DWST volunteers are trained to offer comprehensive first aid and psychological and welfare support to communities during an emergency. This page has useful tools and information for our DWST volunteers.

There are 20 New Zealand Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Teams (DWST) around the country, and each team usually has up to 20 members.

New Zealand Red Cross DWST volunteers are part of an emergency management community, which includes staff and volunteers from government and other emergency support agencies. Teams can be deployed to floods, tornados, earthquakes and other emergencies to provide essential support to the community.

All our DWST teams have a reference number to help us communicate efficiently during an emergency.

  • RC06 Whangārei
  • RC07 Auckland
  • RC09 Hamilton
  • RC10 Rotorua
  • RC11 Tauranga
  • RC12 Hawkes Bay
  • RC13 Whanganui
  • RC14 Taranaki
  • RC15 Wairarapa
  • RC18 Kāpiti-Mana
  • RC20 Nelson
  • RC21 Blenheim
  • RC22 Greymouth
  • RC23 Christchurch
  • RC25 Timaru
  • RC26 Queenstown
  • RC27 Dunedin
  • RC28 Invercargill
  • RC29 Gore
  • RC31 Tairāwhiti

DWST volunteers regularly participate in cross-agency exercises to practise different emergency scenarios.

Read more about working with other agencies during an emergency

We are often looking for new volunteers for our teams.

Search for DWST volunteer roles near you

The role of a DWST team leader

Each DWST has a team leader. Team leaders are also volunteers and many are also working full time. We don’t recruit for team leaders but promote DWST volunteers who have the right experience and training.

As a team leader your role is to:

  • Cultivate a positive team culture.
  • Mentor and lead your team.
  • Work closely with Red Cross staff, usually through your Disaster Management Officer (DMO).
  • Help your DMO recruit new team members and appoint team leadership positions.
  • Liaise with our staff to ensure the maintenance of up-to-date records and systems.
  • Facilitate regular meetings and training sessions with your team.

The role of a DWST team member

Your role as a DWST team member includes:

  • Setting up and providing support in evacuation centres.
  • Completing needs assessments to understand what support people need.
  • Providing psychosocial (emotional, practical and social) support.

Tools and guidance

We provide every team with a team email address. For example, AKL07@redcross.org.nz is the email address for the DWST team based in Auckland. This email account is managed by the DWST team leader. Team members use their personal email address to send and receive emails.  

Training and induction

You’ll typically train with your team once a fortnight during the evening. Training times vary from team to team. Your Disaster Management Officer (DMO) will let you know the training schedule for your team.  You can also use Volunteer Rescue to check the schedule. 

DWST training is a combination of in-team training and a deployment course. The deployment course is divided into five modules. The training covers health and safety, and the systems and processes necessary to excel as a DWST volunteer.

You will also attend two first aid training courses delivered by your New Zealand Red Cross colleagues.

DWST Learning Pathway [PDF 40KB]