National Volunteer Week runs from the 18th to 24th of June here in New Zealand.
So we thought we’d explain a bit about volunteering, how it works, who it helps and the benefits that flow from it. Volunteering plays a big role in the lives of migrants and others that Woburn International help emigrate to N.Z. so we look at that too.
With a rich tradition of community engagement, Kiwis have fostered a culture that recognizes the immense value of volunteer work. In this article, we look at how volunteering operates in New Zealand, its significance to the country, the diverse range of volunteer activities, and how it offers new migrants an avenue for integration and engagement.
How Volunteering in New Zealand works
Volunteering New Zealand, a national organization, plays a crucial role in promoting and coordinating volunteerism across the country. It collaborates with local volunteer centres, community groups, and organizations to connect volunteers with meaningful opportunities. These volunteer centres serve as hubs, matching individuals with suitable projects, and providing support and guidance throughout the process.
The Importance of Volunteering
Volunteering is deeply ingrained in the fabric of New Zealand society and holds immense importance for multiple reasons:
- Making Communities Stronger: Volunteering promotes social cohesion and helps make strong, connected communities. By engaging in collective action, volunteers contribute to the overall well-being of society and promote a sense of belonging both for themselves and the people being helped.
- Addressing Social Challenges: Volunteers play a vital role in helping address social challenges, such as poverty, homelessness, environmental issues, and supporting vulnerable populations. Their efforts complement government initiatives, making a significant impact in these critical areas.
- Enhancing Well-being: Volunteering offers individuals an opportunity to enhance their own well-being through the satisfaction derived from helping others. It can help promote a sense of purpose, boosts self-esteem, and improves mental health.
The Diverse Activities of Volunteers
Volunteer work in New Zealand spans a wide spectrum of activities, allowing individuals to contribute according to their interests, skills, and availability. Some common volunteer roles include:
- Community Support: Volunteers engage in activities such as mentoring, supporting elderly citizens, providing childcare, or helping migrants get settled and integrate into their new country. These initiatives also contribute to the well-being and inclusivity of diverse communities.
- Environmental Conservation: New Zealand’s unique natural landscapes attract volunteers passionate about environmental sustainability. They participate in tree planting, pest control, wildlife conservation, beach cleanups, and ecological restoration projects. These contribute a huge amount towards protecting the country’s fragile ecosystems.
- Emergency Services: Volunteer firefighters, search and rescue teams, and first responders are vital to New Zealand’s emergency services. Their dedication and selflessness help save lives and safeguard communities all around the country.
- Sports and Recreation: Across New Zealand, volunteers are the backbone of a lot of sport and recreation. Volunteers support local sports clubs, events, and organizations, from coaching teams to managing logistics and promoting active lifestyles.
Volunteering and New Migrants
Volunteering can work both ways for new migrants to NZ.
Migrants can get lots of support from volunteer services that are targeted at helping settle migrant and refugee families after they emigrate to New Zealand. Help can range from setting new homes before people arrive through supporting their integration into the community around them.
Being a volunteer can also present a valuable opportunity for new migrants to integrate into New Zealand society. It can foster a sense of belonging while simultaneously helping develop essential skills and networks.
Here’s some examples of how volunteering can benefit new migrants:
- Language and Cultural Acquisition: Volunteering allows new migrants to practice and improve their language skills, boosting their confidence in interacting with the local community. It also offers a platform for sharing their cultural knowledge, enriching the understanding and appreciation of diversity.
- Professional Development: Engaging in volunteer work enables new migrants to gain valuable work experience, develop transferable skills, and build networks. These experiences can enhance their employability prospects, providing a steppingstone to future employment opportunities.
- Social Connections: Volunteering offers a chance for new migrants to forge social connections and build friendships with both locals and fellow volunteers. These networks provide support, advice, and a sense of community, helping them navigate their new environment.
- Cultural Exchange: As volunteers work alongside individuals from diverse backgrounds, they engage in cultural exchange, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation. This exchange of ideas and experiences helps break down barriers and promotes inclusivity.
Here at Woburn International, we feel good knowing that the people we help with the New Zealand immigration process and moving to New Zealand can get help with settling down, both from volunteer organisation and by becoming volunteers themselves.
Here’s to all the Volunteers across the country.
If you are a skilled person that we need in NZ who has a keen additional interest in volunteering by helping others in your spare time this could be a wonderful mix for your new lifestyle. Contact us here at Woburn International to see how we can help with the immigration process.