Volunteering – reasons to

Mahi aroha, doing work for love, is good for your health

Key points about volunteering

  • Mahi aroha is happening all year round, all over Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Volunteering is not only good for your community, it’s also good for you.
  • Aotearoa New Zealand is a leading nation when it comes to volunteering.
  • New Zealanders contribute a total of around 159 million hours of formal volunteer labour each year
  • By becoming a volunteer, not only will you brighten somebody else’s day, you will also brighten your own.
Volunteers checking crates of food
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1. It makes you feel good

Helping somebody else or doing a good deed always makes you feel better. National Volunteer Week NZ calls it mahi aroha – doing work for love. Knowing you’ve taken the time to do something for another person without expecting anything in return feels great. It gives you a sense of achievement and purpose, which also makes you feel good. It can help you physically as well by keeping you fit, especially if you are doing volunteer work like tree planting or beach clean-ups.

2. It’s great work experience

Volunteering gives you a chance to get some skills under your belt, which is especially great for young people who are starting out and may not have had a job before. It gives you a chance to try working in a field you may be interested in, or thinking about making a switch to. Volunteer work looks great on your CV. It shows employers you are pro-active and motivated towards helping others for a good cause.

3. You make a difference

Volunteering is so rewarding because you are actually making a difference. You are using your time and energy to do something that positively affects other people's lives, for free. How good is that? Many volunteers have a passion for social change and volunteering is a real opportunity to tap into that. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that you have helped someone or contributed to a good cause – because you have also helped to make our world a better place. 

4. You meet new people

Helping out in your community is a great way to meet new people and socialise. It helps you to build contacts, extend your support network and introduce you to people with common interests. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, especially if you are new to an area.

5. You learn new skills

Being a volunteer is a great opportunity to learn new skills. Whether it’s learning to bake, organise a fundraiser or budget for an event, there’s always something to learn and gain experience in. You can also share your skills with other volunteers. For example, if you come from a marketing background, you could help with advertising for a community event and teach others along the way.

Many volunteers enjoy using skills and experience that are different to those they might not otherwise use day-to-day or in their paid jobs.

Senior women sewing together around table

Image credit: 123rf

6. Volunteering is time well spent

Volunteering is a positive experience for almost all volunteers with ‘feeling connected’ to others and their community at the core of their volunteer experience. 

By the way…

Volunteering can encompass all of the five ways to wellbeing promoted by the Mental Health Foundation of NZ. When you volunteer your time, you are giving, connecting and often taking notice, learning and being active. 

There are all sorts of ways you can get into volunteer work, depending on your interests and where you live. You can search for volunteer opportunities(external link) in your region. Some examples are:

  • Animal care – shelter assistant, dog walker, fundraiser.
  • Arts – arts and crafts assistant, tutor.
  • Environment – community garden work, tree planting, pest trapping.
  • Young people – mentoring, driving support, youth leadership, girl guides.
  • Sport – swim coach, fundraising, social media.

Did you know that many of the people who work with us at Healthify are volunteers?  We currently have volunteers as board members, business advisors, reviewers, advisory group members and more. Want to help? We're looking for input from governance and advisory roles through to clinical reviewers, grant writers, photographers, vloggers, SEO experts and more.

If you or your organisation are interested in supporting our mahi, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch if you'd like to get involved!

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Credits: Healthify Editorial Team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

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