University community steps up for National Volunteer Week

From knitting in Gisborne to cooking in Canterbury and helping seniors in Wellington, the University of Auckland is once again getting behind National Volunteer Week, 21-27 June 2020.

This year’s focus will be on virtual volunteering, helping in your own backyard, and filling volunteer spaces left empty by Covid 19.

This the second year the University has taken part in National Volunteer Week. The Alumni Relations Department works with Volunteering New Zealand to pull together practical options for students and alumni to sign up to online, and calls on its network of some 200,000 graduates and students to give their time to a cause, even if it is for just one hour.

The University has also teamed up with 13 volunteering centres across the nation to find opportunities for students who have returned home for Semester One, and for alumni living across the country.

Alumni Relations Manager Joel Terwilliger says this might be helping out a local charity shop, checking on the elderly or those living with dementia, preparing donated goods such as clothing for distribution, or knitting bed socks for cancer patients.

“Virtual volunteering such as mentoring is another excellent way to share your time and expertise, or if you are interested in supporting research there are options to join clinical trials and studies,” Joel says.

We have a vibrant and strong University community that I am sure will be able to step up.

Joel Terwilliger Alumni Relations Manager

He notes that although organisations are getting back up-and-running post lockdown, many elderly or vulnerable volunteers may not yet be ready to return to their roles, creating a need for more volunteers.

“We have a vibrant and strong University community that I am sure will be able to step up. It is more important than ever that we work together to help heal New Zealand at this particularly challenging time,” Joel says.

This year’s theme of Volunteer Week is ‘Give the gift of time - Kia takohatia i te wā’. University of Auckland alumni, friends, staff and students are encouraged to join a volunteering opportunity at

Notes to editors:

Already many University alumni have coordinated volunteering efforts during lockdown, such as running emergency food drives; pet care; and running check-ups and small errands for the elderly.

Some notable efforts were:
• Recent Engineering graduate Micheal Xiong, formerly of Wuhan, China, raised $2,700 in six days to send essential items to Wuhan hospitals, including hazmat suits, masks and gloves via the Hubei Association of New Zealand.

• The South Bay California chapter of the UoA alumni network came together to make hospital-grade face shields in a local makerspace. They have so far delivered 11252 face shields to hospitals in the Bay Area.

The University of Auckland is ranked No. 1 in the world in the University Impact Rankings by Times Higher Education (THE). This confirms the University’s strong commitment to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Sustainable development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities. Find out more.  

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