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Disaster Welfare Support Team


New Zealand Red Cross


Social Support




Invercargill, Gore

The New Zealand Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilising the power of humanity and enhancing community resilience. The Red Cross Fundamental Principles guide all they do, whether they're helping people in New Zealand communities or providing urgent relief in an international disaster.

Their Disaster Welfare Support Teams (DWST) in Invercargill and Gore are made up of highly committed, multi-skilled emergency service volunteers. They have a wide variety of professional backgrounds including scientists, teachers, truck drivers, students, retail assistants, nurses and doctors who train to deliver essential services during and immediately following a disaster. Recently they were deployed to Te Anau, Mataura and Gore for multiple days in the 2020 February Southland Floods, as essential workers delivering food parcels around Southland during COVID lockdown and also during flooding in Otatara in October 2020.

They are looking to grow the team and encourage anyone interested in Disaster Response or Disaster Preparedness or wanting to help during disasters to get in touch!

They are a tight-knit group who train regularly (on a Monday night in Invercargill) and welcome newcomers. They usually respond to emergencies in Southland, but may travel throughout New Zealand supporting other Red Cross teams when needed. Their response team practices a variety of skills and offers many development opportunities from comprehensive- and psychological-first aid, personal preparedness and radio communications, to driving the Disaster Welfare Support vehicles and ground-based rescue. They train regularly to ensure they are best prepared to support the community when needed.

Response tasks may include: welfare support, community needs assessments, first aid, reconnaissance, ground-based rescue, and casualty handling. The role is a great opportunity to develop your own skills and give back to community whilst being part of a tight-knit team.


Ability to deploy for up to 5 days with potential travel days added either side, when responding to emergency events.
Must undertake a Police check.
Good level of fitness.
Reliable, committed to attending training sessions and event support for at least one year.
Preferred driver's license.
Demonstrate a commitment to meet the needs of those requiring assistance.
Commit to the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Have the ability to work with a diverse range of people.
Be able to maintain good spirits, even in adverse working conditions.
Aged 18+ (or at least 16 years old with parental consent and restrictions on deployment).

A Police background check is required for this role.

Time commitment

The Invercargill DWST team trains weekly on a Monday evening.
The Gore DWST team trains fortnightly on a Tuesday evening.
There are also some weekend volunteering opportunities on occasion with supporting community events or joint training exercises.

Please note - our volunteers need to be available to deploy for periods of up to five days (excluding travel days) when responding to emergency events. Many of our volunteers have full-time or part-time jobs and work out an arrangement to support their volunteer work and remain flexible when emergencies occur. Often employers see value in the training the team members receive and proudly support their staff involved in DWST.

Getting started

The first step is to express your interest by filling out the form below. We will then put you in touch directly with the organisation for more information on the role and how to proceed.

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