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

November Training Programme

  1. Wednesday 26 October, 6.30-9pm
  2. Wednesday 2 November, 6.30-9pm
  3. Wednesday 9 November, 6.30-9pm
  4. Wednesday 16 November, 6.30-9pm
  5. Wednesday 23 November, 6.30-9pm
  6. Saturday 26 November, 9.00am-2pm
  7. Wednesday 30 December, 6.30-9pm

A planning meeting will be held on Monday 5 December, 6.30pm

Placement begins Friday 9 December, 10 am

January Training Programme 

  1. Wednesday 18 January 6.30-9pm 
  2. Wednesday 25 January, 6.30-9pm 
  3. Wednesday 1 February, 6.30-9pm 
  4. Wednesday 8 February, 6.30-9pm 
  5. Wednesday 15 February, 6.30-9pm 
  6. Saturday 18 February, 9am-2pm 
  7. Wednesday 22 February, 6.30-9pm 
Planning Monday 27 February, 6.30pm 

Moving Day – 10am Friday 3 March


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

September Training Programme

  1. Thursday 1 September 6-9pm
  2. Thursday 8 September 6-9pm
  3. Thursday 15 September 6-9pm
  4. Thursday 22 September 6-9pm
  5. Thursday 29 September 6-9pm
October/November Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 25 Oct either 9:30am–12:30pm OR 6–9pm
  2. Tuesday 1 Nov either 9:30am–12:30pm OR 6–9pm
  3. Tuesday 8 Nov either 9:30am–12:30pm OR 6–9pm
  4. Tuesday 15 Nov either 9:30am–12:30pm OR 6–9pm
  5. Tuesday 22 Nov either 9:30am–12:30pm OR 6–9pm

Palmerston North

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

October/November training programme

  1. Thursday 27 October 6.15-9.00pm
  2. Tuesday 6 November 6.15-9.00pm
  3. Tuesday 8 November 6.15-9.00pm
  4. Thursday 10 November 6.15-9.00pm
  5. Thursday 17 November 6.15-9.00pm
  6. Tuesday 22 November 6.15-9.00pm
  7. Individual placement meeting with Volunteer Coordinator will be arranged during last week of training
  8. Team planning meeting will be arranged for each team after training finishes.
  9. Friday 9 December (Time to be notified) - Arrival day.


August/September training programme

  1. Wednesday 31 August, 6.30-9pm
  2. Wednesday 7 September  6.30-9pm
  3. Wednesday 14 September  6.30-9pm
  4. Wednesday 21 September 6.30-9pm
  5. Wednesday 28 September 6.30-9pm
  6. Saturday 1 October 10-4pm

Pre-arrival meeting 10 October 6.30-9pm

Arrival 14 October 

October/November training programme

  1. Wednesday 26 October 6.30-9pm
  2. Wednesday 2 November 6.30-9pm
  3. Wednesday 9 November 6.30-9pm
  4. Wednesday 16 November 6.30-9pm
  5. Wednesday 23 November 6.30-9pm
  6. Saturday 26 November 10-4pm

Pre arrival meeting 5 December 6.30-9pm

Arrival 9 December 

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.


September training programme

  1. Friday 16 September 6pm – 8:30pm
  2. Saturday 17 September 9:30am – 3:30pm
  3. Sunday 18 September 9:30am – 3:00pm
  4. Thursday 22 September 5:30pm – 8:30pm


September Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 20 September 6:30-9pm
  2. Thursday 22 September 6:30-9pm
  3. Tuesday 27 September 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 29 September 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 4 October 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 6 October 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 8 October 9:30-2pm

A planning meeting will be held on Monday 10 October at 6:30pm.

November Training Programme

  1. Tuesday 15 November 6:30-9pm
  2. Thursday 17 November 6:30-9pm
  3. Tuesday 22 November 6:30-9pm
  4. Thursday 24 November 6:30-9pm
  5. Tuesday 29 November 6:30-9pm
  6. Thursday 1 December 6:30-9pm
  7. Saturday 3 December 9:30-2pm

A planning meeting will be held on Monday 5 December at 6:30pm.

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!).