18.03.09 19:52 Age: 9 yrs

Volunteering in NZ

By: Kit Howden

Volunteering Auckland and Volunteering NZ are seeking information on the state of volunteering from their members - The Friends of Maungawhau answers are as follows:

1    Our volunteer numbers have increased - mainly due to wider exposure following the successful Love Your Mountain Days.  Last year 1200 hours of restoration work was put into the care of Maungawhau around the Batger Quarry and Southern slopes.

Our biggest problem is not money but dealing with strategic planning, leadership and not being sidelined by local government.  Questions need to be answered like - how does the volunteer contribution translate into the dollar asset improvement  of community facilities? In our case the 1200 hours of restoration work went into a park of international heritage significance - is this part of the asset improvement and wise use of rate payer dollars?

Local Government does not seem to have a transparent mechanism of incorporating volunteers into the many operations it carries out. E.g. The current Auckland City Council  LTCCP makes no direct mention  of volunteers. This is one item we will be making submissions on during the  review of these 10 year council plans.

2   We see the  demand increasing for our volunteer work with the tightening of local government finances put into park and heritage operations.

We are spending more time attending meetings and workshops that are attended by high paid staff and consultants yet our expertise in heritage management appears to be put to one side. In other words there is positive talk on using volunteers for the operations of heritage parks but not the integration and real sharing in meeting clear common objectives. In other words the management systems of local government need to be made more "volunteer friendly"
Kit Howden Chairman FoM

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