O-Red Otago University club member, youth in emergency facilitator, fundraiser

O-Red is nice as I get to connect with my own age group and be with people driven to help their community… We set up a place where women can feel comfortable, safe and confident, when swimming or learning to swim.

Francesca is a 20-year-old student who is an active member of O-Red, New Zealand Red Cross’ group in Otago University, among her many other voluntary pursuits. A key activity that O-Red runs in Dunedin is Project Mermaid – a swimming session in a private pool for women only. Project Mermaid was initially for former refugees, but now any woman or girl under five can join. O-Red organises fundraising activities throughout the year to cover project costs. 

Read more about Francesca here.


Disaster Welfare and Support Team member

There are a lot of mums with their babies who travelled back to China to see family, but are now here without their husband, so they’re on their own. I’ve met a mother with one-year old twins who couldn’t have a shower, because there was no one to take care of the kids.

Nicky is Deputy Team Leader of our Disaster Welfare and Support Team in Hamilton. Trained to provide psychosocial support, also called emotional support, she has been deployed several times to help people affected by disasters or crisis. As a Red Cross volunteer, Nicky has responded to the water contamination in Havelock North, the Edgecumbe floods in 2017, Whakaari/White Island eruption last year, and recently she has supported people who returned from Wuhan, China, in Whangaparāoa training base in early 2020.

Read about Nicky’s experience helping guests in Whangaparāoa here.


National Humanitarian Development Manager

I remember at primary school taking five cents to school to support Red Cross. Half of that money was to give us a milk biscuit to go with our glass of water for lunch, and the other half was being sent to starving children in Africa. That was my first experience with Red Cross.

Carol started working for New Zealand Red Cross in 1990, but her family’s involvement in the organisation spans over 104 years. From her great aunt’s active role when Red Cross first formed groups in New Zealand, to her mother and aunt’s involvement with the Oamaru branch, she’s now the third generation of her family helping Red Cross do good things.

Learn more about Carol’s family history here.


Machinist, single mum of three, former refugee

With this job, I feel like I am doing something good in life. And my children are so happy. They came to the workshop and had a very nice time.

Manahel is a single mother who fled the war in Syria with her three young children. After living in Lebanon for nearly two years, she and her kids settled in Dunedin where she took on a job as a machinist—her first job ever—to provide for her family. For Manahel’s colleagues who work with her daily, Manahel is an inspiration. Her journey, her attitude in life and her warm personality has deeply impacted her team.

Be inspired by Manahel’s journey here.


International Health Delegate

After Cyclone Pam, I found a great deal of relief seeing the overwhelming international support that poured in for my people in Vanuatu. I was thankful for all the help, and a way for me to express my gratitude is to pay it forward with my own skills, knowledge and expertise.

Leina, a Kiwi nurse with ni-Vanuatu roots, is one our international health delegates trained to provide humanitarian support across the world. She is one of twelve delegates deployed to support measles treatment and prevention activities in Samoa in late 2019.

If you want to be an international delegate like Leina, click here.