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Around 58 per cent of people in rural areas volunteer, higher than urban centres. File Photo

Volunteering higher in rural New Zealand

More people volunteer in rural New Zealand compared to the national average, a new report from Tūao Aotearoa Volunteering New Zealand shows.
“We know volunteering across Aotearoa is generally strong but we wanted to understand how experiences might differ depending where you live,” says Volunteering New Zealand Chief Executive Michelle Kitney.
State of Volunteering Regional Report – volunteering in New Zealand’s regions analyses data from Volunteering New Zealand’s research and from Statistics New Zealand.
Around 58 per cent of people in rural areas volunteer, compared to the national average of 50.7 per cent and 47.5 per cent for the major urban centres, Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
“When it comes to the type of volunteering, people in rural areas have higher rates of informal/direct volunteering (at 43.8 per cent) compared to the national average of 36 per cent. Yet this doesn’t come at the expense of formal/organisational volunteering which is above the national average,” Michelle said.

The turnover rates of volunteering are lower in the smaller towns and cities, compared to main centres. The report suggests volunteers in main centres have more choice of roles and might ‘shop around’ to find volunteering they enjoy. Smaller towns and cities are likely to have fewer options for formal volunteer roles.
“All volunteer-involving organisations, no matter where they are, should value volunteers. We encourage them to tap into resources, such as our Best Practice Guidelines, to ensure volunteers have a great experience.
“The report has highlighted challenges and opportunities to ensure the sector can support volunteering across all of New Zealand. We advocate for better data about volunteering and unpaid work for all communities.”
Volunteering New Zealand will be repeating its bi-annual State of Volunteering surveys of volunteers and community organisations in early 2024.