The Governor General of New Zealand the Rt Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae is acknowledging the volunteer work of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) in an official event in Wellington this week.
Two NZAF volunteers will represent those who contribute their time to the HIV prevention and health service work of the Foundation, at a ceremony at Government House on the evening of Thursday, June 20. The ceremony is in recognition of National Volunteer Week which runs until June 22.
NZAF Executive Director Shaun Robinson says it’s a wonderful opportunity to recognise the enormous amount of time, energy and passion that non-paid staff contribute to the NZAF each year.
“The NZAF is a stronger organisation thanks to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers around the country. Each person who gives their time is effectively contributing to the NZAF’s visions of a world without HIV and we are so thankful for their commitment to helping us achieve this,” Robinson says.
The NZAF has many opportunities for volunteers to be involved with the Foundation’s crucial work. Each week the NZAF Community Engagement teams in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch run volunteer condom packing evenings which continue to be a huge success.
“In 2012 our volunteers helped pack 550,000 condom and lube packs which were all given away as part of Get it On!’s Love Your Condom Campaign,” Robinson says. “That’s an astronomical figure and we would not have achieved this if it wasn’t for the hard work and personal commitment of our volunteers – they really are making a direct contribution to reducing the rates of HIV infection in New Zealand.”
The NZAF’s community engagement team also has a volunteer Champion programme for both Get it On!, targeting gay and bisexual men, and Love Cover Protect, targeting the New Zealand-based African communities. Robinson explains that the public’s support is crucial to the on-going success of events such as the Get it On! Big Gay Out, World AIDS Day and many other NZAF campaigns that run throughout the year.
He adds, “To all those who continue to support us, your time is so appreciated and acknowledging it this week is just a small way we can publicly say ‘thank you’.”