University and Tertiary Sport NZ – Liam’s Bio

Liam Hurst is a Massey University Bachelor of Sport and Exercise graduate. Much of Liam’s volunteering activity stems from his passion for sport and conservation. At high school, Liam began helping the Kiwi Conservation Club, planning trips and activities for children and family groups in the outdoors. Sporting-wise his management and organisation skills have been used in jobs as varied as marshalling and traffic control to timekeeping, social media planning, volunteer recruitment and coaching. Much of his work has been for high schools competing in national secondary schools tournaments and his university. His involvement has benefitted road cycling, adventure racing, volleyball and football to name a few sports.


As a high school student what made you put your hand up to get involved in conservation causes?

My family had a large influence on my participation in conservation. When I was young I spent a lot of time in the outdoors and regularly went tramping and camping which helped to develop my passion for the environment and conservation.

What is your favourite volunteer activity and why?

I love volunteering at sport events. Especially helping out at secondary school competitions, in particular, adventure racing. I get a buzz out of being able to coach and guide people to be able to map read, abseil, kayak, mountain bike or anything else that they need.

What’s your favourite organisation that you have volunteered for and why?

Cycling New Zealand. As a part of my university degree, I had a placement helping organise the 50th anniversary of the NZ Schools Road Cycling Champs. I had a major role in the competition and was able to really immerse myself in the management of the event. I learnt a lot about the practical delivery of my event which directly related to my degree.

So, why give up so much of your free time to enable sporting events for others? What’s in it for you?

The satisfaction of knowing you helped out at an event or competition is what really drives me. I enjoy being able to help people accomplish their goals and if that makes them happy, then I’m happy!

When it’s wet or cold or you face event issues or team crises, do you wish you had said no to helping? What fuels you?

It’s very rare for everything to go to plan, so when things go wrong you just have to take a deep breath and remind yourself that bad things don’t last forever. I never really feel like I should’ve said no but that’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of difficult situations. Looking back on them I realise that they were great learning points and have enabled me to develop myself to be a better, more experienced person.

Can you recall and describe a moment where you thought ‘this is all totally worth it’?

Guiding junior teams in adventure races is extremely rewarding. Not only because they are able to accomplish something amazing by completing a race, but also because of the landscape, views and memories that you get to experience during a race. There was one race where we made it up onto the top of a mountain range and the view was incredible. It’s times like these that remind you why you do it.

If you were to pitch the skills you’ve learned through volunteering to a potential employer what would you say?

I have learned a lot through volunteering. Communication skills, time management, sponsorship proposals, safety planning, people management, teamwork, leadership. The list goes on! 

This is a chance to communicate with people around NZ who perhaps haven’t volunteered before – what is your takeaway message for them?

Honestly, just do it. Find a sport or event that interests you, maybe grab a few friends and sign up! You won’t regret helping other people and you never know what you’ll get out of it. You’ll meet new people, learn new skills, and it looks great on your CV!


University and Tertiary Sport NZ – Amelia’s Bio

Student Volunteer with UTSNZ, Amelia Morgan, talks about what got her into volunteering and what she gets out of it.

Amelia Morgan is a fourth-year University of Canterbury Law and Geography student. Amelia started volunteering during high school as a Duke of Edinburgh award participant and continued as a school sports prefect, sports rep at her university hall of residence and helping groups such as the UC Student Volunteer Army, UC Sport and a Student-Athlete Commission for University and Tertiary Sport NZ. Amelia was one of two NZ reps that attended the 2017 FISU Volunteer Leader’s Academy in Russia. Amelia is a student-athlete herself, having represented for track and field.

You started volunteering at a young age – what drove you to do it?

Truthfully, volunteering feels like a selfish act. From a younger age, it has generated copious amounts of self-satisfaction and warmth when helping others. For a long time, I was unable to give as much as I would’ve liked to volunteering organisations alike. However due to my step back in track and field I have been able to give my time more freely. There is no denying the satisfaction generated when pouring your heart and soul into something and it pays off or you witness someone truly benefit from the efforts. Thereby, in all honesty it is this feeling that drove me to volunteer and give back from a younger age.

How did volunteering help shape who you are today?

Volunteering and involvement with volunteer-based organisations has enabled me to appreciate and truly understand the amount of hard work, time and resource put into any event or organisation. I have learned the importance of delegation if you want to achieve projects to a high standard and the need for clear communication to facilitate this. Meaningful communication, and connection with those you are working with ensures that the group of volunteers function to their best ability and actually enjoy the task at hand.

You help so many different organisations in so many different ways – which has been the most fulfilling moment for you? Why?

Being a student-athlete myself, working for sporting organisations to empower and enhance student-athletes’ overall health and wellbeing has been incredibly rewarding. I have been working closely with UC Sport and their recently established Student-Athlete Development Programme. This has been a close passion of mine, as it highlights and emphasises the importance of creating a community-based culture for student-athletes at the University of Canterbury.

There is no doubt I tend to favour sport volunteering and sports administration when compared to other areas. This is due to my undying passion for sports and athletes alike, the commitment and work ethic required to be an athlete has driven me to want to help these athletes and completions run as smoothly as possible.

