Manawatu Multicultural Council recognises the essential contribution made by volunteers to its activities and actively encourages their participation.




Meet some of our volunteers


Arriving in a new country and not knowing where or how you fit in can be a very daunting experience. This was very true to me 20 years ago. Being married to a Kiwi gave me a little advantage, but I still have to find ways to feel accepted and maintain my own identity.

As a mother, I started to volunteer when my eldest child started kindy. My involvement in the committee has enlightened me on how meetings are run, how to hold an event and how to fundraise. Taking part in decision making for the school was very fulfilling, as my children grew, I started to branch out to different community organizations. Close to my heart is the Philippine organization. Being involved with my cultural group has given my family an awareness on life of the people from my country. It gave my children an opportunity to learn my culture and to get to know the Filipino community. Being a wife to a coordinator of a voluntary organization Street Van, I support my husband by being one of the volunteers, going out late at night has given me an exposure to the life of people at night, struggles of people with addictions and also the homeless. Through the bread run ministry, I am able to help and meet different families, not only the New Zealander but the migrants and refugees settling in our city.

I started volunteering for Manawatu Multicultural Council in 1999; this has given me an opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. Getting involved with MMC has not only widened my network but gave me an enriching knowledge on different cultures and backgrounds of other people and found new friends...Being part in the decision making for a community organization has helped boost my self-esteem. It also gave me a chance to improve my skills on my chosen career.

In 2006, I was fortunate to be enrolled on one of the free courses offered to community leaders. Being one of the recipients of the program of Pacific Health Nutrition gave me the chance to improve my skills in my chosen career. This helped my confidence in enrolling for a related course at Massey. Although I haven'™t finished my studies, this opportunity has given me chance to initiate cooking classes for migrants and refugees.

Looking back, I am so grateful that I was given a chance to volunteer not only because I met and found new friends but it helped enrich my understanding of people in our community.


If you want the best Voluntary job in the world look no further than the local Ethnic Centre ! It'™s certainly the place to be, with enthusiastic friendly staff and highly motivated '˜learners'™ from all over the world.

The Thursday Afternoon conversation class this year has seen people from such diverse countries as Palestine,China,Taiwan,Japan,Korea,Columbia,Bhutan,Burma, Switzerland, the Solomon Islands, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Romania,The Congo,Sri Lanka,and Samoa..

My interest in English Second Language started in the 1980s when my husband was offered the chance of going to Japan for a year to work on a Japanese Government Scientific project in Tokyo '“ so of course I tagged along! I was very lucky to have the friendship and support of an International Women'™s Group, being pregnant in sweltering heat and 90% humidity and looking like a beached whale in comparison with the slim Japanese and Korean women is no joke, believe me ! Back to New Zealand we came, just in time as it turned out or the son might have missed out on being born in New Zealand, and he might have had some problems with passports in the future.

Prior to going to Japan I did an ESOL workshop at the Home Tutors Organisation, which was very useful in Japan and afterwards when I did some Home Tutoring especially with a young Cambodian girl who eventually trained as a nurse in Palmerston North.

Later on when living in France I was offered a voluntary job taking a group of retired Michelin workers, for English Conversation. Luckily I had done the ESOL course at IPC a few years earlier, which was a great help.

I have been working as a Public Health Nurse in Palmerston North since coming to New Zealand, so am maybe more aware of what is available in the community. For what is a relatively small town by world standards, I think we have an amazing amount of facilities. I try to encourage my Thursday group to make the most of them, and am really delighted that 2 of the group have joined the newly formed Manawatu Community Choir.

As well as Te Manawa with the Art Gallery and the Museum that are free, there are many places in town such as the Library and the Trade Aid Shop that take volunteers.The Library also has some very good speakers, so if you know any body learning English this is a good place to just listen to different people speaking English.

I really enjoy my work at the centre, it'™s great to work with people who want to learn, but like most things it'™s a 2 way thing, and I learn a lot from my group.

Thursday afternoon is for me a glorious kaleidoscope of people from everywhere, a very happy time, certainly for me, and I do hope for the Thursday group as well. I must tell them more often