2015 Volunteer Awards recipients

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Health Volunteer of the Year

Overall Winner – Cancer Core, University of Otago

The recipient of the Health Volunteer Award for 2015 is Cancer Core, a small group of Otago University students formed in 2014 to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer amongst their peers.

Their inaugural University Relay for Life – the first run by any New Zealand university – attracted more than 1000 students. The event raised awareness about cancer and more than $60,000 for the Cancer Society’s Otago and Southland Division.

The team is also the recipient of the Youth Health Service Volunteer Team Award.


Health Care Provider Service Volunteers

Winner – Christchurch Hospital Volunteer Way Finding Team

The 50 members of the Christchurch Hospital Volunteer Way Finding Team have been helping people navigate the hospital during its major redevelopment and earthquake repairs. On-site parking has been replaced with shuttle services and, with many of the entrances and exits closed, the team provides an invaluable service. The Volunteer Way Finding Team has been the welcoming face, helping people to get to where they need to go and, if needed, supporting them while they are there.

Runner-up – Surgery Centre and Medical Records Volunteers – Manukau SuperClinic

The 54 volunteers at the Manukau SuperClinic and Surgery Centre are the face of customer service.

Their roles include helping patients and their families with courtesy coaches, mail and mail room support, records support, and meeting and greeting patients who attend appointments and surgery.

This volunteer service has been operating for the past 17 years and many other district health boards have modelled their programme on this one.

Runner-up – Age Concern Counties Manukau Accredited Visiting Service

The Age Concern Counties Manukau Accredited Visiting Service matches volunteer visitors with isolated older people.

There are currently around 170 clients matched to volunteer visitors who provide a link to the outside world and are sometimes the only visitor they see.

The volunteer visitors also ensure vulnerable older people or their carers are able to access help when needed and link them to the relevant services.

Demand for this service has tripled over the last five years.

Runner-up – Volunteer Stroke Scheme

The Volunteer Stroke Scheme provides a specialised service for people across the Auckland area who have communication difficulties following a stroke. It is unique in New Zealand.

The volunteer programme was established in 1982 and has provided 33 years of continuous service. The team currently has 128 volunteers.

The trained volunteers provide clients with the opportunity to experience effective communication and social interaction, building their confidence and skills to participate in social and community life.


Health Care Provider Individual Winner

May Norris has committed hundreds of hours to working with people who have communication difficulties following a stroke.

May is a volunteer with the Volunteer Stroke Scheme in Auckland and works with people individually and also facilitates stroke conversation groups.


Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers

Winner – Oncology Support Volunteers

Across the country over 110 Cancer Society Oncology Support Volunteers work alongside health professionals in the oncology department of nine hospitals. Together, the volunteers cover 67 shifts each week. They provide a supportive environment for cancer patients, their families and caregivers and are there for them during their assessment, treatment and follow-up appointments.


Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners

Winner – Gaye Fell

Gaye began visiting patients at Arohanui Hospice in 2006 with her dog Truffle for pet therapy. She soon realised she wanted to become involved as a volunteer in the day-to-day running of the hospice and has provided administration support for many years. Gaye is also one of the hospice’s biggest fundraising volunteers, helping to raise over $100,000 during her time at the hospice.

Runner-up – Ora Vidak

Ora has been a volunteer for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand since 1999. Over that time she’s provided transport, been involved in fundraising and most recently taken the lead on the ‘Meals for Carers’ programme, preparing healthy balanced meals for families and caregivers who may have limited time and budget.

Runner-up – Robert (Bob) Marjoribanks

Bob is a volunteer at Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty. He is constantly upskilling and training to develop skills, tips and techniques that will further assist him in his role as a patient and family support volunteer. He recently completed a tertiary study course in dementia and related behaviours.

Bob provides transport when required for hospital treatment. He knows when to call for medical intervention and how to support a recently bereaved person.

Runner-up – Sue Pearson

People living on the North Shore can be very grateful to have had the volunteer input of Sue Pearson over the past 25 years.

Sue set up the North Shore Day Support Group and has been coordinating it ever since. She has recently established a second support group and helps Diabetes New Zealand in many other ways.


Māori/Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Winner

Kiriata Matthews has been on the Kotahitanga Kaumātua Committee for many years and is now chair of the committee. She has a passion for the wellbeing of kaumātua and activities or programmes that reduce isolation and increase wellbeing for older people. As well as having ‘every day’ conversations and interactions with the region’s kaumātua, she runs day programmes that incorporate exercise and guitar music.

As well as various fundraising activities, she is also involved in hospital visits to sing to the sick.


Youth Individual Winner

Anna Hocquard, who herself has had cancer, offers her help to other young people on their cancer journey, visiting hospital and welcoming new members to CanTeen. She sits on the CanTeen Board and other governance roles, where she helps ensure a young person’s perspective is heard. She also helps with fundraising and the recruitment of new volunteers.


Long Service Volunteers

Winner – Eileen Curd

Eileen Curd is Arohanui Hospice’s longest serving volunteer. She began supporting the hospice in its first year, in 1990. Every Tuesday for 24 years she has helped the unit with cleaning and other activities. No one can remember her ever having a sick day and she is always bright and happy.

Runner-up – Eric Carter

Eric Carter completed 51 years of service as a Volunteer Ambulance Officer in May 2014 and still continues to serve the Te Kuiti community. He is described by his colleagues as ‘a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge regarding St John Te Kuiti’.

Runner-up – Jennifer Clarke

Jennifer is a founder member of Diabetes NZ Wanganui Branch and has remained a member for nearly 40 years.

During this time she has educated people in various community settings about diabetes, helped with transport to social meetings, organised guest speakers, sat on stalls for the Annual Diabetes Awareness Week and monthly at the Riverside Market. She is also the archivist for Diabetes NZ Wanganui Branch.

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