If you were to pitch the skills you’ve learned through volunteering to a potential employer what would you say?

A key learning, I took away from FVLA 2017 was about the volunteer movement and the significant value of volunteers in the sporting world today.  Great emphasis was given to the fact that although volunteers are often perceived as ‘free labour’ and the lower tier of a sporting event or competition, they are in fact the backbone of any success, and if the volunteers are not happy and motivated, the event will lack real success and enjoyment for all of those involved.

For any event or sporting need, planning is essential for success. Athletes, coaches, management and volunteers alike perform better when things flow and day-to-day activity is planned in detail.

You were identified as a volunteer leader in 2017 – what do you hope to see in the student volunteer space in 2018?

I have diversified my time a little bit this year which truly excites me. I have become more heavily involved with the University of Canterbury’s club scene and have earned an executive position on one of the largest social clubs on campus. This is an exciting challenge I have set for myself to give my time to something completely different. This has been very rewarding so far as I have been able to throw myself into the complex administration involved in hosting major social events and recruiting paid members during the new academic year.

I have maintained my involvement with UC Sport and UTSNZ during 2018. I hope to continue learning from the incredible board members of UTSNZ and get a true understanding of the complexities of this entity. I hope to continue developing the student-athlete community we are trying to establish at UC Sport, and am looking forward to being a part of the leadership group within this academy.

Amelia Morgan (left) representing NZ at the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy

Visit University and Tertiary Sport NZ’s website to learn more about their amazing work.


Girl Guiding New Zealand – Ruby’s Bio

Check out what Ruby, one of GirlGuiding New Zealand’s fantastic student volunteers, has to say about being a volunteer in their organisation.

My name is Ruby, and I volunteer with GirlGuiding New Zealand. I’ve had many opportunities within GirlGuiding that have developed skills that align with my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University. One of my personal highlights was attending the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations in 2017 as part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. I was able to do this because GirlGuiding has consultative status with the United Nations. I was also able to advocate to World Leaders on the Sustainable Development Goals and meet with the New Zealand Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Furthermore, these amazing experiences contribute towards the Victoria International Leadership Program, that I am a part of.

I’ve been involved in GirlGuiding NZ since I moved to Wellington and it has been a great way for me to make friends in a new city and be active in the community. I began as a Leader in a Guide unit (girls aged 9-12) in Kelburn. It was really rewarding because I could see the girls develop as we did different activities and, as I grew in confidence, I was able to run more activities and develop my own leadership skills.

My favourite activity was when we went to a sleepover at the zoo. It was really fun and an experience I’ll never forget. The girls learnt about conservation, how to protect endangered species and were even given the opportunity to help feed the animals.

Every new leader is assigned a mentor. My mentor was really helpful when I was new to my unit and answered any questions I had. She has continued to support me further developing my leadership skills and challenging myself to take on different roles within GirlGuiding New Zealand.  I now coordinate the Young Leaders in the Wellington Region. I support them when they start and ensure they feel comfortable in their roles.

GirlGuiding has been around for 110 years, and it remains a revolutionary organisation supporting girls and Leaders to develop their potential and challenge themselves in a supportive environment. Around Wellington, girls aged 5-17, meet once a week during school term-time in groups according to their age. These girls need new volunteers to get involved, so GirlGuiding can continue running its programs for years to come.

There are heaps of different ways to be involved in GirlGuiding. You can make a weekly commitment to a unit of girls, or you can be a volunteer on a casual basis. You can also volunteer as a coordinator of other volunteers or offer a particular skill that you are interested in.

Ruby is studying at BA in Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University while volunteering.

Republished with permission from GirlGuiding New Zealand. Visit for more.

From Intern to Employee – Aliesha Singh

Aliesha Singh joined Volunteering New Zealand as a communications intern over the summer. She has since graduated and has a paid role at Ministry for Women. Aliesha shares her experience with interning and how that has helped her grow valuable skills.

My experience interning was definitive in my understanding of how to navigate the workplace and the idea of the workplace as a fun and collaborative environment. I joined Volunteering New Zealand as part of my internship paper at Massey University. I was excited about the opportunities interning would bring and I was fortunate to find that the organisation opened the door to each one.

At my internship I had the freedom to share and pursue my ideas and gained valuable experiences through projects I would not have otherwise got to work on. The projects that I worked on involved collaborating with staff at all levels, including senior management, and that proved to be an important lesson in professional discourse in the workplace.

Despite the fact that I was an intern, I felt like my ideas were heard and that I was a part of a receptive environment that valued differing opinions regardless of the status of the employee that provides it.

While my internship was fun it was also challenging and there was never a shortage of tasks to be completed. Because of this, I was taught a crucial lesson on how to manage my time by prioritising tasks in order to meet deadlines. Since beginning to interview for jobs, I am often asked about my proficiency in time management and I can confidently talk about how interning prepared me for working to a deadline.

As a recent graduate, I truly believe that my internship has given me an edge in entering and navigating the workforce. The experiences that I gained and lessons that I learnt during my interning have instilled confidence in my abilities that I would not have otherwise had.

Aliesha and Ione at the VNZ offices