Volunteers are vital

Why become a volunteer?

Without volunteers New Zealand society would not function as well as it does and many community groups would not be able to exist. You may not be able to afford to make donations to voluntary organisations but your time and effort is equally as valuable. If you are retired, giving your time as a volunteer can give you a new lease of life and a sense of achievement by doing something worthwhile in your local community. It may give you the opportunity to take the skills and experience you have built up in your working or younger life and put them to good use.

View Age Concern New Zealand's new factsheet "Volunteering for Wellbeing"

The benefits of volunteering

There are advantages for the volunteer, the organisation they are involved with and for the people receiving assistance. Helping others can give you a renewed sense of well-being and usefulness. 

  • It's a great way to make new friends and contacts
  • It keeps you mentally and physically active
  • It can be a way of exploring an area of interest or a hobby

Volunteer for Age Concern

When you're looking for volunteer opportunities, becoming an Age Concern volunteer is an excellent choice, for you and for older people.
Volunteers ensure that important Age Concern services are available to older people in their communities. We have opportunities where you can put your time, skills and experience to good use. These include Age Concern's Accredited Visiting Service, local initiatives or becoming involved in the Health Promotion Programme as a volunteer facilitator.
You can decide whether you'd like to work directly with people being served or behind the scenes helping to establish, plan, and support your local Age Concern Council.

  • Health promotion programme

    Local Age Concerns need volunteer peer educators to train as facilitators for the delivery of some of their Health Promotion Programmes. Who would make a good educator? People, who have good communication skills, enjoy working with older people in the community and wish to learn skills for facilitation and leadership of groups.


    You are guaranteed to have some fun, learn new skills, and improve your own knowledge at the same time. For further information about facilitators courses contact your local Age Concern.
  • Accredited Visiting Service

    You could be a volunteer visitor. Your visits would make a real difference in an older person's life. Are you:
    • Warm, friendly and do you enjoy a chat?
    • Keen to spend time with an older person?
    • Able to give about one hour per week on a regular basis?
    • Respectful of confidentiality and of other cultures and ways of doing things?
    • Ready to be part of a team and experience ongoing support and training?

      If this is you, you could be an
      Contact your local Age Concern.

  • Governance

    You may also be interested in volunteering for involvement at Age Concern governance level. People who apply for and are voted into key volunteer leadership positions are helping to guide, shape, and advance their local Age Concern's services to older people in your locality. Age Concern offers opportunities where you can apply a variety of leadership and support skills, at the local Council level and ultimately on the Age Concern New Zealand Board. Together, Age Concern volunteers and staff are working to serve the needs of older people. You can too!

For more information on volunteering visit the Volunteer NZ website.

The 2016 State of Volunteering report

Last year 1,260 people completed the second annual State of Volunteering in New Zealand survey.
Key findings:

  • A majority of respondents experience challenges in conflict management involving volunteers but most have procedures in place to deal with complaints and/or disputes effectively
  • A majority of respondents believe they allocate adequate resources to volunteers to ensure effective volunteer involvement
  • Regulation and administrative requirements are a barrier to volunteering
  • Financial pressures, longer work hours and busy lifestyles have had a large impact on volunteering


InvolveMe: A new tool for best-practice volunteer involvement
InvolveMe is designed to help you get the best out of your organisation's volunteer programme by identifying any gaps and generating ideas, ideal to use when reviewing or refreshing your organisation's volunteer involvement.
The InvolveMe tool features an easy to use survey and produces a customised report for you to assess your organisation's strengths and opportunities by providing an almost 360 degree picture of the organisation's effectiveness across four domains:

  1. strategy
  2. organisation culture
  3. communication
  4. tools, processes, and resources supporting volunteering

Volunteer New Zealand research page

VNZ have a growing library of research on all aspects of volunteering.

Using technology can help older people stay connected and involved. Being unable to navigate the World Wide Web (internet) can result in them becoming 'digitally excluded' and put them at a disadvantage, for example they don't have access to cheaper goods and services online and they can miss out on social or educational opportunities.

Benefits of being on-line can include:

  • The internet can make tricky, or mobility-dependent tasks simpler: there's no need to go out and post a letter when you have e-mail.
  • There is a wealth of information available on line
  • It is available 24/7
  • The internet helps make and maintain vital relationships
  • The internet can save you money eg in postage
  • The internet levels the "disability/age" playing-field - who knows how old you are, or which bits of you don't quite work any more, when you're on the web?
  • It is "personal" - no one else creates your communication world but you. Too often older people can become dependent on friends, family and even strangers for transport, letter-posting, bill-paying, or meeting new people, after a lifetime of independence and control.
  • Introduced correctly, learners "cross a fear-barrier" and one good learning experience can lead to another, and another, and another.
  • Improved personal contacts can ease depression/isolation.
  • It can enhance your sense of value within your community by allowing participation via E-mail/online polling/voting which can make your small voice "louder".

