Nettie had always been drawn to volunteering, but being self-employed meant she rarely had time to devote to community work.

Retirement offered that opportunity.

“Retirement doesn’t have to mean sitting around twiddling your thumbs, at my age you have the time and can make the time,” she says.

“There’s such a need in society now for voluntary work and such a burden put on the voluntary sector, so it’s important now more than ever.”

While there were many volunteering positions she was interested in, Nettie felt that the media exposure of the global refugee situation was something she couldn’t ignore.

Nelson is one of six refugee resettlement locations in New Zealand and Red Cross is the main provider of resettlement support.

As part of these programmes, teams of volunteers partner up with families to help them adjust to their new lives in New Zealand.

Nettie has supported three different families on their resettlement journey since she started volunteering with Red Cross and has found each of them to be a rewarding experience.

“As a volunteer you are on the coalface, you’re there and you can see the difference you’re making to peoples everyday lives,” she says.

“I enjoy watching people build up their confidence and become part of the community.”

Over the years, volunteering has also been a great opportunity for Nettie to meet new people and make friends, especially when she first arrived in Nelson.

“It’s a great way to meet people,” she says, “and if you have any desire to do good, this is a great avenue to contribute to the community.”

Good people doing good things is an important part of Red Cross programmes and the team in Nelson is always looking for more refugee support volunteers.

If you’re interested you can get in touch with jettie.skerten@redcross.org.nz or call 03 546 5012.