A wise person once said that volunteers don't get paid—not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.

Each year volunteers make thousands of visits to New Zealand prisons to work with prisoners, which supports Corrections’ aims of reducing re-offending and keeping our communities safe when prisoners transition back into society.

National Volunteer Week (15-21 June) allows Corrections to recognise the invaluable contribution made by our more than 2000 registered volunteers. Over the last year our volunteers made almost 22,500 visits to prison.

This year Corrections is recognising four volunteers who make a contribution towards reducing re-offending and/or supporting strong positive community and iwi connections. They are:

Volunteers support and complement our services and offer constructive activities for prisoners, for example teaching literacy and numeracy, cultural and religious services, budgeting, art, running libraries, quilting, Toastmasters, and much more.

“Our volunteers make a real difference in our prisons and bring their own unique connection that we appreciate,” said Corrections national volunteer advisor Barbara Jennings. “Prisoners really respect the volunteers and are supportive of the help given, often becoming motivated to take part in the more formal programmes offered.”

Ms Jennings says Corrections is always on the lookout for people who feel they may have skills to volunteer, particularly in the areas of prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration activities.

Aspiring volunteers can apply to work with Corrections through a voluntary organisation, or independently; as part of a team, or as an individual. Corrections’ volunteers come from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Volunteers also work as Kaiwhakamana (kaumatua) and Fautua Pasefika (Pacific community leaders).

National Volunteer Week, co-ordinated by Volunteering NZ, is New Zealand’s largest celebration of volunteering. Events and celebrations are held across New Zealand.

New Zealanders rank 8th in the world for volunteering their time, and 2nd equal for “giving” (which includes helping strangers, donating money and volunteering time), according to the World Giving Index study. Statistics show thirty percent of New Zealanders do voluntary work.