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Cheers Volunteers! Ruben Wiki fronts new campaign

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for Sport and Recreation

10 February 2006 Media Statement

Cheers Volunteers! Ruben Wiki fronts new campaign

A nationwide campaign aimed at addressing a shortage of volunteers in sport and recreation is kicking off at Super 14 matches tonight with rugby league star Ruben Wiki as the frontman, Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

The ‘Cheers Volunteers’ campaign by government agency SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) aims to raise awareness of the importance of volunteers. It is the first stage of a broader Volunteers Campaign in sport and recreation, aimed at recognising, recruiting and retaining volunteers.

"A big thanks to Ruben Wiki for giving his time to front the 'Cheers Volunteers' campaign. Volunteers form the backbone of community sport and recreation– and play a crucial role in keeping our young people active and helping our athletes advance to world class competition," Trevor Mallard said.

"We have around 500,000 volunteers devoting their free time and energy to sport and recreation currently, but we need more and that is what this campaign is all about.

"Whether they are coaches, administrators, fundraisers or mum and dad taking a car load of kid’s to their weekly game or activity – volunteers are crucial to the future of sport and recreation in New Zealand, and also to our wellbeing as a country.

"That's why the Labour-led government is committed to supporting this important part of sport and recreation.

"Many organisations are reporting a shortage of volunteers and this has become a major concern across the sport and recreation sector.

"Through this campaign, the government aims to raise awareness of how valuable volunteers are in community sport and recreation, while also finding out more information to identify and then address any barriers to volunteering.

"Research will be carried out to find out what makes volunteers tick and what motivates sporting volunteers, and the campaign also includes the development of resources to help volunteers," Trevor Mallard said.


Kiwis captain Ruben Wiki comments on the Volunteers Campaign:

“I got so much support from volunteers when I started playing rugby league. They are such an important part of sport, especially at a grass-roots level – so it’s great to be part of this campaign,” Ruben Wiki said.

Questions and answers - SPARC's Volunteers Campaign 2006

Why are volunteers important?
Without volunteers, sport and other activities simply wouldn’t happen. Organisations rely heavily on volunteers to provide ongoing opportunities to enable others to participate, enjoy and achieve. Volunteers contribute in many different ways – as coaches, officials, administrators, grounds markers, uniform washers, guides, transporters and tea-makers. Every one has an important part to play.

How many people are currently volunteering in the sport and recreation sector?
Each year approximately 500,000 New Zealanders help run sport and recreation on an entirely unpaid basis and provide support to the 41,000 paid administrators.

Where does the initiative come from?
In the 2005/06 Budget the government approved additional funding of $6.5 million over four years to SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) for developing and implementing a strategy for volunteers in sport and recreation. The SPARC Volunteers Campaign includes a research project, resource development and a promotional campaign.

Why a promotional campaign?
The campaign is an opportunity to publicly recognise the contribution of those 500,000 volunteers and to raise the profile of the work volunteers do to keep sport and recreation happening. The campaign is aimed at encouraging existing volunteers to stick with it and at inspiring new volunteers.

What are the key elements of the Cheers Volunteers campaign?
The promotional campaign features a Cheers Volunteers big screen advertisement which will air at New Zealand Super 14 matches and in cinemas during targeted movies. There will also be magazine ads, as well as a nationwide radio promotion. This campaign will thank everyone from coaches, referees and administrators to fundraisers and mums and dads who drive kids to games and practice.

What is known about volunteers in New Zealand’s sport and recreation sector?
There is little research available which is why the campaign includes extensive research into the motivations and barriers for volunteering in sport and recreation. This will provide an understanding of the terms and conditions under which New Zealanders volunteer in sport and recreation. The research will be available later in the year.

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