Cultural awareness workshops on offer for volunteers and their managers


Building on the series of very successful, informative and engaging cultural awareness workshops held during 2017, Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and the Mid Canterbury Newcomers Network have partnered with Welcoming Communities to offer a series of cultural awareness workshops to help further educate, upskill and inform volunteers and their managers when working with cultures other than their own. The workshops this year will integrate additional cultures, expand on current understanding and include practical tips.

Mid Canterbury Co-ordinator of Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury Dellwyn Moylan says, that as the Ashburton District continues to welcome people from a variety of cultures, it is important that we continue to support community members and strengthen their confidence when engaging with newcomers, as this helps to build a more connected and inclusive society.

“Our district is fortunate to have wonderful volunteers who contribute to making our community more welcoming and healthy. From the feedback received last year, there was a strong desire for further opportunities to expand volunteer understanding and interaction with other cultures.

“A welcoming and healthy community is more cohesive if we understand each other’s cultures, the values we hold and how best to engage and interact with others. That is why we are pleased to provide further learning opportunities for our volunteers.”

Ashburton Mayor Donna Favel says, “People feel safe in their identity when they are connected with and belong in the community. Volunteers are among the trusted members of our community and these workshops offer our volunteers with the support they need to feel equipped and more able to welcome and interact with newcomers.”

The workshops will start in October with the first workshop building on Māori cultural awareness. The workshop will have a practical application and include being welcomed onto the Marae, as well as learning and understanding of Māori protocol/tikanga when being welcomed onto a marae. The workshop will further include practical tips that assist volunteers and managers of volunteers to feel comfortable on marae and when interacting with Māori in their home, at school or the workplace.

The workshop will be held at Hakatere Marae, State Highway One, Fairton on 15 October from 9.15am - 11am and is open to anyone who volunteers or manages volunteers. The workshop presenter will be Michelle Brett. 

Volunteers are involved in organisations like school PTA’s; managing or coaching sports teams; assisting with church activities; conversation projects’ helping in the health, elderly or social service sector; being a leader or helper with a youth organisation or giving your time in the area of art, culture or heritage.

If you aren’t a volunteer but would like to be one, you can register with 

Registrations for the workshop are essential and close at midday Friday 12 October.

For enquiries or to register go to or contact Mid Canterbury Newcomers Network Co-ordinator Adi Avnit on 027 220 8791 or 03 308 1395 extension 239, or email

​Pictured: Mid Canterbury Newcomers Network Coordinator, Adi Avnit; Mid Canterbury Coordinator of Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury, Dellwyn Moylan; Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Coodinator, Ilana Batchelor; and Hakatere Marae Committee member, Michelle Brett.

Page reviewed: 18 Sep 2018 3:20pm