Volunteers Rock: Treasuring our Volunteers

National Volunteer week has just passed and we salute all our volunteers; those generous people who help in activities putting your unpaid time, energy and skills for the greater good.

Otaki, along with a myriad of other small towns, benefits from its volunteers. They are the backbone of community good, and without them Otaki would be a lesser place. They are what keeps our town functioning and we all benefit from their energy and commitment.

From St John’s, the Otaki Community Patrol, the Otaki Women’s Group, Rotary, Lions, FOTOR, Otaki Promotions Group to the various health, social and community groups they all operate on a wing and a prayer, individually or collectively, in public and behind the scenes to do some good. People like you and me and the person next door can, and do, volunteer — It’s people power and we can all do it.

Kapiti Coast District Council recognises the value of volunteers and has called for nominations for their Civic Awards aimed at recognising outstanding community service. Nominations are now closed but we will celebrate the winners at a gala event in August.

The National Volunteer website states that New Zealand is a leading nation in the contribution made by volunteers. A 2008 study of the New Zealand non-profit sector estimated that volunteers make up 67% of non-profit workforce equal to 133,799 full time positions, representing 6.4 per cent of the economically active population. And what’s more they contribute more than 270 million unpaid hours of work valued at over $3.3 billion to non-profit organisations! Today it contributes 2.6% of GDP.

Support our local volunteers and their organisations, whether it is pitching-in and planting a tree along the Otaki River, collecting for Daffodil Day (this August), riding the Community Patrol at night or by simply belonging — it is good for all of us and enhances our community and gives you warm fuzzies — and that’s good too. Organisations and their volunteers create positive change on many fronts — human rights, health, education, sports and recreation, social services and religion, arts and culture, emergency services, the environment and conservation, animal welfare, and community support — just some of the activities on an endless list. These organisations need your money, skills and energy. An anonymous quote says: ‘A volunteer action is like a stone thrown in a lake: its effect has the same direct impact. At the same time, like ripples, volunteer efforts reach out far and wide to improve communities. Undeniably volunteers rock’. So rock up to your local organisation or if you are unsure go to Volunteer Kapiti to find your place — (Otaki’s office is in the Arcade, open Wednesdays)

Thank you all.

Lloyd and Ann Chapman