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Kia ora volunteers, keep up your good work

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Like most of you, I want everyone who is able to be either earning, learning, caring or volunteering. The Government already does a lot of work on the first three, like helping young people find good jobs, and providing better support for our carers. But the last one — volunteering — is something I reckon we don’t recognise enough.

This month we’ve had National Volunteer Week, where we celebrate the contribution of the 1.2 million New Zealanders who give back by giving their time. From sports coaches to firefighters, community groups to conservation corps, New Zealand is richer and more connected thanks to our dedicated army of volunteers.

Here in Tairawhiti, we know the value that volunteers bring to our community. All of the hours given by the hundreds of volunteers from St John and the Citizens Advice Bureau and all of the other organisations have been appreciated.

Not all meaningful work is paid work, and some of the most valuable work in our communities is done by volunteers — people who show up every day at their local society or sports club, sometimes for decades, and do what they do, not for pay or recognition, but just to contribute.

Volunteering is a strong kaupapa within te ao Maori. In marae kitchens, schools and sports teams, giving of your own time to improve the wellbeing of whanau, hapu or community is part of manaakitanga — and I like to think that manaakitanga is something that New Zealand, as a nation, does........

© The Gisborne Herald