Minister Community & Voluntary Sector, Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan answers some questions about the importance of volunteering from Sudha Bhana, Manager Volunteering, Cancer Society Auckland Northland Division.
Sudha: How important is volunteering to the community, and do you see any changes to the way we volunteer in future?
Min. Radhakrishnan: Volunteering is hugely important. When I think of the amazing work our volunteers do all over the country, I’m reminded of the Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Volunteering has been shown to improve one’s connection to their community, which helps us to become a more socially cohesive country. I’ve also found from talking to some volunteers that it can be a good way to gain experience that helps them on their employment journey.
It’s always tricky to know how volunteering will be impacted by future challenges, but we’ve seen how people have come together and adapt their volunteering to help one another during recent events like COVID-19.
Sudha: This week is National Volunteer Week- what message do you have for our Cancer Society Volunteers?
Min. Radhakrishnan: A huge thank you for your mahi. The time, energy and passion that volunteers contribute is invaluable.
Sudha: If you have any personal experience of volunteering, what organisation was that for? How did you find the experience?
Min. Radhakrishnan: I have numerous volunteering experiences and have always found them incredibly meaningful.
Through my volunteer roles, I have met people who do extraordinary work and transform society. It's always an uplifting experience.
Sudha: If you could have five more hours in your week to take on a volunteer role, what would you do?
Min. Radhakrishnan: I currently volunteer with Everybody Eats, which is a pay-as-you-feel restaurant that tackles food waste, food insecurity and isolation through their work. I'd probably do a few extra hours at their Onehunga restaurant, which is in my electorate, if I could manage it!
Sudha: You’re the MP for Maungakiekie- what do you love about your part of Auckland?
Min. Radhakrishnan: Maungakiekie is a diverse, vibrant electorate. Each suburb has its own character and its own sense of community and I love that about the electorate.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever hasMargaret Mead, Anthropologist