Volunteer to help former refugees

Our Refugee Support Volunteers do an extraordinary job and are a core part of the services we offer to former refugees.

We love our Refugee Support Volunteers

Our Refugee Support Volunteers are a friendly face and supportive guide. After training, volunteers begin their placement with a newly arrived family or individual. They work in teams to provide support and often find they become good friends with their team members. Teams are decided upon volunteer availability. We also try to match people with complementary skills.

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
  • Generally explaining how things work in New Zealand.

Hear from Refugee Support Volunteers Bob, Frances and Emma on what it's like to set up a home for a former refugee family:

Hear from the Loulou family, former refugees, about their experience with their Red Cross Refugee Support Volunteer:

Become a refugee services support volunteer

Time commitment

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


All Refugee Support Volunteers take part in our comprehensive, multi-day training and are expected to attend each session. 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.

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, well-being and education
  • Key support services
  • Culture

Upcoming training schedules


All training sessions are held at Red Cross, 33 Lambie Drive, Manukau.

Planning meeting Wednesday 14 August 6.30pm

Planned Moving Day – Friday 16 August, 10.00am

Applications for July close Friday 7 June

September 2019 Training Programme

  • Wednesday 28 August, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 4 September, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 11 September, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 18 September, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 25 September, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Saturday 28 September, 9:00am-2.00pm
  • Wednesday 2 October, 6.30pm-9.00pm

Planning meeting Wednesday 9 October, 6.30pm

Planned Moving Day – Friday 11 October, 10.00am

Applications for September close Friday 2 August

November 2019 Training Programme

  • Wednesday 23 October, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 30 October, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 6 November, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 13 November, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Wednesday 20 November, 6.30-9.00pm
  • Saturday 23 November, 9:00am-2.00pm
  • Wednesday 27 November, 6.30pm-9.00pm

Planning meeting Wednesday 4 December, 6.30pm

Planned Moving Day – Friday 6 December, 10.00am

Applications for September close Friday 4 October


All training sessions are held at Red Cross, 422 Te Rapa Road, Hamilton.

July/August 2019 Training Programme
  • Thursday 11 July, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 18 July, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 25 July, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 1 August, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 8 August, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
September/October 2019 Training Programme

  • Tuesday 3 September, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Tuesday 10 September, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Tuesday 17 September, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Tuesday 24 September, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Tuesday 2 October, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm

October/November 2019 Training Programme

  • Thursday 31 October, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 7 November, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 14 November, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 21 November, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm
  • Thursday 28 November, 9.30am-12.00pm or 6.00-9.00pm


All training sessions are held at Red Cross First Aid training room, 245 Main Street, Palmerston North.

July 2019 Training Programme

  • Thursday 18 July, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 20 July, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Saturday 27 July, 9.30am-3.30pm

September 2019 Training Programme

  • Thursday 19 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 21 September, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Saturday 28 September, 9.30am-3.30pm

Please come to the main reception of the Red Cross service centre.

Out-of-hours access is through the Training Room door to the left of the Red Cross book shop.

Dates are subject to change and will be confirmed 3 weeks prior to the course start date.


Schedule adjustment: During the August/September and October/November training programmes, we will run both evening and daytime sessions. You will be asked to attend either all Wednesday evening sessions along with a Saturday session, or two Tuesday daytime sessions along with a Saturday session.

August/September Training Programme (evening)

  • Wednesday 28 August, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 4 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 11 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 18 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 25 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 28 September, 10.00am-4.00pm

Alternate August/September Training Programme (daytime)

  • Tuesday 17 September, 9.30am-2.30pm
  • Tuesday 24 September, 9.30am-2.30pm
  • Saturday 28 September, 10.00am-4pm

October/November Training Programme (evening)

  • Wednesday 23 October, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 30 October, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 6 November, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 13 November, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Wednesday 20 November, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 23 November, 10.00am-4.00pm

Alternate October/November Training Programme (daytime)

  • Tuesday 12 November, 9.30am-2.30pm
  • Tuesday 19 November, 9.30am-2.30pm
  • Saturday 23 November, 10.00am-4.00pm


July 2019 Training Programme

  • Saturday 20 July, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Sunday 21 July, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Thursday 25 July, 5:30-8:30pm

September 2019 Training Programme

  • Saturday 7 September, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Sunday 8 September, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Thursday 12 September, 5:30-8:30pm
November 2019 Training Programme
  • Saturday 16 November, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Sunday 17 November, 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Thursday 21 November, 5:30-8:30pm


September 2019 Training Programme

  • Wednesday 4th September, 5:30-8.30pm
  • Thursday 5th September, 5:30-8:30pm
  • Saturday 7th September, 10am-3pm
  • Wednesday 11th September, 5:30-8:30pm
  • Thursday 12th September; 5:30-8.30pm

A planning meeting will be held on Wednesday 25th September, 5:30-8pm


July Training Programme

  • Friday 26 July, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 27 July, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 30 July, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Friday 2 August, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 3 August, 10.00am-3.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Monday 12 August.

September Training Programme

  • Friday 20 September, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 21 September, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 24 September, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Friday 27 September, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 28 September, 10.00am-3.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Monday 7 October.

November Training Programme

  • Friday 15 November, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 16 November, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 19 November, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Friday 22 November, 5.30pm-8.00pm
  • Saturday 23 November, 10.00am-3.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Monday 2 December.


July/August 2019 Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 23 July 6.00pm-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 27 July 9.00am-4.30pm
  3. Tuesday 30 July 6.00pm-8.30pm
  4. Saturday 3 August 9.00am-4.30pm

Planning meeting: Monday 12th August, 6.00-8.00pm

September 2019 Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 17 September 6.00pm-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 21 September 9.00am-4.30pm
  3. Tuesday 24 September 6.00pm-8.30pm
  4. Saturday 28 September 9.00am-4.30pm

Planning meeting: Monday 07 October 6.00-8.00pm

November 2019 Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 12 November 6.00pm-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 16 November 9.00am-4.30pm
  3. Tuesday 19 November 6.00pm-8.30pm
  4. Saturday 23 November 9.00am-4.30pm

Planning meeting: Monday 2 December 6.00-8.00pm

Contact details

For more information about volunteering in your region, please contact:

Become a Refugee Support Volunteer

Volunteering is a fun and rewarding experience. Our refugee support volunteers help families start again, while learning about new cultures, meeting new people and changing lives (including their own!).

Sign up to help