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University Of Canterbury Student Volunteers Connect With The Waimakariri Community


On Saturday, July 29th, over a hundred spirited students from the University of Canterbury came together for a morning of inspiring student-led volunteering in the Waimakariri district. This took place as part of the UC Student Volunteer Army’s (SVA) annual winter volunteering event, “Connect the Community | Hononga Tūao.” Connect the Community is all about forging ties between students and the wider Canterbury community through the power of volunteering.

Students participated in two large projects with an environmental focus, alongside Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust and Silverstream Reserve. At Tūhaitara Coastal Park, volunteers dedicated themselves to planting native species and releasing established plants from invasive weeds. Meanwhile, at Silverstream Reserve, the volunteers were hard at work planting native trees and removing invasive blackberry vines, to open up a beautiful area by the stream at the West End of the reserve.

Tree planting at Tūhaitara Coastal Park on a sunny day made for a great day out. The passion of the park rangers was infectious, and everyone was invested in the work. It was incredible getting through days’ worth of work for the rangers in just a few hours with the collective energy of all the wonderful volunteers.

The mahi performed at Silverstream Reserve during the weekend was particularly special, a location with a history of collaboration with the UC SVA dating back to 2016! During this time, the SVA has helped to plant and care for thousands of native seedlings at Silverstream. This event helped continue to foster the relationship between the two groups, and introduce a new generation of student volunteers to the amazing work being performed by Silverstream community volunteers. The students embarked on a mission to continue making a positive impact - getting straight to work with smiles all around. In turn, they were treated to Silverstream’s much-loved home baking at morning tea time. It was a lovely morning with student volunteers and Silverstream community members alike enjoying the morning sun and connecting over their shared mahi.

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This year's edition of "Connect the Community | Hononga Tūao" saw a powerful collaboration with "Lads Without Labels," emphasizing shared values of mental well-being, community, and caring for the world around us. Lads Without Labels student exec joined the project with Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust, giving the two executives a great opportunity to promote the benefits of volunteering to our mental wellbeing, particularly in its ability to get us out into green spaces. To celebrate our student community, a number of other UC student clubs were also showcased at the event. CoffeeSoc provided hot beverages to fuel volunteers during the frosty start of the morning, while PsycSoc and the Compost Club provided activities and educational resources at the afternoon Hub Space.

We would like to thank our amazing sponsors for this event. Without the support of the University of Canterbury, this event would not have been possible. Volunteers enjoyed kai provided by New World and Growers Direct, with energy provided by Red Bull. The hot lunch from Bacon Bros and State of Play, with special thanks to Lads Without Labels, was much appreciated by volunteers and proved to be a highlight of the afternoon.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or to arrange interviews. To capture the spirit of this heartening event, take a look at the attached photos accompanying this article. Together, the University of Canterbury students have showcased the remarkable impact of uniting for a shared purpose, fostering connections, and embodying the essence of community spirit.


The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) was founded as a student-led club at the University of Canterbury in response to the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010-2011. They mobilised thousands of young people to volunteer and assist with clean up. The organisation has grown into a nationwide civic education charity focused on making service a part of student life by inspiring and motivating young people to be the change in their community. SVA is proud to lead more than 65,000 primary, secondary and tertiary students nationwide.

Kia tūao, e tū ki te ao.
Be a volunteer, stand up in the world!

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