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Events across New Zealand
03 February 2009

Various, New Zealand: More than 50 people attended the Volunteering Market Day at Volunteer Wellington premises which Volunteering NZ and Volunteer Wellington jointly organized to celebrate International Volunteer Day. All of the visitors had the opportunity to participate in the Information Hunt learning more about volunteering in New Zealand, the role of VNZ and different aspects of the work Volunteer Wellington does.


Wellington Deputy Mayor, Ian McKinnon, opened the event and those attending came from a wide range of community agencies, corporate members and government departments as well as current and potential volunteers; professionals, teenagers, students, migrants, refugees and retirees.

The other Volunteer Centres organized a variety of events:

•    Gisborne Volunteer Centre held a very successful BBQ for volunteers and presented certificates to volunteers who had been nominated by organisations.
•    Over 200 volunteers from New Plymouth had a BBQ as well. They were hosted at Volunteering New Plymouth and served by the Mayor, Peter Tennant and community and sporting celebrities.
•    Volunteering Mid North provided its volunteers with the opportunity to try different services such as low impact aerobics and line dancing.
•    Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury celebrated firstly with the morning tea and later recognition certificates were presented to volunteers who had the opportunity to have free health checks as well.
•    Volunteering Waikato gave small gifts to all of their member organisations as a token of recognition of the volunteers working with them. For the volunteers in the centre they organized a special getting together event where everyone could share food and stories
•    All registered volunteers were invited for an "Open Day" for the morning tea, lunch and "Nibbles & Natter" by Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty.
•    An enthusiastic group of Porirua members and volunteers gathered for a lunch which was organised by Volunteer Porirua and Porirua City Council. Guest speakers were Jenny Brash and Annette Woods from Porirua Settlement Support.
•    Volunteering Canterbury's Youth Volunteer Award night was a great success with more than one hundred attendees. Presenter Helen Mahon-Stroud was a vibrant and enthusiastic speaker supported by the 'De Cristo' a group of young musicians from the CPIT Jazz School's whom played laid back but tightly controlled numbers which were presented with professionalism impressive in such young people. More about the Award read in the article below.
•    Volunteer Marlborough hosted a Breakfast at the Clubs of Marlborough to recognize the valuable contribution made by volunteers. Each organisation was invited to send two volunteers; their longest serving volunteer and a youth volunteer. Each volunteer received an appreciation certificates.

Many other voluntary and social service organizations celebrated the Day in number of ways.

Refuge Services Aotearoa New Zealand organised a community picnic in Wellington's Botanical Gardens which included entertainment with games, music, a lolly scramble, and other surprises. Enliven Befriending Services (Presbyterian Support Northern) and Canterbury Playcentre organised BBQs for their volunteers. IHC had different celebrations in their centres around New Zealand ranging from ten pin bowling, morning/afternoon tea's, barbeques, dinners and garden parties.

The Foundation for Youth Development was given a sauvignon blanc vine which can be planted, nurtured and enjoyed. The sun and water nourishing the vines will provide a reminder of the values that sustain volunteering: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.

A Community Services Expo was held in Ashburton at the Trust Event Centre where the publicity material about International Volunteer Day was provided by Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury. An Expo was also organised at Geraldine Community Resource Centre. The Van der Veer Institute for Parkinson's and Brain Research showed their appreciation by hosting a morning tea to recognise willingness of their volunteers.

The vital contribution of volunteers was acknowledged via e-mails, blogs and media by the organisations such as New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, World Vision, YWCA, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Parents Centres NZ Inc, Citizens Advice Bureau, Plunket, Cancer Society, Tauranga Budget Advisory Service, Child Cancer Foundation, NZ Red Cross; Waipuna Hospice, Victim Support, Alzaimers, Tauranga City Council, WBOP District Council, Heart Foundation, Zona Club of Tauranga, ESOL Home Tutors, Trade Aid, Te Ropu Tamariki, Orana Wildlife Trust, Air Force Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, Ageconcearn, Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust, LifeLine, Orana Wildlife Trust and Park, Canterbury Museum, The Christchurch City Mission, Canterbury District Health Board, Restorative Justice Service Otautahi, Nurse Maude and many more.

A number of businesses sponsored and supported the events organized by volunteer centres and community organizations. Some of them, such as the Auckland and Hamilton offices of Stace Hammond took IVD as the opportunity to do some volunteering. They volunteered at YWCA and got their hands dirty stripping 1960s wallpaper, sanding and painting stair wells and hallways, repainting the beautiful Piano Room, decorating the chapel for the Y-dub programmes' end of year party and working with volunteer drivers delivering mobile meals to 100 elderly, ill or injured people in Hamilton.

Within Government, the Department of Corrections took the occasion to launch their very first Volunteer Recognition Awards initiative. A series of local ceremonies were held to present these awards with two biggest events taking place in Wellington and Auckland, accompanied by a BBQ.

The new Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Tariana Turia in her press release encouraged everyone "to stop and take time to say thanks or show the appreciation by taking up voluntary and community work oneself."