Spotlight shines on volunteers

Volunteers form the backbone of football in New Zealand. Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

Thousands of volunteers give up their time for the good of the game all over the country and it’s this dedicated group of enthusiasts that New Zealand Football is looking to thank as National Volunteering Week gets underway on Sunday.

The campaign is driven by Volunteering New Zealand each year and seeks to recognise and celebrate the vital contribution of the country’s approximately 1.2 million volunteers to sport, social development, the economy and the environment.

New Zealand Football is marking National Volunteering Week with a federation-based recognition initiative that will see some of the game’s deserving volunteers thanked for their efforts.

A total of $3,500 in MTA gift vouchers is up for grabs across the country’s seven federations with clubs or individuals able to nominate a person from an affiliated club. Entries are open until June 24 and information on how to enter will be available on the website of each federation.

It is the second year New Zealand Football and its federations have run such an initiative and it proved popular in 2016 with several hundred nominations being put forward across the country.

New Zealand Football Community Development Manager Jamie Milne is pleased to again be able to give recognition to a group of people whose hard work often goes unnoticed.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport,” he says.

“We are extremely proud of the network of volunteers we have across the country who put in collectively thousands of hours to get the girls, women, boys and men onto the fields every week,” he says.

“It is still one of the most enjoyable parts of my role to meet these people, hear their stories and thank them for their contributions. We really do have some amazing people from the top to the deep south making a real difference – often under the radar and going quietly about their work.”

New Zealand Football has now been partnered with Volunteering New Zealand for over two years and in 2016 undertook the Best Practice in Action Programme, which provides an outline of how an organisation can look after its band of volunteers and make the most of this resource.

“We were the only major sporting code involved in this process and it was really beneficial to work alongside chief executive Scott Miller and his team,” Milne says.

“This had never been done before so it was good to put a line in the sand and we certainly learned a lot which we have been implementing steadily for 18 months now. The key to going forward over the next 12 months is giving meaningful support to the seven federations and all our clubs – we need to help people add value to our clubs and communities, while getting meaningful experiences themselves.”

Clubs and federations can also undertake their own reviews in this space by utilising the Volunteering Best Practice Toolkit, which is available for download at

“It’s important we take the time to give a shout out to our football volunteers – you are amazing and we genuinely are grateful for your contributions and efforts,” Milne says.

National Volunteering Week runs from June 18 to 24 and the recognition activities across the country can be followed via the Volunteering NZ Twitter feed @VolunteeringNZ and #NVW2017

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