Today is International Volunteer Day, a United Nations-led initiative when organisations around the world and across New Zealand recognise the immense effort and value of volunteers.

This year’s theme, “volunteers build resilient communities,” focuses on local community volunteers – who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.

I am extremely proud of the vital and varied role our volunteers play in building resilient communities across New Zealand.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers for everything you do to help keep people in New Zealand safe. I’d also like to thank you for providing another year of excellent service to our communities.

I also want to recognise the support that our career and civilian staff provide to our volunteer brigades, through training, operational and administrative support, thank you.

We’re one of New Zealand’s largest volunteer organisations. Our 11,000+ volunteers are some of the almost two million people who volunteer across many sectors. 

Our volunteers play an incredibly important role in keeping New Zealand communities safe 24/7, 365 days every year, from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and everywhere in between. They attend around 75,000 incidents every year – not just firefighting, but also dealing with hazardous substances, rescuing trapped people, urban search and rescue, medical emergencies, maritime incidents, weather events and disasters.

New Zealand would be quite a different place without the tens of thousands of people who make their communities stronger through the work they do volunteering. Being a volunteer in Fire and Emergency is a mix of the predictable and the extremely unpredictable.  You can’t plan for when you’ll get called out, and neither can your loved ones.

We recognise that without the support, involvement and sacrifices of our volunteers, their families and employers, we wouldn’t be able to provide New Zealanders with the help needed in an emergency.

Thank you once again for your time, professionalism and your commitment.

International Volunteer Day gift

To mark International Volunteer Day 2018, and as a thank you for all your hard work over the last year, we are issuing all our volunteers with a commemorative t-shirt. This year we wanted to give our volunteers the opportunity to choose what their gift should be. So we ran a challenge on our crowdsourcing platform Beacon to do exactly that and a t-shirt was selected as the favourite gift by our “crowd” from a range of ideas. It has been specially designed for our volunteers. I know some people are yet to get the size that fits them, but everyone will have one by early in the New Year.

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