Over 70 people who give up their time all over the country to volunteer for the good of the game have had their efforts recognised by New Zealand Football and its federations.
The spotlight turned to such dedicated individuals this month as the annual National Volunteering Week was held by Volunteering New Zealand, who each year seek 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 marked the week with a federation-based recognition initiative that has resulted in some of the sport’s most deserving volunteers being thanked for their efforts. A total of $3,500 in MTA gift vouchers was provided by New Zealand Football and these have now been awarded to worthy recipients from each of the seven federations.
At least ten volunteers from every region were singled out for their admirable commitment to the beautiful game but there were hundreds to choose from after a positive reaction to the nomination process from the footballing public.
“We are in our second year formally acknowledging the volunteers in football from around the country and this will be an annual fixture for us going forward,” says New Zealand Football Community Development Manager Jamie Milne.
“It is part of a suite of initiatives, programmes and actions that New Zealand Football have been undertaking for just over two years now, in conjunction with our federations, member clubs and Volunteering New Zealand,” he adds.
“We will look to grow and embellish our work during National Volunteer Week, without forgetting that volunteerism in football happens 52 weeks a year and that we need a concerted ongoing acknowledgement of the people who are the lifeblood of our sport.”
Among the recipients in each region were a number of heart-warming stories that serve to highlight the selfless work that goes on behind the scenes to keep grassroots football ticking over. New Zealand Football will look to highlight the efforts of some of these individuals over the coming days with a series of profiles.
“Reading the nominations for National Volunteer Week, I think back to the many people who I witness across the country putting in heartfelt work into their communities and to the many thousands of people contributing to our sport,” Milne says.
“I am in a unique position to see the rise of our sport at grassroots level – there are fantastic things happening week-in, week-out in football, driven by our volunteers. New Zealand Football are putting time, effort and resource into volunteerism to support the next generation of those involved in our game at community level.”
In conjunction with some key external partners, New Zealand Football is about to roll out a National Volunteer and People Management Plan to give clubs and communities a raft of ideas and practical strategies they can use to attract, welcome and integrate the next generation of volunteers.
“It is a great time to be involved in football, especially volunteering, and on behalf of New Zealand Football, I want to thank all those who are contributing to our sport. Well done, keep it up and feel proud of your efforts, we are very grateful to you all,” Milne says.
The full list of MTA voucher recipients for their sterling volunteering efforts is as follows:
Northern Football Federation:
Graham Routledge (Waitakere City), Bruce Elliot (Waitakere City), Kym Double (Te Atatu), Liz Chambers (North Shore United), Deborah Farmer (North Shore United), Dave Crombie (Forrest Hill Milford United), Sarah Morgan-Caswell (Paihia), Alex Graham (Kaikohe), Corey (Possum) Simmons (Kerikeri), Matt Rowe (Mangawhai)
Auckland Football Federation:
Alan Topham (Fencibles United), Munasheel Chandra (South Auckland Rangers), Damien Cameron (Tuakau), Roger Haynes (Fencibles United), Julie Strom (Fencibles United), Dan Amosa (South Auckland Rangers), Kathryn Elliott (Clendon United), Erina Aperahama-Henare (Lynn-Avon United), Malcolm Martin (Fencibles United), Wendy Nicholas (Fencibles United)
WaiBOP Football Federation:
Kim Lander (Hamilton Wanderers), Phil and Kelsey Fletcher (Hamilton Wanderers), Wendy Sharpe (Katikati), Shaun Kapua (Ngongotaha), Kevin Sutcliffe (Te Aroha Cobras), Andrew Hansford (Morrinsville), Andrea Timings (Melville United), Carwyn Evans (Whakatane Town), Brent Armitage (Blue Rovers), Tim Babbage (Northern United)
Central Football Federation:
Stuart Amer (Napier South), Justin Andrews (Port Hill), Bob Allen (Napier City Rovers), Kerianne Higgs (Breakers Riverside Red Sox Juniors), Rob Easton (Levin), Ray Gibson (Dannevirke), Sam Andrews-Paul (Wairarapa College), Jose Reader (Kaponga), Michael and Vera Finch (Peringa United), Darren Larkins (Gisborne Boys’ High School)
Capital Football Federation:
Rachel Gawith (Greytown), Glenda Schmidt (Waterside Karori), Gary Fisher (Waterside Karori), Tania Rook (Stop Out), Ange Pope (Douglas Villa), Paul Martin (Petone), Simon Bayliss (North Wellington), Brendan Hoffman (Stokes Valley), Anthony Mumby (Wellington United), Ian Barrs (Martinborough)
Mainland Football Federation:
Owen Wylie (Mid Canterbury United), Bart Coles (FC Twenty11), Jeff Banks (Hornby United), Keith Neill (FC Twenty11), Craig Bowen (Halswell United), Maria Cropper (St Bede’s College), David Withers (Halswell United), Willie Nation (referee), Regan Preston (referee), Deb Saunders (Waimak United)
Mark Stratford (Temuka United), Rob and Kerri-Anne Bray (Roslyn Wakari), Chris and Megan Lynch (Meadowbank United), Alison White (Meadowbank United), Nicky Strandring (Mosgiel), Lynn King (Green Island), Greig Evans (Old Boys), Peter Evans (Roslyn Wakari), Gavin Wheeler (Dunedin Technical), Simon Willetts (Meadowbank United)