2014 Volunteer Awards recipients


Health Volunteer of the Year

Cancer Society Canterbury West Coast Division Rural Groups

This is the first time an overall award recipient has been chosen. All volunteers make an invaluable contribution, but this award is a way of recognising an individual or a team of volunteers who stand out.

The inaugural recipients of the Health Volunteer of the Year award are the Cancer Society of New Zealand - Canterbury West Coast Division Rural Groups.This team is also the winner of the Community or NGO Health Service Team Award.

These volunteers stood out for the impact they have made on the lives of hundreds of New Zealanders in South Island rural communities, over many years, with several groups more than 30 years old, and spread over great distances across Canterbury and the West Coast.

More than 400 volunteers make up the 16 Rural Groups. Whether it’s providing transport to treatment appointments, home visits, baking, meals or companionship during a difficult time, their support is greatly valued by cancer patients and their families.

The groups’ fundraising and awareness programmes also help the Cancer Society to deliver on its mission of reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in our community, a disease that affects one in three New Zealanders.


Health Care Provider Service Volunteers

Winner – Street Hospital, Wellington

The Street Hospital team works in mobile ambulances from 10 pm to 4 am every Friday and Saturday night during the summer months and for special events in Wellington.

The team deals with a range of health issues, including intoxication, cuts and bruises and more serious medical conditions.

Teams of up to eight are on patrol, helping anyone at risk, lightening the load for frontline ambulance staff in Wellington and reducing patient visits to Wellington Hospital.

Runner up – Meet and Greet Volunteers (Blue Coats)

The Meet and Greet Volunteers (Blue Coats) are based in Taranaki Base Hospital and dedicate their time to lending a friendly face and being the first point of contact for patients and visitors.

They help out-patients run more effectively by making sure visitors and patients to the hospital are in the right place and on time for their appointments, as well as setting up health awareness stalls.

Runner up – Manukau SuperClinic and Surgery Centre

Manukau SuperClinic and Surgery Centre has operated a group of volunteers for 16 years. This includes operating two courtesy coaches and providing extra support to patients within the Manukau community. The group also coordinates mail room duties, collecting and delivering mail to all locations on site. This includes delivering around 10,500 letters that come in weekly.


Health Care Provider Individual Volunteer

Winner – Joan McCardle, St Johns North Taranaki, Friends of the Emergency Department

In February 2011, Joan helped to establish Friends of the Emergency Department (FED) at Taranaki District Health Board (DHB). This team supports patients and families when they come into the emergency department, freeing up hospital staff to provide services in other areas.

Joan’s support has made a huge difference to the patient experience in the emergency department. She works tirelessly to ensure that the department has a FED on every shift and is committed to providing great support for emergency department patients. She fundraises for toys, creates rosters and recruits and trains new FED volunteers.

Joan puts a lot of time and effort into this volunteer role; so much so that it now requires very little input from the DHB and more and more people are stepping forward to volunteer with FED.

Runner up – Dave Reynolds, Wellington Free Ambulance

Dave Reynolds has been volunteering with the Wellington Free Ambulance service for more than 10 years.

Although he is now retired, he still volunteers regularly, including on frontline ambulance shifts and continues to develop his paramedic skills to best serve the community.

Dave’s continued dedication and ongoing commitment to the Wellington Free Ambulance has benefited many people – from sharing his knowledge with new staff to providing a consistent level of patient care and empathy.

Runner up – Denise Roil, Volunteer Gardener, Jervois Residential Care

Denise Roil volunteers her time to take care of the gardens at Jervois Residential Care.

Denise, a keen gardener, retired last year and wanted to give something back to the community. Understanding how important gardening was to her own 93-year-old mother, Denise wanted to create something the residents at Jervois Residential Care could be proud of.

Many of the residents at Jervois Residential Care kept beautiful gardens when they lived independently, so Denise takes the time to listen and discuss their ideas to involve them in the landscaping of the garden.


Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers

Winner – Cancer Society Rural Groups (overall winners of Health Volunteer of the Year, 2014)

The Cancer Society Rural Groups volunteers have been providing support to people living with cancer in the South Island for many years, with several groups operating for more than 30 years. They comprise four lead centres and 16 rural groups, with over 400 volunteers spread throughout the Canterbury and West Coast region.

With large distances to travel in their division, the Cancer Society relies heavily on the local ‘grass roots’ support to deliver some important services.

The volunteers offer a wide range of assistance, providing transport to treatment appointments, home visits, baking, meals and companionship during a difficult time.

The groups’ fundraising and awareness programmes also help the Cancer Society to deliver on its mission of reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in our community.

Runner up – Kawerau Bloke’s Shed

The Bloke’s shed in Kawerau, is a collaborative effort between Alzheimers Eastern Bay of Plenty and Mountain View Rest Home. The shed is a place where men who are living with dementia and volunteers can go to socialise, ‘have a cuppa’, develop friendships and share ideas and skills.

The shed was developed to support people with dementia, in particular any men who were feeling isolated and lonely as they progressed through their illness.

The volunteers work hard to provide a safe environment for men in various stages of dementia to form friendships and share skills, while providing a welcome break for their families.

The volunteers develop a strong awareness for both the illness and how best to work with each person’s abilities.

Runner up – Wellington Riding for the Disabled Association, Senior Vollies

There is a highly committed team of volunteers at Wellington Riding for the Disabled Association, ranging in age from 16 to 75. The group provides horse riding therapy to people with disabilities.

