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20 Year Anniversary of Volunteering Auckland

Hon Tariana Turia

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector - delivered on her behalf by Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central

Wednesday 15 September 2010; 5pm

Speech


20 Year Anniversary of Volunteering Auckland The Northern Club, 9 Princes Street, Auckland


Your Worship, Mayor of Manukau Len Brown

Your Worship, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams.

Board trustees; staff, volunteers and members of Volunteering Auckland.

I want to thank Dianne Denny, the chair of Volunteering Auckland, for the opportunity to join you in such an important celebration of Volunteering Auckland – Where Volunteering Begins.


Twenty years ago, staff working in the National Women's Delivery Unit raised funds from garage sales and raffles to develop a memorial garden to mark the closure of St Helen's.

The Auckland Regional Council purchased a block of land south of Orere Point, Tapapakanga (pronounced tar-par-par-kar-nga), and called for volunteers to help to keep the park in good shape.

Citizen Advocacy Auckland was established to provide advocacy and friendship through volunteers who take up the opportunity to support a person with an intellectual disability.

And of course in that same year, volunteers right across the width and breadth of the city, were actively engaged in events marking the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The 1990 Commission, in charge of co-ordinating and promoting activities for the sesquicentennial year, brought together provided ample opportunities for New Zealanders to demonstrate their support for the Maori–Pakeha partnership of tangata whenua (people of the land) and tangata tiriti (people of the Treaty).

In the midst of all of this activity, a new organisation was born.

Today we celebrate the origins of Volunteering Auckland. I am delighted to be here with you all to celebrate your history, and to congratulate – and thank - the community organisations, funders and supporters who came together to fulfil the needs of the community.

In our family, anniversaries are very important occasions to reflect on the journey we have shared; the excitement of beginnings, the challenges over time.

I only have to think of our wedding anniversary to know how every anniversary takes you back to the very foundations of your relationship together.

Our histories are so important. They guide us in lessons learnt, changes made along the way.

I want to make special mention of Dame Barbara Goodman who has been Patron of Volunteering Auckland for an incredible seventeen years; and some of the founding trustees of this organisation who are here tonight, and have been such a vital part of the pathway towards today.

Anniversaries also enable us to look around with wonder at all we have achieved – and the potential yet to be explored.

For my husband and I that story is definitely one all about our children, our mokopuna and in ever increasing numbers our great-grandchildren too.

For Volunteering Auckland, the next generation in evidence in some 400 community organisations looking for volunteers across this, the largest and most diverse city in New Zealand.

As an organisation you have been a powerhouse amongst the volunteer movement in New Zealand.

For the last fifteen years Volunteering Auckland has been fronted by Cheryll Martin who has really brought passion and enthusiasm to the job.

In the email that she sent to me, inviting me to this event, she included the statement by the philosopher, Albert Pike

What you do for yourself alone dies with you What you do for others and the world remains and is immortal

Cheryll lives and breathes this belief in everything she does here – and indeed that this organisation does.

On any single day Volunteering Auckland might be dealing with someone wanting to encourage and be a listener for Pasifika children reading aloud, a simple act of friendship needed for someone for whom English is a second language, and a young person to help deliver a “save a mate” drug education course.

That is between the calls requesting street appeal collectors, administrators, coaches, web designers, treasurers, gardeners, event co-ordinators and dog walkers.

And that’s just in the first hour of the day!

Volunteers and volunteering have given a distinctive character to our nation – in fact the generosity of New Zealanders was given international status last week when we were ranked number one alongside Australia in the World Giving Index 2010.

So where to from here, what will be the needs and opportunities for the next twenty years and beyond that?

The essentials can be encapsulated in three simple concepts: o the challenge of change o the need for resilience o the need for collaboration across the sector.

How do we know if we are meeting these challenges?

I am delighted to be able to use this opportunity, to share some research into who is volunteering and the patterns of volunteering.