Get online savvy

Consumer Affairs has just released a free on-line guide for seniors "Get Online Savvy: a guide for seniors" which focusses on scams that target seniors.
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing. They speak to a strong need or desire and they push hard for a natural and automatic human response. Scammers win because they target human vulnerabilities which we all have-an urgent financial need, looking for love online, have some cash to invest, or believe we've won a competition in the post. These are just a few of the online scams that target seniors quite deliberately.
The guide is full of useful tips, real stories from victims of fraud and a rundown of online scams to watch out for.
General tips include:

  • Creating strong and unique passwords when using any online services such as email, online banking, social networking profiles and internet auction accounts
  • Making sure your computer is keep as up-to-date as possible - where possible set your system and software to automatically update
  • If using your computer or smartphone on public Wi-Fi connections you are potentially sharing your information with others on that network. Think twice before using these connections to buy online, check your bank accounts or read sensitive emails
  • Routinely back up your computer or devices

They also emphasis the need to immediately report if you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of a scam. Report it to www.scamwatch.govt.nz
If you are concerned that your computer, smartphone, email, or online accounts have been compromised you can get help from NetSafe, www.netsafe.org.nzor call 0508 NETSAFE;

If significant amounts of money are involved, or the scam appears to be based in New Zealand, you should also contact your local police station for further advice.

How are seniors using their digital devices?

The study shows some thought-provoking findings, such as the fact that 57% of the participants use a tablet daily and 75% use a computer - which may be higher than expected. Another interesting find is that Skype (video calling) was quite far down the list of desirable functions. Perhaps Grandparents aren't Skyping their Grandchildren as often as we might have thought? Read the article here.

Connect Smart

Connect Smart is a new initiative led by Government in partnership with the private and NGO sectors aimed at promoting better cyber security among New Zealanders. For more information go to www.connectsmart.govt.nz


RealMe is a secure, consent-based way to access and share personal information online, developed by Department of Internal Affairs and NZ Post. Currently RealMe has two key jobs. Firstly a login to multiple services, and secondly a verified account working as an online ID. As more services come on board with RealMe, seamless government interactions can be achieved through digital channels and customers' needs will be more easily met as important life events occur.


The concept of SeniorNet emerged in 1986 in the USA from a research project at the University of San Francisco. The projects aim was to determine if computers and telecommunications could enhance the lives of older adults. SeniorNet was first established in New Zealand in 1992.
SeniorNet brings older adults and technology together in a friendly, fun and stress-free way. It's for people over the age of 50 who'd like to learn more about technology and what it can do for them. Small, well organised classes, with volunteer tutors, about the same age as their students, run courses not only an introduction to computers and surfing the Net but also a vast range of subjects.

Opportunity knocks: Designing solutions for an ageing society "This short report by ILC-UK, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge's Engineering Design Centre and the Institute of Engineering and Technology, seeks to explore how design and technology could better respond to the challenges of an ageing society." Source: International Longevity Centre UK

Spark launches 'Age Hackers'

Spark have recruited five tech-savvy seniors to blog about how they use technology in their daily lives - the 'Age Hackers'The idea is that in doing so, they'll show that age is no barrier when it comes to using new technology. The aim of the programme is to empower seniors to have confidence with technology, and that it will bust some of the negative stereotyping that's out there!
The Age Hackers are starting off by producing articles about how they're using tech themselves you can take a look here!

Elderly travel the world with virtual reality
The men and women at the Brookdale Senior Living Community in the US don't need to leave the building to take a trip to the French countryside, thanks to the power of virtual reality. They can soar through Yosemite National Park and explore the depths of the ocean. MIT grad students Dennis Lally and Reed Hayes are pioneering the use of this technology with seniors.

Quarter One Report 2018

The CERT NZ Quarterly Report for Q1 2018 has been released, the report covers the quarter from 1 January 2018 - 31 March 2018.
This quarter CERT NZ have produced two new reporting documents: A Highlights document which summarises key observations and focus areas that their data is demonstrating; and a Data Landscape, which provides graphs and information about the reports they receive.
The highlights are:

  • 506 reports - the highest number since CERT NZ was established
  • $3 million in losses
  • Double the vulnerability reports compared to the previous quarter
  • Two new ransomware variants - Rapid and David
  • New age demographic data which shows that the over 55 age group are over-represented in financial loss.

Websites of interest

AgeUk has information on technology including a guide to the internet and an A-Z of computers
Netsafe is an independent non-profit New Zealand organisation that promotes cybersafety by educating and supporting individuals, organisations and industry in a range of issues. It contains a lot of up-to-date and practical advise.

Find your nearest Age Concern