To be a volunteer, members first need to learn how to handle and care for a horse, and then they learn about the medical conditions of the riders and how best to support the coaches to provide a safe, quality riding experience.

This shows the dedication of the team at Wellington Riding for the Disabled, with many often using their free time to attend training courses.


Community or NGO Health Service Individual Volunteers

Winner – Liz McClure, Plunket Canterbury

Liz joined the New Zealand Plunket Council as the Canterbury representative two weeks before the February earthquake in 2011. She was elected as the Canterbury area president, leading a board of 6 with 48 Plunket rooms and over 400 volunteers. As well as post-earthquake recovery work, Liz has been mentoring new board members and providing support to other Plunket presidents in the Canterbury region.

She is recognised by the Plunket community as the link between the new governance-focused board and the ‘doing’ Plunket groups in the region.

The award acknowledges all Liz’s work at Plunket including leading and inspiring volunteers, enhancing access to more families and ensuring Plunket remains relevant to the diverse group of people they work with.

Runner up – Anne Devereux, Le Leche League, Porirua

Anne Devereux has been volunteering for La Leche League since 1972 (42 years). She initially started offering mother-to-mother breastfeeding support in her local community and has had many roles in her time with the organisation. Anne currently ensures there are enough volunteers to continue La Leche’s work with mothers in the community.

Runner up – Bev Winiata, Arohanui Hospice in Levin

Bev started volunteering for Arohanui Hospice back in 2006, in the hospice’s inpatient laundry.

She later moved to help in the hospice’s Levin shop and assisted terminally ill patients with arts and crafts activities.

A quiet achiever who doesn’t like a fuss, Bev once volunteered 476 hours in just three months, making her Arohanui Hospice’s most dedicated volunteer.


Māori and Pacific Health Service Volunteers

Winner – Community Gout Champions, Manukau

Community Gout Champions was created over four years ago to help people in the Manukau community who were suffering from gout. Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis (joint inflammation).

Over the past year, the team has developed and presented information on gout, including a ‘how-to manage it’ approach to a range of events.

Community Gout Champions have increased the Māori and Pacific referrals to Arthritis New Zealand for whānau and friends who are seeking further advice on gout.


Maori/Pacific Health Service Individual Volunteers

Winner – Charlie Peters

Charlie gives back to others through his work with Body Positive and the Auckland City Mission.

He helps Maori and Pacific people living with HIV negotiate the health system, taking them to appointments and providing support.

He has also helped ensure Body Positive as an organisation is supportive of and welcoming to Maori and Pacific people.


Youth Team Volunteers

Winner – Starjam, Wellington

Starjam empowers young people with disabilities by providing them with performance opportunities The young participants (6–25 years of age) known as ‘Jammers’ come to workshops run by two volunteers, who encourage them to get involved in singing, dancing and playing instruments and celebrate their successes, with the aim of improving their confidence.

The volunteers also help run monthly activities and social events, making a big difference to the lives of young people with disabilities.

A recent example of their team approach to supporting one another includes the group’s participation in Relay For Life, where the Jammers and volunteers walked for 17 hours in support of the Cancer Society.

Runner up - Hutt International Boys School (HIBS)

Over the past 12 years, Hutt International Boys School has made a huge contribution to the Cancer Society through its participation in Relay For Life. This year alone, students raised $79,000 to support the society. The students have a strong appreciation for how cancer affects one in three New Zealanders, often though personal experiences.

In addition to the fundraising run and attending the candlelight ceremony to remember loved ones lost to cancer, students have volunteered their time to help with the many logistical tasks associated with an event of this size.


Long Service Volunteers

Winner – Mary Hall, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, Auckland City Area

For over 40 years Mary has supported babies, their families, and the wider community through her contribution to Plunket. Her willingness to take on and commit to various roles has helped Plunket deliver a variety of services, including parenting support and education.

Mary has also been involved in project work including the original Pool Fencing Act and various Cot Death Prevention projects.

She ran the Auckland District Koha Car Seat Scheme for about 10 years, ensuring families had suitable car restraints, and has helped the Police run various child restraint campaigns.

She has also worked with local councils, the fire service and SafeKids on numerous safety projects.

Runner-up – Vicki Mathias, St John, Twizel

When Vicki, a nurse at Oamaru Hospital, began volunteering for St John in 1983 she had four young children and a team of babysitters that could be called on urgently if she was needed.

She was first on the scene of the 1994 Mount Cook bus crash that saw 26 of the 47 passengers hospitalised. When the Christchurch earthquake struck in February 2011she went straight to the scene and spent four days providing service.

She has also helped the Twizel community to become more resilient in case of emergency and has provided first aid cover at many events. She has maintained the St John roster for the past 15 years and adds her name if there is a shortfall.

Both experienced officers and new recruits to St John appreciate the mentoring role that Vicki provides. The welfare of the officers is a priority for her and she personally undertakes to check up on staff after stressful incidents.

Runner-up – Clare Richards, Arthritis New Zealand

Clare has been a volunteer for Canterbury Arthritis Society and Arthritis New Zealand since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1980.

Over that time she has provided support and advice to a large number of people, despite her condition requiring she have multiple joint replacements and other surgery. This has included providing group and telephone assistance via the Peer Support Network.

She has also been a valuable source of knowledge for Arthritis New Zealand staff, including educating people on what it is like living with, and managing, her condition.

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