SPCA New Zealand

SPCA Purina Volunteer of the Year Awards

​Each year, we celebrate the efforts of thousands of Kiwis who volunteer their time, talent and energy to the SPCA with our SPCA Purina Volunteer of the Year Awards. The awards are our opportunity to honour those who go the extra mile to better the lives of animals, and without whom SPCA simply could not function.

SPCA Purina Volunteer of the Year Awards

2020 Volunteer of the Year Awards

When New Zealand went into Lockdown on March 26, a special band of SPCA volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work to help vulnerable animals. During Alert Level 4 and 3 Lockdown, 2,527 SPCA animals went to volunteer foster homes across the country, cared for by dedicated Kiwi families who wanted to make a difference.

Research shows that animal welfare outcomes are better when animals are in foster care rather than animal shelters, so the selfless families who put their hand up to care for an animal during lockdown, can now be celebrated.

To mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week (June 21-27, 2020), the winners of the 2020 SPCA Purina Volunteer Awards have been announced. The awards celebrate the efforts of thousands of Kiwis who volunteer their time, talent and energy to SPCA and who better the lives of animals.

With more than 10 volunteers to every 1 staff member, SPCA’s thousands of volunteers have been described by Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO as “the lifeblood of our organisation”.

“2020 has challenged SPCA in ways we never imagined. But we have been blown away by the commitment and steadfast reliability of our dedicated volunteers, even in the most difficult of times,” she says.

While SPCA volunteers weren’t allowed to come to their local centres during the lockdown for their shifts, many stepped up and fostered animals at their homes.

The awards recognise the contribution made by volunteers at SPCA’s 38 Centres and 56 SPCA Op Shops across New Zealand. Volunteers help with every aspect of SPCA’s work – from cleaning and feeding animals, to helping with administration and fundraising. Our Op Shop volunteers receive, clean and merchandise donated goods to help raise vital funds.

More than 170 nominations were received from SPCA staff and volunteers for this year’s Awards, and judged by SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen, and Jennifer Chappell, General Manager, Purina Petcare.

Six award categories put a spotlight on the different ways volunteers contribute to the SPCA. The 2020 winners are:

Best Volunteer Team

Joss Grieve and Helen Welsh of Christchurch

Joss and Helen are at the SPCA Centre multiple days of the week, helping in any way they can. No job is too big or too small for them, and they always come up with innovative ideas to help around the centre. This team make sure the animals have clean blankets, are stocked up on food, and have plenty of socialisation! Together, they have allowed the expansion of the foster programme, which means the centre can help hundreds of animals in need. Leading up to the Level 4 lockdown, Joss and Helen helped with the mad rush to get many animals out to foster, which made such a difference to these animals’ lives.

Fantastic Foster Family

Tracey, Dave, and Tanesha Thompson of Waipukurau

Tracey, Dave and Tanesha have volunteered their skills and experience to help with equine rescue through the inspectorate. This family has helped the SPCA to transport, treat and rehome eleven horses since they started volunteering with us. They have collected horses from Dannevirke to Omahu and lots of places in between. Looking after horses, is hard work. It is time consuming medicating, grooming, feeding and socializing these big animals. They also take up a lot of room! Tracey and her family have a lovely stable, grooming area, yards and pastures for our horses to stay in and enjoy. They supply covers, extra hard feeds, halters and anything else our horses may require. They do all this because they absolutely LOVE horses.

Going the Extra Mile Award

David Orr of Nelson

David is an exceptional worker – he is known to do the job of two people! He spreads good cheer when he works, and even when he is not rostered on, he stops in every day to check on the Op Shop to see if they need extra help. David has been described as a ‘human dynamo’ who keeps the place running smoothly. He is often seen putting up shelving, sorting the first aid kit, bolting racks together, and fixing the fittings and fixtures. David is also devoted to his dog, Hope, and is never seen without her. His positive attitude and kindness of spirit inspire everyone he comes across.

Best Op Shop Team

SPCA Second Chance Op Shop in Kamo

The Second Chance Op Shop in Kamo is made up of a fabulous volunteer team. They have gone from strength to strength over the years, and every single day, a volunteer is going above and beyond of what is expected. The shop is tidy, well-organised, and more streamlined in handling donations than ever before. Many volunteers in the store are retired and give up their time to share their talents and experience to keep the Op Shop running.

Most Devoted Volunteer

Karen Sanson of Hamilton

Karen is not only a foster parent, but she saw how busy the centre was on Saturdays with the adoption rush, so decided to do something about it! She volunteered and helps on this day, and also created a roster of family and friends to help so the centre always has an extra pair of hands. Karen doesn’t stop there; she loves to help fundraise! During lockdown, Karen had seven foster kittens, and she always take action to get things done. Karen is the type of volunteer who can be relied on 100% of the time and is truly exceptional.

Outstanding Young Volunteer

Kerenapu Winiata-Katting of Rotorua

Kere has been a great mentor to new recruits guiding and helping new volunteers to learn procedures and protocols at the SPCA Rotorua Centre, and is always reliable and confident in handling the animals. She is a strong advocate for animal welfare and promotes these messages positively in her whanau and community. Kere demonstrates a high degree of compassion and empathy for all animals in our care. We truly appreciate her contribution to our organisation and enjoy having her here as part of the Rotorua SPCA team.

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