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

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

March Training Programme

  1. Friday 31 March, 5.30-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 1 April, 9.30am-3.30pm
  3. Sunday 2 April, 9.30am-3pm
  4. Thursday 6 April, 5.30-8.45pm


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

March training programme

  1. Tuesday 14 March either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  2. Tuesday 21 March either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  3. Tuesday 28 March either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  4. Tuesday 4 April either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  5. Tuesday 11 April either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm

May training programme

  1. Thursday 11 May either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  2. Thursday 18 May either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  3. Thursday 25 May either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  4. Thursday 1 June either 9:30am-12:30pm or 6-9pm
  5. Thursday 8 June 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.

January/February training programme

1. Tuesday 31 January 6.15-9.00pm

2. Thursday 2 February 6.15-9.00pm

3. Tuesday 7 February 6.15-9.00pm

4. Thursday 9 February 6.15-9.00pm

5. Tuesday 14 February 6.15-9.00pm

6. Thursday 16 February 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 3 March (Time to be notified) - ARRIVAL DAY


February intake

1. Wednesday 18th January, 6.30-9pm

2. Wednesday 25th January, 6.30-9pm

3.Wednesday 1st February, 6.30-9pm

4.Wednesday 8th February, 6.30-9pm

5. Wednesday 15th February, 6.30-9pm

6.Saturday 18th February, 10-4pm

April Intake

1. Wednesday 22nd March, 6.30-9pm

2.Wednesday 29th March, 6.30-9pm

3.Wednesday 5th April, 6.30-9pm

4.Wednesday 12th April, 6.30-9pm

5.Wednesday 19th April, 6.30-9pm

6. Saturday 22nd April, 10-4pm

June 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.


March/April training programme

  1. Friday 31 March, 5.30-8.30pm
  2. Saturday 1 April, 9.30am-3.30pm
  3. Sunday 2 April, 9.30am-3pm
  4. Thursday 6 April, 5.30-8.45pm


Volunteering information sessions will be held at 4PM and 6PM on Tuesday, January 31st.

February training programme

  1. Tuesday 7 February 6:30 – 9PM
  2. Thursday 9 February 6:30 – 9PM
  3. Tuesday 14 February 6:30 – 9PM
  4. Thursday 16 February 6:30 – 9PM
  5. Tuesday 21 February 6:30 – 9PM
  6. Thursday 23 February 6:30 – 9PM
  7. Saturday 25 February 9AM – 2PM

A planning meeting will be held on Monday 27 February, 6:30pm

March training programme

  1. Tuesday 28 March 6:30 – 9PM
  2. Thursday 30 March 6:30 – 9PM
  3. Saturday 1 April 9AM – 2PM
  4. Tuesday 4 April 6:30 – 9PM
  5. Thursday 6 April 6:30 – 9PM
  6. Monday 10 April 6:30 – 9PM
  7. Tuesday 11 April 6:30 – 9PM

A planning meeting will be held on Monday 24th April, 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!).