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Poignant TV images a message for International Volunteer Day

2 December 2010

Media Release

Poignant TV images a message for International Volunteer Day 5 December

TV images of Greymouth students giving their time to prepare for the national memorial service for the 29 miners lost at Pike Creek give special poignancy to this year’s marking of International Volunteer Day, Sunday 5 December, said Gillian Peacock, chairperson of Volunteering New Zealand.

The very significant contribution which volunteers have made both in Canterbury after the earthquake and on the West Coast in the Pike River coalmine tragedy has demonstrated very publicly how New Zealanders are prepared to volunteer to help and support others in special need.

“This Sunday, 5 December, on International Volunteer Day, we all have the opportunity to publicly fully acknowledge and thank them for what they have contributed,” said Ms Peacock

“At the same time, it is equally important to recognise the day-to-day, year round contribution made by more than one million New Zealanders who volunteer across all sectors of society. They are the lifeblood of so many parts of our community.”

Recent data shows that volunteers are involved in all non-profit sectors. The 2007 Report on the Non-profit sector highlighted just how dramatically this is so when it stated that 90% of the 97,000 non-profit organisations have no paid staff – they are operated entirely by volunteers. The largest group of volunteers are in the sports, arts and recreation sector, followed by the education sector and then health and the social services sectors.

In addition several national government agencies are directly involved in volunteering, organising and managing their own volunteer programmes – the Department of Conservation, the Corrections Department, NZ Fire Service and Police are prime examples. Local councils also have volunteer programmes and have responsibility for recruiting, training and managing their volunteer civil defence teams.

“We should also acknowledge the contribution being made by groups and individuals from businesses who contribute their time, skills and energy in their local communities”, said Ms Peacock.

“Volunteering permeates every facet of our society and on Sunday the whole New Zealand community has the chance to acknowledge that,’ she said.

There will be events taking place throughout New Zealand to mark International Volunteer Day. Many organisations are having special gathering to thank their own volunteer teams. Other events will include a forum on emergency services volunteers and recognition awards events. More details are available on the Events Calendar on www.volunteeringnz.org.nz

ENDS

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