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International Volunteer Day – this Sunday 5 December

Media Advisory

International Volunteer Day – this Sunday 5 December

Sunday 5 December is International Volunteer Day – the special day in the year designated by the United Nations back in 1985 to give recognition to and celebrate the immeasurable contribution volunteers make to communities throughout the world.

The aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake and the tragedy of the Pike River Mine disaster have highlighted the way in which volunteers come to the fore in such emergency situations to provide help and support in their communities and to the people most affected by the catastrophic events.

In Canterbury we saw the organised teams from civil defence, Red Cross, St John, Victim Support, church and other community groups alongside the many spontaneous volunteers all contributing. On the West Coast teams from some of these same organisations were and are quietly working behind the scenes to support the families, friends and wider community all grieving the loss of the 29 miners.

International Volunteer Day will provide a wonderful opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers who contributed during these two major events. At the same time we must also remember the one million and more New Zealanders who volunteer in many different ways in their communities throughout the year. Through their contribution, volunteers can be described as the life blood of our society.

There will be events taking place in many parts of New Zealand and some of them, organised by local volunteer centres, are listed on the page accompanying this advisory. Contact details of all volunteer centres can be found through this link Volunteer Centre.

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Nationally, the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Tariana Turia will be releasing new research data about volunteering and giving in other ways. It will include some insights into how active volunteers are in their lives.

Internationally, UN Volunteers and the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) will launch a year long event to mark the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers. The next 12 months will be a time to review and celebrate the achievements of the volunteering community throughout the world over the past 10 years and reflect on challenges ahead in the next decade. The UN has begun work on a global report on volunteering that will be released on 5 December 2011.

A new website, Giving for Good, is also being launched this week. It is the home site for the Generosity Hub whose purpose is to create a better awareness of giving in New Zealand. This encompasses all forms of giving – time (volunteering), money, in kind and through random acts of kindness. Volunteering NZ is a lead partner in the Generosity Hub together with Philanthropy NZ and the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

At the weekend Volunteering NZ will be opening its online registration service for the 2011 Volunteering “Conference Raising the Bar” which will be held in Wellington 23 and 24 May.

Details of celebrations being organised by Volunteer Centres throughout New Zealand

Auckland - Volunteering Auckland will be hosting a Pot Luck dinner for the volunteers and their families with music and a special activity for the guests.

Gisborne - Gisborne Volunteer Centre will be hosting a celebration for the volunteers and their families. It will include a barbeque, entertainment and the presentation of certificates to volunteers who have been nominated for recognition.

Whanganui - Volunteer Whanganui will be hosting its 2nd Volunteer Recognition Awards. There will be an article in the Midweek Newspaper covering the Awards.

Palmerston North - Volunteer Resource Centre Manawatu & Districts is organising an afternoon tea to celebrate the amazing contribution volunteers make to the local and international community.

Paraparaumu - Volunteer Kapiti will mark the International Volunteer Day by hosting a BBQ for all its volunteers and staff who helped the organisation in the last year.

Porirua - Volunteer Porirua will be hosting a Volunteers and Emergency Services seminar featuring Civil Defence, Fire Service, Coastguard Mana, Red Cross and Victim Support who will be talking about their programmes and how to get involved.

Lower Hutt - Volunteer Hutt together with the Mayor Ray Wallace is organising an afternoon tea to celebrate the IVD.

Wellington - To celebrate the energy and creativity of volunteers on International Volunteer Day, Volunteer Wellington is providing morning tea/coffee and scones. The Speakers include:
Ian McKinnon, Deputy Mayor Wellington, Melanie Fraser, local artist and policy graduate, James Shannon, law graduate recently returned from India and Vanisa Dhiru, Chair YWCA, trustee Trade Aid, Corporate Responsibility Advisor ANZ.

Blenheim - Volunteer Marlborough is hosting a Breakfast for Volunteer Managers and a volunteer from their organisation. The local MP and the Mayor as well as Ruth Gardner from Volunteering Canterbury will be the guest speakers.

Christchurch - Volunteering Canterbury is organising Youth Volunteering Awards. The Awards will be presented to young volunteers who've made an outstanding contribution to their community. Guest speaker is Hamish Riach, Crusaders' CEO.

For more details about these and other plans not listed contact the nearest Volunteer Centre.


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