched in wherever necessary. As the morning rolled on we drew near to our 11.00 deadline. This was when the pōwhiri for Jacinda Ardern was due to finish and her party of guests would be making their way over for 'morning tea'.
The marquee was undergoing transformation into a beautiful dining space. The sides of the tent had been adorned with wall hangings and tapestries and now gorgeous flower decorations (courtesy of the 'aunties') were displayed on the tables dotted amongst an abundance of amazing kai, spectacular in colour and variety. Morning tea? This was more like breakfast, lunch and dinner combined!
We had reached that time when there was nothing else to do until the guests arrived, so we popped out to watch the guests being greeted by the welcoming Haka, and then listened to speeches. This was the first time a woman had been accepted to speak at the Pōwhiri, and it felt like an historic occasion. The atmosphere was traditional yet super friendly. Jacinda Ardern was obviously well respected, doubly so, not only for appearing at the Treaty Grounds but for her open humility.
The day was heating up, the sky was blue, the Navy were rehearsing for their big day on Tuesday, I was unbelievably happy to be there. Once the guests arrived and were seated we served steaming hot hangi, squeezing the dishes in like jigsaw puzzle pieces as the tables were so full of food. Not for long though, the Powhiri appeared to have worked up some appetites as we were soon clearing away huge piles of empty plates. We took them to John and Graham who were recycling and stacking everything to be magically washed by the cafe staff ready for the next buffet at 2.00 pm. As we worked many people thanked us, complimenting the food and appreciating the hard work. The marquee was filled with the sound of chatter and laughter, and some intense networking!
The wonderful Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi team had been extremely busy for many days with preparation; the scale of organisation was incredible especially as they were feeding the public too. Their philosophy was that we were all special guests, today was for everyone and their unflaunted aim was to feed everyone and offer their warm hospitality to all.
Later in the afternoon we gathered together as the Prime Minister wanted to meet the workers to say thank you. Everyone was pretty excited as Jacinda and her partner came over, spoke to us all and happily took part in the many 'selfies' and photo opps. What a day! John and I made our way home to showers and to put our feet up knowing that we had been a very, very small part of a very special occasion. I had learnt a lot about New Zealand's past and present. Thank you Rowena and the rest of the team, we'll always remember this day fondly.
For the third Christmas running, staff from ASB Bank Commercial and Rural teams have been decking out the Selwyn Park Village and Rest-home with Christmas decorations.
Recently 8 staff members headed up to Maunu with an 8.30am start, decorating the large Christmas trees at the village.
As part of Volunteering Northland's Employee or Team Volunteering program, this initiative is about making lasting connections between corporate and non-profit organisations.
Senior Commercial Manager at ASB Bank Fiona Morgan is also the Chair at Volunteering Northland. She says all the staff at ASB Bank love the chance to help with the Christmas decorations. “With a group of us working together we can get this done quite quickly around our work commitments and then of course Selwyn Village provides us with a delicious morning tea”. Like most corporate organisations, staff love the chance to do something meaningful for other groups in the community.
During National Volunteering Week in June this year, staff from ASB Branches in Whangarei and Kaitaia also sent out teams volunteering. Part of a garden clean-up project was tackled at CCS Disability Action in Kamo, and Kaitaia Hospice Shop had a team helping out sorting donations.
Trish Clarke from Volunteering Northland says "Employee volunteer programmes provide benefits for organisations, individuals, community groups and wider society. Projects broaden a team’s outlook, extends thinking beyond a work desk and is generally fun in the process. Business skills applied to community projects add capacity and new ideas".
Try it in 2018!
The Falls Estate and The Papermill – Growing a strong connection
Staff and residents of the Falls Estate jumped at the chance offered by Volunteering Northland to support The Papermill by tending to their gardens.
Recently two of the Falls Estate gardening team , Chris Allen and Sam Camocamo, the Village Manager, Ros Martin and a resident Ken Barber, spent a morning pulling weeds and chopping back overgrown plants in readiness for planting gardens which will be colourful and vibrant, but easier to care for.
Village Manager, Ros Martin says that she sees the gardening effort as a wonderful opportunity to create a lasting connection between the Falls Estate Village and the Papermill. “Many of our residents have been keen gardeners and love the chance to do something meaningful and special for a group of people in the community who are achieving to their highest ability,” she said.
“We anticipate that we will take these refurbished gardens under our collective wing and keep them looking attractive over time. We also hope that the papermakers will visit us at the Village to inspire us with their amazing art work. It’s the beginning of a long term relationship between the two organisations.”
The Papermill Business Manager, Paula Lang says that they have been thrilled to have the Falls Estate become associated with The Papermill. “While we would love to tend to the gardens ourselves, it’s just not possible – so we are very grateful to The Falls Estate. What they achieved in a morning is more than we could have ever imagined, and we look forward to keeping in touch in a variety of ways with the staff and residents.”27-09-2017
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
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
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!)
Special Olympics Far North Basketball event. Kaitaia.
Thursday 7th September
Special Olympics Football event. Whangarei.
