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 volunteers

Our 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 complimentary 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 the Loulou family, former refugees, about their experience with their Red Cross volunteer:

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. By this stage volunteers typically spend time with their family or individual on a weekly basis.


All volunteers take part in our comprehensive, multi-day training.  Training programmes are run in each of the resettlement 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

May intake

  1. Wednesday 10th May, 6.30-9pm
  2. Wednesday 17th May, 6.30-9pm
  3. Wednesday 24th May, 6.30-9pm
  4. Wednesday 31st May, 6.30-9pm

June intake

  1. Wednesday 7th June, 6.30-9pm
  2. Saturday 10th June, 9am-2pm
  3. Wednesday 14th June, 6.30-9pm

Planning day: Monday 19th June, 6.30pm

Moving day: Friday 23rd June, 10am

July intake

  1. Wednesday 5th July, 6.30-9pm
  2. Wednesday 12th July, 6.30-9pm
  3. Wednesday 19th July, 6.30-9pm
  4. Wednesday 26th July, 6.30-9pm

August Training Programme

  1. Wednesday 2nd Aug, 6.30-9pm
  2. Saturday 5th Aug, 9.00am-2pm
  3. Wednesday 9th Aug, 6.30-9pm

Planning day: Monday 14th Aug, 6.30pm

Moving day: Friday 18th Aug, 10am


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

May training programme:

  • Session 1: The Refugee Experience; 11 May at 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  • Session 2: The RSV-role and Support Services; 18 May at 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  • Session 3: Health and Well-being; 25 May at 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  • Session 4: Education and Employment; 1 June at 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  • Session 5: Culture; 8 June at 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm

July training programme:

  • Session 1: The Refugee Experience; 4 July 6-9pm
  • Session 2: The RSV-role and Support Services; 11 July 6-9pm
  • Session 3: Health and Well-being; 18 July 6-9pm
  • Session 4: Education and Employment; 25 July 6-9pm
  • Session 5: Culture; 1 August 6-9pm


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

May intake

1: Thursday 18th May 6.15-9.00pm

2: Tuesday 23rd May 6.15-9.00pm

3: Thursday 25th May 6.15-9.00pm

4: Tuesday 30th May 6.15-9.00pm

5: Tuesday 6th Jun 6.15-9.00pm

6: Thursday 8th June 6.15 – 9.00pm

June/July intake

1: Tuesday 27th June 6.15-9.00pm

2: Tuesday 4th July 6.15-9.00pm

3: Tuesday 11th July 6.15-9.00pm

4: Tuesday 18th July 6.15-9.00pm

5: Tuesday 25th July 6.15-9.00pm

6: Tuesday 1st Aug 6.15-9.00pm

August/September intake

1: Tuesday 22nd Aug 6.15-9.00pm

2: Thursday 24th Aug 6.15-9.00pm

3: Tuesday 29th Aug 6.15-9.00pm

4: Thursday 31st Aug 6.15-9.00pm

5: Tuesday 5th Sept 6.15-9.00pm

6: Tuesday 12th Sept 6.15-9.00pm

November intake

1: Thursday 2nd Nov 6.15-9.00pm

2: Thursday 9th Nov 6.15-9.00pm

3: Tuesday 14th Nov 6.15-9.00pm

4: Thursday 16th Nov 6.15-9.00pm

5: Tuesday 21st Nov 6.15-9.00pm

6: Thursday 23rd Nov 6.15-9.00pm

Dates are subject to change and will be confirmed 4 weeks prior to course start date.


May intake

1. Wednesday 10th May, 6.30-9pm

2. Wednesday 17th May, 6.30-9pm

3. Wednesday 24th May, 6.30-9pm

4.Wednesday 31st May, 6.30-9pm

5.Wednesday 7th June, 6.30-9pm

6. Saturday 10th June, 10-4pm

August intake

1. Wednesday 5th July, 6.30-9pm

2.Wednesday 12th July, 6.30-9pm

3.Wednesday 19th July, 6.30-9pm

4.Wednesday 26th July, 6.30-9pm

5. Wednesday 2nd August, 6.30-9pm

6. Saturday 5th August, 10-4pm

October intake

1. Wednesday 30th August, 6.30-9pm

2. Wednesday 6th September, 6.30-9pm

3. Wednesday 13th September, 6.30-9pm

4. Wednesday 20th September, 6.30-9pm

5. Wednesday 27th September, 6.30-9pm

6. Saturday 30th September, 10-4pm

December intake

1. Wednesday 25th October, 6.30-9pm

2. Wednesday 1st November, 6.30-9pm

3. Wednesday 8th November, 6.30-9pm

4. Wednesday 15th November, 6.30-9pm

5. Wednesday 22nd November, 6.30-9pm

6. Saturday 25th November, 10-4pm

Please note: The priority areas where volunteers are needed are Porirua and the Hutt. If you're in Wellington, you may be required to travel to these areas.


August intake

  1. Friday 21 July, 5.30-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 22 July, 9.30am-3.30pm
  3. Sunday 23 July, 9.30am-3pm
  4. Thursday 27 July, 5.30-8.45pm


May intake

  1. Tuesday 23 May 6:30-9pm
  2. Thursday 25 May 6:30-9pm 
  3. Tuesday 30 May 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 1 June 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 6 June 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 8 June 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 10 June 9am-2pm

Planning meeting: Monday 19 June 6:30-9pm

July intake

  1. Tuesday 18 July 6:30 – 9pm
  2. Thursday 20 July 6:30-9pm
  3. Tuesday 25 July 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 27 July 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 1 August 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 3 August 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 5 August 9am-2pm

Planning meeting: Monday 14 August 6:30-9pm

September intake

  1. Tuesday 19 Sept 6:30-9pm
  2. Thursday 21 Sept 6:30-9pm
  3. Tuesday 26 Sept 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 28 Sept 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 3 October 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 5 October 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 7 October 9am-2pm

Planning meeting: Monday 9 October 6:30-9pm

November intake

  1. Tuesday 14 Nov 6:30-9pm
  2. Thursday 16 Nov 6:30-9pm
  3. Tuesday 21 Nov 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 23 Nov 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 28 Nov 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 30 Nov 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 2 December 9am-2pm

Planning meeting: Monday 4 December 6:30-9pm

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!).