The many thousands of people who give their time, energy and skill to help others is being celebrated in National Volunteer Week.
Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew is encouraging people to take part:
“This is a week, co-ordinated annually by Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ), which is set aside to celebrate the contribution volunteers make in their communities,” says Mrs Goodhew.
This year’s theme is “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata.” Translated as “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.”
The Maori proverb refers to co-operation and the combination of resources to get ahead. It suggests that if we pool our ideas, with equal respect for all parties, we will get a better result and everyone will benefit.
“I commend VNZ for selecting such an appropriate proverb. It really captures the essence of volunteering,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“Kiwis like to muck-in and help-out. New Zealanders are among the best volunteers in the world with nearly a third of us volunteering collectively about 270 million hours every year.
“Our volunteers freely donate their time and energy to keep our communities running. They are the backbone of our sports and social groups, search and rescue organisations, and the arts and cultural sector.
“This government recognises the significant contribution of volunteers and is working to make resources and support more readily available to community organisations.”
An active volunteer sector is a sign of a healthy communities and society.
Volunteers work with and for people in churches, interest groups, service and sports clubs and a whole range of other interest groups and organisations, including political parties.
Working in the latter isn’t usually regarded as community service but it is.
Wanting to make a positive difference is what motivates most members and candidates.
There’s always been an exception to this with paid union people adding to or replacing volunteers in parties on the left.
The Internet Mana Party has made an unwelcome addition to that – its candidates are being paid.
The problem with that is it’s impossible to know where their loyalties lie – with the party or the paymaster.