Refugee support volunteer

Your support makes it easier for former refugees to feel safe again, get used to new systems, new cultures, learn ‘Kiwi’ English and build networks.

Our refugee support volunteers are extraordinary community helpers who welcome new Kiwis. They are and are a core part of the services we offer to former refugees. They become part of a skilled team, working with peoples' strengths to overcome the challenges of settling in a new place. 

Our refugee support volunteers help families start again.

Refugee support volunteers gain experience working across cultures, as part of a diverse team. They develop an in depth understanding of community support agencies and support work. Refugee support volunteers often become families’ first Kiwi friends, sharing unique moments,  getting to know each other and each other’s culture. By offering valuable support and assistance to new Kiwis, refugee support volunteers change lives, including their own.


Refugee support volunteers work within a team of helpers to support former refugees as they embark on their settlement journey. Teams are formed on volunteer availability, skills and interests.

Volunteer tasks may include:

  • Setting up a home for a refugee family/individual before they arrive
  • Helping the family enrol with schools and doctors
  • Budgeting, shopping and how to use an ATM machine
  • Showing the family how to use public transport
  • Social visits and recreation activities
  • Generally explaining how things work in New Zealand

COVID-19 and Volunteering

New Zealand Red Cross requires its people – employees, members and those that volunteer their time – to be fully vaccinated. If you are interested in volunteering for New Zealand Red Cross you will need to provide your ‘My vaccine Pass’ when required. This is important as we place our people at the heart of everything we do, ensuring we take steps to prioritise health, safety and well-being.

Time commitment

The first 2 to 4 weeks of a placement are generally the busiest, filled with initial appointments and settling in tasks. After the first 6 weeks, less time is required as the family becomes more settled and tasks are completed. By this stage volunteers typically spend time with their family or individual on a once-weekly basis.


New Zealand Red Cross prepares and provides ongoing support, ensuring volunteers have everything they need to warmly welcome new Kiwi’s to Aotearoa. 

All refugee support volunteers take part in our comprehensive, multi-day training and are expected to attend each session. Each training programme covers a range of topics including:

  • An introduction to the refugee experience
  • The role of the refugee support volunteer teams and teamwork
  • Refugee health, wellbeing and education
  • Key support services
  • Working cross-culturally

Training programmes are run in each of the settlement areas at varying times throughout the year. Volunteers also receive mentoring and support throughout their placement.


  • Masterton

  • Palmerston North

  • Wellington

  • Nelson

  • Blenheim

  • Dunedin

  • Invercargill

Want to help, but don't have time?

Make a donation today and help vulnerable people receive the lifesaving support they need.
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