National Volunteer Week
Celebrating our volunteers
With a National Volunteer Week on 20 - 26 June 2021, we look at the power and potential of volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action raising everyday not only in New Zealand but universally. We look at Recognising, Connecting and Reimagine volunteering in Aotearoa. Join us!
- Click here to read and share our volunteers' stories, quotes and news. Or find them on our social media via Facebook and Instagram.
- Send us your story and a photo (optional) about volunteering at Kaipātiki Project and we will share it during National Volunteer Week to inspire others.
My name is Kelly Fenton and I am passionate about New Zealand native trees and volunteering for Kaipātiki project. I like sharing morning tea with everyone. I feel I have a place at Kaipātiki project and people accept me and I feel included.
I volunteer my time and weekends to learn more about how to care for New Zealand’s native Bush. For example we have planted kauri near Glenfield Road Reserve and learnt about kauri die back in workshops at Fern Glen.
I have learnt how to recognise and name native trees. For example there is coastal kowhai, Papa Kowhia, Limestone kowhai, cook strait Kowhai, Large leaved Kowhai.
I love visiting special places like a nursery that grows rewarewa on Mototapu island. Also Rangitoto Island and tiri tiri matangi. Volunteering has taught me many skills like using a spade, putting mulch everywhere, using a wheel barrow and potting pots. Some times this is hard work but it is really good for me to be working with all the other volunteers and also for the environment.
We have been planting more native trees to regenerate the area. I also enjoy knowing about kingfishers, tui, moths and lizards, and insects in the area which can enhance my understanding of the environment I live in.
I love knowing that the native trees we help to grow and nurture are environmentally sustainable and provide the fresh air we are so fortunate to have in New Zealand.
By Kelly Fenton
One of the youngest volunteers, Ksenia
The diversity of our volunteers is very impressive. We enjoy meeting people from different countries, backgrounds, age and experience. However, some of them joined us with almost zero life experience at a very young age, like Ksenia from St. Petersburg, Russia.
Her mom Irina brought Ksenia along when she was just a few months old. She was seated on the potting table watching her mom and other volunteers planting seeds, replanting and weeding the plants. Some days she would sleep in a baby carriage, but when the hive was getting busy her curiosity woke her up. The mom had to hold her with one hand and potting plants with the other.
In addition to being regulars at our Birkdale nursery, they also helped at our Hobsonville Point nursery every Wednesday, and supported Te Ara Awataha restoration project at Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, while Ksenia was only a baby.
As Ksenia got bigger and more mobile, she didn’t want to stay in one place anymore, and Ksu (that’s what her mom called her) stopped coming to our nurseries. She’s probably playing with her other friends, while her mom remained a volunteer at Kaipātiki Project, helping with administration remotely and also got a paid job helping us keep our operational department.
From the start, Ksenia and her mom volunteered for more than 70 hours.
Volunteer Angela answered our questions
1. When was the first time you came to the Kaipātiki Project?
About 2 years ago.
2. Why did you choose us?
I had wanted to be involved in a meaningful activity which improves the environment for many years and had known about the Kaipātiki Project, being a long-term North Shore resident, for around 20 years.
3. Who introduced you to Kaipātiki Project?
Nobody. I knew about the project through reading the North Shore Times and going to an Eco Festival.
4. Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to volunteer as I had retired and wanted something meaningful, useful and active to stimulate me.
5. What is your benefit of volunteering with us or what do you most value?
I value the interesting company, swapping life stories and hints, sharing the experience of getting older and being retired from paid work, (not that all volunteers are older people, it is great when others of all ages join in too) being outdoors, getting pleasantly tired, what I am learning about native plants, being kinder to the environment, and gardening tips, the distraction from the rest of my life, also learning about a different part of Auckland that is a relatively new neighbourhood and a new idea for New Zealand - medium density housing , and how our project can contribute to the growth of a sense of community.
My own garden has improved since volunteering with Kaipātiki. I have another volunteer post linked to my previous career and find the 2 projects give a structure and regularity to the week when it suits me and there is no expectation to turn up every week, although I usually do!
6. What would you like to say to people who never volunteered before?
Give volunteering a try - you may learn something new, there are so many ways to volunteer that there will be something that suits you or something that links to skills you already have. This country would fall apart without volunteers. You will be valued. It will be good for your mental and physical health.
Why are our volunteers with us?!
We have made a short survey to find out why people volunteer at Kaipātiki Project. Thanks to everyone for sharing your journey. Your answers are very inspirational.
“I believe in the importance of a regenerative native environment, I enjoy gardening and plants, and I'm new to Auckland so it looks like the best way to know new people.”
“I love learning about native plants, and am fascinated by different seeds we grow and that we are contributing to restoring native bush of Auckland. I also enjoy the company of fun intelligent and enthusiastic people and amazing staff”
“I like native plants and I study conservation. By working with native plants I keep my knowledge about them fresh and learn something new each time I'm here.”
“I would like to have my own nursery and volunteering in the nursery is a cool way to learn more about the system and management of operating it. I love plants and am interested in native plants.”
“To get garden experience and also communicate with people”
“I like making a difference to the environment, I like the production of seeing seedlings raised into trees that can be planted for regeneration. I like working with like minded people enjoying their company, being outside amongst the bush and hearing the stream rushing by”
“I love being here and love being a part of the process of growing plants and seeing them go out to the environment that is very satisfying and rewarding.”
“I want to save the planet”
“The morning tea and the social gathering”
“To do something new and make a difference with people who think the same as me.”
“I'm here because I have a nursery background and I want to help out and know what is going on and the transition.”
“I'm here to change my mood. When I'm here I feel happy, working with plants and lovely people. Mainly I come to relax and feel happy.”
If you wish to volunteer for an environmental organisation and are looking for the right place, visit our Volunteer Open Day tour, on 24 June 2021. A one-hour tour around our nursery and teaching garden will help you to discover what we do and how you can get involved.
Thanks to all volunteers who are sharing with us their best volunteering moments!