Thursday 21 September
Special Olympics Athletics Event Whangarei.
Monday 30 October
Pink Ribbon Street Appeal Area Coordinators. All towns across Northland.
(type "pink" in the search box)
Pink Ribbon Collectors. All towns across Northland.
13/14 October - 2 hour or more shifts.
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.
Habitat for Humanity are Seeking a Bar Manager and Waitstaff for fundraiser. Whangarei.
Monday 30th October
Log on to refer yourself, or flick us an email email@example.com
We are proud that we have been 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 (paid and volunteer staff).
We have been using the first-come-first serve principal and distributed the available seats "fairly" over as many organisations as possible.
Comprehensive First Aid workshop:
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
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
Valuing Volunteer Management; A look at the essential role of the leader and manager of volunteers. How can we effectively lobby for more support?
Managing Volunteers; Get everything right and retention happens
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)
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 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.
Area Manager, Muri Whenua
Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Brigade Support Opportunity Click - Here
Operational Fire Fighter click - Here
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go talk to the friendly Youth Space team in the rose gardens, they are open Tuesday - Saturday. You can also email them at email@example.com.
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
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
Come February 14th will you be looking for more love and/or friendship in your life? Surprisingly, the answer isn't speed dating or splashing out on an expensive meal. It's volunteering.
Research by leading universities, including the London School of Economics and Harvard, reveals that by giving your time and help to a worthy cause you will receive multiple benefits including feeling happier. And let's face it, when we look happy we are far more fanciable.But it doesn't end there. As well as putting a big smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye, your body will benefit too. Volunteering has been shown to counteract stress, anxiety and even depression which means you'll be giving off some great vibes. Many volunteering opportunities also involve working in groups creating a perfect opportunity to make new friends and maybe find that special someone? And rather than feel pressurised by time constraints, volunteering has also been found to make you feel like you have more time on your hands.
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.
Volunteering Northland's corporate volunteering programme organises half day to day long community projects for corporate groups or Volunteer Teams. These projects can generally be achieved in a day and usually during work hours.
We work with over 150 community groups around Northland. They provide essential services in areas critical to the well-being of our region.Examples of team opportunities are:
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 Buckthought26-10-2016
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
Goodbye to the five paintings that have been on our homepage for three years. They were painted by Kito, Kate, Sahara, Hayden and Hori at Mairtown Kindergarten in 2013, representing youth, enthusiasm, structure, energy and growth.
No worries, all above still apply to Volunteering Northland.26-06-2016
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:
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:
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
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
On wednesday evening North Haven Hospice celebrated their volunteers, at the town shop, with awards for 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 years of service. Sharon Morgan (Deputy Mayor) was one of the guests, she helped Murray Lints, their Patron present three very special awards to volunteers with 30 years a piece. They represented the in-patient unit, the community team and the shop and received a commemorative pin signifying North Haven Hospice’s 30 years activity in this community.
The pictures above are of volunteers based at hospice receiving their badges for 1 year’s service, and of the 30 year service awardees.
Patron Murray Lints made the perfect introduction to this trio by asking the 200 people present at the function to give them a standing ovation, people did stand up sooo quickly :-)16-06-2016
We can now be reached by an 0800 number, organised for all volunteer centres by Volunteering New Zealand.
0800-VOLCNT (0800-865268) can be used from land-lines and mobiles.
A voice menu will ask if you are looking for a volunteer centre in the north of the North Island, press 1, and after that if you are looking for us, Volunteering Northland, press 1 again.
Dozens of volunteers across the District have helped to keep car park crime at bay for five summers now.
The Summer Safe Carpark campaign is focused on reducing theft from vehicles and is supported by volunteer ambassadors who patrol high risk carparks over the summer period.
Sharing a photo from the Mayoral Presentation on Wednesday 4 May for the Summer Safe Carparks ambassadors.17-05-2016
24 hectares can be quite a handful to manage, so the trust encourages volunteers to assist at the gardens. The weekly crew of volunteers; Wednesday Legends are usually comprised of long term supporters of the Gardens, however, the newest venture is aimed at mobilising youth to get involved in a community based project at the heart of Whangarei.
“Our volunteers range in ages, backgrounds, abilities, knowledge and interests, yet all of those who take part leave the Gardens with a sense of achievement. Saturday Soldiers is a monthly endeavour to get people who can’t commit to a weekly volunteering schedule and have to work around a timetable.” Says David.
Saturday Soldiers happens on the second Saturday of every month. His aim to get youth more involved with the Gardens is starting to draw interest. One young Volunteer, Alex says “It makes me feel good, doing something for the community-it’s really satisfying.”
There are many odd jobs to cover and the garden needs young people who don’t mind getting a bit grubby and, as his ad promises: “back to nature”. The work isn’t strenuous however, and you couldn’t pick a more beautiful place to be spending your Saturdays.01-04-2016
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 Mullinger01-09-2015
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 Chilese21-06-2015
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 Chilese21-06-2015
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 Machado20-06-2015
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”.