Posts Tagged ‘Volunteering Canterbury’

On International Volunteer Day, 5 December, Volunteering Canterbury (VolCan) celebrated its 30th anniversary.  As Manager for 21 of those 30 years I was delighted to attend the carefully organised programme.  This started with a dance from the Catholic Cathedral College Filipino Cultural Group, gracefully depicting a fishing tradition.  The history of VolCan was narrated, several people spoke of how volunteering has changed their lives, and there were presentations to two special volunteers.  I was honoured to be invited to cut the anniversary cake together with a seven-year-old volunteer.

30th Anniversary Cake

The programme finished with items from two Star Jammers, refreshments, and a chance to chat.  This was a first-rate way to mark a special occasion, and a great opportunity for me to catch up with people who’ve been important in my life.

‘The VolCan folk will always be
respected and most dear to me.’


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Attending the Volunteering Canterbury A.G.M. I thought would be a chance to catch up with old friends and hear an interesting guest speaker.  It’s now four months since I left my role there and I expected there might be some mention of me as I’d been Manager during the year being reported on.

Receiving Life Membership

I was surprised and delighted to find that part of the business of the meeting was to award me honorary Life Membership of VolCan.  I would maintain a keen interest in the organisation anyway, but this ensures that I will remain connected in a very special way.  After all the wonderful speeches and gifts I was given when I left this is an overwhelming extra.  I’m now part of a distinguished group of Life Members.

“It means much more than I can say
to be connected in this way.”



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Eighteen outstanding volunteers received Volunteer Recoignition Awards yesterday, and the stories of their achievements were amazing.

VRA Programme (Small)

Chris Harris, a former New Zealand cricketer talked about the importance of volunteers to sport, and two young men from Burnside High School sang beautifully.

Entertainment from Bob Gaudin & James Mountstevens

Entertainment from Bob Gaudin & James Mountstevens

It was a special pleasure for me to be at the Awards, and not have any responsibility for running them.  Well done, Glenda and Richard!  It was also a pleasure to see so many ‘old’ friends there.

“It was good to be present there
and just enjoy, with not a care.”


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Today was my last day of paid employment.  I finished most tasks, and thought of Katherine Mansfield’s need to “leave all fair”.  I think I’ve done that.  My last act was to cut up my managerial credit card.

Cutting the credit card (Small)

Final farewells said, I headed for home, with all sorts of new possibilities to consider.  At my leisure I’ll sort out the wonderful cards and messages, and write some thank-you notes.  I don’t think the fact that I’ve finished my 21 years at Volunteering Canterbury has quite hit me yet.  Maybe it will on Monday morning.

“Next week will have some different days
perhaps I’ll simply sit and laze.”



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My retirement party was an incredible occasion.  I’m still feeling overwhelmed with the speeches, gifts, and the amazing people who came to farewell me – some of whom I hadn’t seen for years.  It was a beautifully organised ceremony and I’m just so grateful to all those who made it a speical time.  Mayor Lianne Dalziel said many kind words, and she took a selfie with me.

Mayor's selfie with Ruth (Small)

Someone (I think it would be Wendy and Glenda) put together a wonderful Memory Book with pictures and messages.

Memory Book (Small)

The Board gave me the most beautiful carving of a matau form with a manaia.  It’s made from Aotea stone which is bluish and found in only one place in the world, in South Westland.  Known as Hine Aotea, it is a special healing stone which carries the essence of divine female energy – a perfect choice.

Manaia (1) (Small)

I (of course) read a rhyming verse I’d written for the occasion, part of which said:

“Although VolCan may now be Ruthless
it never ever will be toothless
in good hands it will go ahead
the volunteering word will spread.”

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