Volunteers don't have to be people.
In the case of Kaitaia's Switzer Residential Care they can be dogs (including a three-legged terrier who visits every Sunday, and has become adept at tracking down the morning tea wagon), cats, even horses.
Most are human though, and those who would like to give some time and skill to a worthy cause are very much spoiled for choice.
Volunteering Northland works hard to match prospective volunteers and organisations that need a hand, whether it be for a few hours a week or on a daily basis.
Where appropriate volunteers are given training, reimbursed for expenses and provided with references after some time on the job. Some will need to undergo police vetting.
Volunteering Northland (www.volunteeringnorthland.nz/volunteers) can provide all the details, and is also keen to hear from organisations that are in need of volunteers.
The current list of opportunities in the Far North includes the following:
• Switzer Residential Care - one to help care for the resident cat, birds and fish, and plants, five to spend time with residents.
• Kaitaia Timebank - one media co-ordinator to manage the Facebook page and liaise with mainstream media, one workshop co-ordinator, one video recorder of community events.
• Salvation Army - two truck drivers (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to help shift furniture and other goods (Tuesday and Thursday mornings).
• Far North Community Hospice - two people to sort donated clothing and goods (week days except Wednesdays).
• Northpoint Services Trust - a music teacher on Wednesday afternoons to co-ordinate a group of singers and musicians (guitar, banjo, maracas, bongoes, keyboard and amplifiers), an art teacher (Monday afternoons) to teach basic art skills to clients with disabilities transitioning from school, on supported living benefits or referred by ACC.
Bay of Islands/Whangaroa
• Hospice Mid Northland - 10 helping hands for the hospice garden in Kerikeri Road (Thursday mornings), starting with morning tea, 10 lifters and shifters to get medical equipment into clients' homes, 10 sorters of donated goods.
Kerikeri Basin Weed Busters - six keen gardeners on the second and fourth Monday mornings.
• Ohaeawai Community Education Trust - one person to teach art to pre-schoolers on week day mornings, three people to help with daily pre-schoolers' farm walks, one web page designer.
• Bay of Islands Vintage Railway - one qualified or experienced carpenter or boat-builder for a one-off project (Mondays), four railway track and station maintenance workers (no special skills required), four shopkeepers (Kawakawa), seven days a week, four guards and assistant guards, four metal and wood workers.
• Waimate North Landcare Trust needs a treasurer, two equipment managers to clean and maintain Timms, Fenn and DOC traps once or twice a year, as required; one publicity officer (including press releases, quarterly newsletters and updating the website and Facebook page, three biodiversity field workers to identify plants and animals in the Waimate North area, record data, report to trustees and liaise with DOC technical staff, two environmental educators to work with schools, 10 trappers (Bay of Islands, Waimate North and upper Waitangi River catchment).
• Bay of Islands Riding for the Disabled - two people to care for, train and exercise horses (Monday and Saturday mornings, Friday and Sunday afternoons), five horse leaders/rider helpers (Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Wednesday afternoons).
• Kerikeri Community Patrol - 40 people to work in pairs throughout the Bay of Islands.
• Reinga Road Reserve Inc. - two people to control weeds.
A special role
Volunteering Northland is looking for a volunteer outreach assistant in the Bay of Islands, to promote the organisation's work and opportunities for potential volunteers.
The position is flexible, requiring a commitment of around two hours per week, and may include taking photos for the website and Facebook page. Access to a computer and email will be needed.