Tēnā koutou to all at this hectic time of year.
Ngā mihi maioha for all that has been done this year. 2019 has been incredibly challenging in a lot of ways. Aotearoa has been in the international news several times and our strength as a country has been tested. Throughout all of these tests, there have been volunteers. From people supporting those affected, to those providing respite and standing up for others, there is barely anything that happens in Aotearoa that hasn’t needed volunteers.
Of course, behind the volunteers are the volunteer managers. How could volunteers do their work without someone there to support them. Professional oversight is so incredibly important in all the work that volunteers do – without it, there is the potential to do more harm than good. While there has been an increase in the amount of bureaucracy that is needed for volunteer roles, this has been put there to give everyone the rights and services that they need, or need to deliver. We work together, regardless of whether those managers are paid or not, to give the best outcomes we possibly can. These volunteer managers often go above and beyond, doing their own volunteer work outside of the working hours. Kia kaha to all those who see the need, and commit to it. You are all heroes in your own right.
Lastly, we have the people supporting volunteers and volunteer managers. Our family. Our friends. Our work colleagues. To be a spouse or child of a volunteer is to be a volunteer yourself. It is to support that person through their endeavours, to be their sounding board, to celebrate their successes with them. It is to drop them off to where they need to go, or to bake a cake for their fundraiser. It is to give up spending time with them so that they can spend time with someone else who needs it just as much. These people, the whanau, the māreikura, they are the people we need to thank more often. You give as much as any volunteer, and for that, we thank you. We thank you for your support, your love and your kindness. Ngā mihi maioha.
We look forward to 2020 here at Volunteering Otago. Great change has been afoot in the last few months, and 2020 looks set to be huge and magnificent and amazing. We can’t wait to get into it. But in the meantime, we will have a rest. We’ll see you all on the 13th of January, Mere Kirihimete, kia manahau!
Noho ora mai.