I am pleased to release the ‘How do New Zealanders Give? – Quarterly Generosity Indicators’ report.

It also amazes me when I hear the statistics detailing the fact that 34% of the population aged ten years and over volunteered in 2009 – that’s an incredible 1.2 million New Zealanders.

Every year New Zealanders contribute more than 270 million hours of formal, unpaid work for non-profit organisations, which if we were to pay them, would be valued at almost $3.3 billion.

The report that I am releasing today, looks at how New Zealanders have contributed by volunteering, or making donations of money or goods on a quarterly basis. It also highlights volunteering hours and money donated each quarter – something we’ve never had before.

In a nutshell, it tells us that the • percentage of people volunteering has increased slightly; • the median hours have increased from 8 hours to 10 hours – so more people are doing more hours of volunteering; • and while the percentage of people donating money is stable the amount they donate has decreased from $40 in the December quarter to $35 in the March quarter.

I believe that it is vital that we measure the contribution.

If we assign a dollar value to volunteer labour and combine this with personal donations, we can estimate that 37% of the revenue of the community and voluntary sector comes from the communities themselves. Considering that revenue of the sector is now over $10 billion, this is quite a number!

I want to recognise and thank Nick Jones and Nielsen Media Research who had the insight to begin collecting data on volunteering and other forms of giving some years ago.

Nick then passed the mantel onto the Generosity Hub and the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector (in particular James King) who have successfully worked to produce the quarterly series we now have.

As all of us here can attest to, the generosity of New Zealanders keeps our community organisations thriving. As the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector I am determined to do what I can to help make it easier for our communities, and for organizations like this to support and managing volunteering activities.

VolunteerNet is an exciting volunteer recruitment tool that supports events of any size. By sitting alongside Volunteer Now it makes it easier for New Zealanders to get involved in volunteering and promote volunteering in general.

As everyone here in Auckland no doubt knows, the Rugby World Cup 2011 will be one of our biggest volunteer events in 2011 – the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer. It presents a huge challenge with some 7,000 volunteers needed onboard. And so I am hopeful that VolunteerNet - a digital tool specifically for events –will help to encourage, manage and support these volunteers.

VolunteerNet is currently run out of a government department, but it is an example of what a community organisation may take up and use. This is one way the government can support volunteering – to plant the seed and then let it grow.

The Generosity Hub is another example of joint work across sectors. The Hub, whose members include Philanthropy New Zealand, Volunteering New Zealand and the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector, aims to encourage individuals and businesses to participate in their communities and local community organisations by giving time, money, in-kind donations and acts of kindness.

The Hub has, among other things, had input into the development of Payroll Giving and the national assistance and awareness campaign.

Payroll giving is a new way people can donate directly from their pay to non-profit organisations and receive their tax credits back straight away. Payroll giving is voluntary for employers but I would like to encourage employers to take the opportunity to investigate it.

There are so many other initiatives I’d love to talk about, but perhaps just to highlight a few, I’d remind you of the

• The Department of Internal Affair’s Support for Volunteering Fund which every year provides $402,000 to the community to promote and support volunteering in New Zealand.

• Support for Volunteering funding to Māori, Pacific Island, and ethnic communities is for projects that support their particular concept of volunteering

• Digital Literacy and Connection funding, secured through Budget 2010, enables Computer Clubhouse and Computers in Home programmes to be delivered in communities, including of course, the new Clubhouse to be developed in Waitakere.

Finally, I bring us back to the face of volunteering – that as a nation we have been so mindful of in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes. The generosity of spirit evident over this last ten days will be the vital formula to rebuild the community and restore a sense of calm.

There is nothing more inspiring than a community working together for a common goal.

I want to thank everyone here, in Volunteering Auckland, for the difference you have made over the years. There are many challenges ahead as you consider the urgent need to address the diverse communities of our present and even more so, our future.

Thank you for the work you do, towards creating a more generous society, a more caring community, a more inclusive nation.

Tena tatou katoa.


ENDS

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