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 2-4 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 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 24 Oct, 6.30-9.00pm
  2. Wednesday 31 Oct, 6.30-9.00pm
  3. Wednesday 7 Nov, 6.30-9.00pm
  4. Wednesday 14 Nov, 6.30-9.00pm
  5. Wednesday 21 Nov, 6.30-9.00pm
  6. Saturday 24 Nov, 9.00am-2.00pm
  7. Wednesday 28 Nov, 6.30-9.00pm

Planning meeting Wednesday 5 December, 6.30pm

Placement starts from Friday 7 December

January Training Programme

  1. Wednesday 16 Jan 6:30 - 9:00pm
  2. Wednesday 23 Jan 6:30 - 9:00pm
  3. Wednesday 30 Jan 6:30 - 9:00pm
  4. Thursday 7 Feb 6:30 - 9:00pm
  5. Wednesday 13 Feb 6:30 - 9:00pm

  6. Saturday 16 Feb 9:30am - 2:00pm

  7. Wednesday 20 Feb 6:30 - 9:00pm

Planning meeting Wednesday 27 February 6:30pm

Placement starts from Friday 1 March


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

July training programme:

  1. The Refugee Experience, 10 July, 9.30am-12pm or 6-9pm
  2. The RS Volunteer role and Support Services, 17 July, 9.30am-12pm or 6-9pm
  3. Health and Well-being, 24 July, 9.30am-12pm or 6-9pm
  4. Education and Employment, 31 July, 9.30am-12pm or 6-9pm
  5. Culture, 7 August, 9.30am-12pm or 6-9pm

September training programme:

  1. The Refugee Experience, 6 September, 9.30am-12.30pm or 6-9pm
  2. The RS Volunteer role and Support Services, 13 September, 9.30am-12.30pm or 6-9pm
  3. Health and Well-being, 20 September, 9.30am-12.30pm or 6-9pm
  4. Education and Employment, 27 September, 9.30am-12.30pm or 6-9pm
  5. Culture, 4 October, 9.30am-12.30pm or 6-9pm


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

September training programme:

  1. Thursday 13 September, 6:30-8pm
  2. Saturday 15 September,  9am-3:30pm
  3. Saturday 29 September,  9am-3:30pm

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


July Training:
  1. Wednesday 4 July, 6-8:30pm
  2. Wednesday 11 July, 6-8:30pm
  3. Wednesday 18 July, 6-8:30pm
  4. Wednesday 25 July, 6-8:30pm
  5. Wednesday 1 August, 6-8:30pm
  6. Saturday 4 August, 10am-4pm

August Training:

  1. Wednesday 29 August, 6-8:30pm
  2. Wednesday 5 September, 6-8:30pm
  3. Wednesday 12 September, 6-8:30pm
  4. Wednesday 19 September, 6-8:30pm
  5. Wednesday 26 September, 6-8:30pm
  6. Saturday 29 September, 10am-4:00pm

October Training:

  1. Wednesday 24 October, 6-8:30pm
  2. Wednesday 31 October, 6-8:30pm
  3. Wednesday 7 November, 6-8:30pm
  4. Wednesday 14 November, 6-8:30pm
  5. Wednesday 21 November, 6-8:30pm
  6. Saturday 24 November, 10am-4pm


August training programme:

  • Saturday 4 August, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Sunday 5 August, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Thursday 9 August, 5.30pm-8.30pm
September training programme:

  • Saturday 22 September, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Sunday 23 September, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Thursday 27 September, 5.30pm-8.30pm
November training programme:

  • Saturday 17 November, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Sunday 18 November, 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Thursday 22 November, 5.30pm-8.30pm


November training programme:

  • Friday 16 November, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 17 November, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 20 November, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Friday 23 November, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 24 November, 10.00am-2.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Monday 3 December.

February training programme:

  • Friday 8 February, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 9 February, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 12 February, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Friday 15 February, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 16 February, 10.00-2.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Monday 25 February.

April training programme:

  • Friday 29 March, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 30 March, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Tuesday 2 April, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Friday 5 April, 5.30-8.00pm
  • Saturday 6 April, 10.00-2.00pm

A planning meeting is likely to be held on or after Tuesday 23 April.


September Training

  • Tuesday 18 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 22 September, 9.00-4:30pm
  • Tuesday 25 September, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 29 September, 9.00-4.30pm

Planning meeting: Monday 8th October 6-8pm

November Training

  • Tuesday 13 November, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 17 November, 9.00-4.30pm
  • Wednesday 21 November, 6.00-8.30pm
  • Saturday 24 November, 9.00-4.30pm

Planning meeting: Monday 3rd December 6-8pm

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!).