Through the Community help volunteering programme, our employees get involved with a wide range of community organisations and activities around the country. Staff are given one day a year to get out of the office and help out a charitable organisation.
Here are few stories of our efforts:
People from our risk and underwriting team spent a glorious day on Motutapu, an island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, as volunteers playing their part to help the Motutapu Restoration Trust restore the cultural and natural landscape of the island. Tree planting, nursery work and weed control were the order of the day for the volunteers.
Product innovation manager Beth Coleman spent the day planting seedlings into containers and found some time to explore Motutapu as well. “The whole day was brilliantly organised and taking part in it was so worthwhile. Doing work that makes a difference to the environment fits so well with our position on sustainability,” says Beth.
Business information manager John Sims became something of an expert on the moth plant on Motutapu as well, spending the afternoon weeding out invasive vines and destructive, unwanted plants. “This was my first time on the Island. Would I do it again? Definitely.”
The 'HeartStopper Challenge' is an annual event that aims to raise money for Heart Children NZ who provide life long support for those affected by children's heart disease. As part of the challenge, four brave volunteers form State Levin canvassed friends, family and colleagues for donations, before plunging into a pool of icy water for five whole minutes. The big plunge was tackled on Sunday in Palmerston North in front of a crowd of cheering supporters, and the State Levin team managed to raise over $400 for Heart Children NZ.
On International Volunteer Day 5th December 2008, a mega-team of 24 staff from HR, Admin, Communications & Media, State Marketing, and State Personal spent a day helping out at the Zoo.
But there was no monkey-ing around. The team rolled up their sleeves and undertook a range of activities, including: weeding the pig enclosure in KidZone, painting animal houses and sweeping out yards, cleaning the lemur moat and weeding their enclosure, weeding the wallaby enclosure, and building a trampoline for the Orangutans.
The zoo said that it would have taken them 9-10 weeks to do what our people did in one day!
Our Christchurch staff don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Fifty of them chose to spend their day planting trees in the Travis Wetland. One paid day a year is offered to all our people to help out in the community. For the Travis Wetland volunteers it was hard yakka - but also extremely satisfying, according to organiser Janeth Greenaway.
"The wetland restoration project offers us a unique opportunity to contribute to a precious conservational and recreational resource," she says.
"We all found it personally and professionally rewarding - a chance to engage with the community while protecting our local environment for future generations."
Once restored, the Travis Wetland - the country’s largest urban freshwater wetland - will play a vital role in reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing the area’s systems for water storage and flood control. It will also be an invaluable reservoir for biospanersity, encouraging native wildlife to return to the area.
Clyde Quay Primary School in Wellington was in dire need of assistance to undertake some overdue maintenance and had registered their need with Volunteer Wellington.
Taking the opportunity to be helpful and encourage some community help from within her business unit, Business Support Advisor Maria Meilink organised a group of her work colleagues to leave the relative warmth and comfort of the office and go back to school for a day.
Staff enjoyed the day out together engaging in a wide range of activities, helping to paint car parks, clean guttering, sand benches, drill holes for posts, and weed the school grounds.
Judy Kerr from Volunteer Wellington wrote to State after the event: "Thank you very much for helping out at Clyde Quay School. Teachers and pupils will benefit from all your good work. It will be the cleanest and brightest school in town!"