You probably know someone who volunteers, or you are a volunteer yourself. Saturday 5th December marks International Volunteer Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the many volunteers in our Coromandel communities and to say, “cheers volunteers”.
The day was established by the United Nations in 1985 and the theme for this year is “Your world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!”
New Zealanders are recognised for their generosity and volunteering ethic. On average there are just over 400,000 kiwis volunteering every week for a charity, giving over 1.5 million hours to our communities
Jo Goodhew, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister.
Volunteering in the Coromandel
Local volunteers in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay provide an incredible amount of their time, energy, and skills across a wide range of projects and activities. There is no doubt that they are a big part of making our Coromandel communities a better place to live.
Nationally New Zealanders are amongst the most generous in the world when it comes to volunteering and helping others. I am proud to say that here on the Coromandel we are ranked No 5 with numbers of volunteers according to census figures. That equates to nearly 19% of the population aged 15 or over.
Scott Simpson, MP for the Coromandel.
Volunteers in Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay assist with social, environmental, sports, arts and cultural, emergency services, advocacy, churches and events activities to name just a few!
Spotlight on Local Volunteers
Three not for profit groups in the Mercury Bay spoke to All About Whtianga about the role that volunteers play in their organisations.
A Taste of Matarangi – a vision to celebrate all things local
A dedicated team of community volunteers who had a vision to organise a festival for the community and to fundraise for a local charitable cause started A Taste of Matarangi.
The first festival in 2013 received an overwhelmingly positive response from festivalgoers, the local community, media and local and regional businesses. This encouraged the event committee to continue planning the event annually and it is now in its fourth year.
"Volunteers are vital and their help is needed with the set up of an event of this size. The last three years accomplishments would not have been possible without the pool of volunteers who offered their skills, talent, time and support towards this festival" says Bronwyn Ririnui, Event Coordinator A Taste of Matarangi.
Since its inception the festival has successfully raised $25,000 to support the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. The event committee are now well underway for planning the next festival to be held on the 9th April.
Volunteer contributions are what makes this community a community - people coming together for a good cause, because they know it makes a difference.
Bronwyn Ririnui, Event Coordinator A Taste of Matarangi.
Find out more about the festival and book your tickets here.
Mercury Bay Tennis Club – remarkable efforts for over a century
The Mercury Bay Tennis Club has been supported by an enthusiastic group of local volunteers since it was formed in 1898. A grass paddock on Buffalo Beach Road provided the original tennis courts for the club until it made several moves to its current site at Albert Street.
The club supports junior tennis, school tennis, business house evenings and open club nights where everyone is welcome.
“For a small voluntary club with two courts, it is remarkable what has been achieved over the past 117 years,” says Peter Grant, Treasurer Mercury Bay Tennis Club. “With the advent of professionalism in sport we need to occasionally remind our national associations the need to acknowledge these small clubs to keep sports active throughout our communities”
The game is always bigger than one person
Peter Grant, Treasurer Mercury Bay Tennis Club.
Find out about the Mercury Bay Tennis Club here.
Mercury Bay Museum – nurturing our heritage
The award winning Mercury Bay Museum is not only packed full of fascinating exhibitions, it is also supported by a team of very friendly and knowledgeable volunteer staff who are on hand to greet each visitor through the door. The Museum hosts over 13 core exhibits that have both local and international significance. The Mercury Bay Museum is located in the heart of Whitianga by the wharf and attracts over 6,000 visitors through the door each year.
A team of over 27 volunteers support the museum in roles such as front of house, exhibition maintenance and development, education visits, special museum events and information and record keeping for the collections.
Museum volunteers have a passion for history and meeting new people, many are also members of the Mercury Bay Historical Society. Volunteers share their skills and also have the opportunity to make new friends and to learn skills from being involved at the museum.
A recent visit to Auckland War Memorial Museum, sponsored by the Community Organisation Grants Scheme was a great way to say thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, and proved to be an extremely popular social and educational day out.
Ron Morgan, Museum Curator is always keen to hear from new people who may want to volunteer as he explains; “There are many untapped skills in our community that would be great to use in our museum. We are always pleased to hear from members of our community who may have a few hours or more to spare to join our team.”
Volunteers bring an incredible amount of skills and engagement to our community facility. Volunteering also provides the volunteer opportunities for social engagement, especially for new people to our community.
Ron Morgan, Mercury Bay Museum Curator.
Contact the Mercury Bay Museum here.
Want to become a volunteer?
There may be a group or volunteering opportunity that is just waiting for you!
See the great list of local clubs and organisations in the Local Info guide, which includes opportunities for you to get involved in the following types of groups:
- Arts and Culture
- Community and Social Clubs
- Emergency Services
- Environmental Groups
- Sports and Recreation
- Welfare Organisations
A few more thoughts on volunteering
One of the interesting facts to come out during National Volunteer Week is the report that notes the major impact seniors have as volunteers. By 2051, seniors will be contributing $35 billion in unpaid and voluntary work, up from around $8.5 billion in 2011. Too often we hear our ageing population described as a burden. That attitude is objectionable and completely wrong. Many of the volunteer organisations which help families and enrich communities across the country rely on senior’s dedication and commitment.
Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel
I firmly believe that through generosity we enrich our own life as well as those we are helping. Today is a reminder of how we can use this generosity to give back to society.
Jo Goodhew, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist.
Raise the profile of your Not for Profit community group
All About Whitianga is proud to sponsor web pages for "not for profit organisations" in the Mercury Bay area. Please contact Cathy to discuss how we can assist a group you may be associated with.