Skip to main content
12:00am Wednesday 23rd June 2021


The mahi of those who’ve spent their free time helping Civil Defence respond to emergencies is being recognised during National Volunteer Week. 

From earthquakes to COVID-19 to the most recent event, the Canterbury floods, the past year has been a busy one for the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group and its teams of highly-skilled volunteers.

This year's theme for volunteer week is 'recognise, connect, reimagine' – and in particular we want to recognise our approximately 400 CDEM volunteers, including New Zealand Response teams (NZRTs), Emergency Support teams, Welfare Volunteers, Area Headquarter Volunteers and Community Response Volunteers across Canterbury.

New Zealand’s NZRTs and Canterbury’s CDEM volunteer teams are trained to professional standards as an emergency resource that can complement or support the everyday emergency services when they are overwhelmed beyond their normal capabilities.

These teams are made up of enthusiastic volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds and skillsets, with the attributes required to function efficiently under stressful emergency conditions.

Not only only that, but they have the training to ensure they operate as a professional team which works smoothly under the Coordinated Incident Management System  (CIMS). They are one of the first calls put in by CDEM groups around the country when ‘stuff hits the fan’. 

Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) acting Group Controller James Thompson said volunteers are a vital cog in the wheel when it comes to responding to an event in a timely and professional manner.

“Our volunteers truly are an integral part of a response – they get into our communities to do the leg work during an event, potentially saving lives as they do it,” he said.

“Without them, the load on the local Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) would have been considerably heavier during the flooding.

“When it comes to things like welfare checks, stop bank monitoring and delivering food and medicine, our volunteers truly are the backbone of a response,” James said.

Work for our NZRT teams that deployed across Canterbury during the recent flooding event included:

  • Flooding and river monitoring
  • Ground evacuations
  • Working cordons
  • Delivering food, water and medications to residents in need
  • Supporting local councils and working with partner organisations
  • Reconnaissance of properties, roading and infrastructure damage.

If you want to find out more about the recent flooding event, head to this CDEM page. For available support following the floods, head here.

He tino pai to mahi! You’ve done a great job!



Share this page