Sun, Feb 26, 2023 9:00 AM

Volunteering helps retiree stay connected to his community



By Elizabeth O’Halloran

The overwhelming majority of community organisations, 89.2%, do not have any paid employees.

Grant retired eight years ago and has enthusiastically embraced volunteering – finding it a rewarding way to use his time and give back in his community.

“As an active retiree, I really enjoy being involved with meaningful volunteer work. It is very rewarding to see the results of our labour, and to be able to spend quality time with like-minded people”, he says.

For many New Zealanders who are retired, giving back to the community is an important part of their life.

Grant and his wife Lynne are clear – they could not manage without NZ Super, and while it does not cover everything, it means they have been able to both stop working and make the most of this period of their lives.

Grant started working as a teenager and had a busy career working in engineering.

“We were always happy to live within our means, so never got into any financial difficulties. We brought up four children, and for the most part only had one income, so at times money was tight.”

When Grant and Lynne retired, they downsized and moved out of Auckland. One of the benefits of this move has been meeting people in their new community.

“There is an amazing community spirit within the town, and everyone seems to volunteer for something,” says Grant.

There are range of different activities Grant has got involved in, which reflect his varied interests.

“I work with the Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust, we build and maintain walking tracks in and around Mangawhai for the public to use.”

“I am also a volunteer at the Mangawhai Museum, where we are restoring a historic ship which was discovered on Muriwai Beach after being buried for over 150 years.”

Finally, Grant is also a volunteer with the local golf club, where he has had several roles supporting the club on various committees.  Currently he works to assist the greenkeepers, especially if there is a major weather event.

These activities are on top of the family occasions and “school holiday programmes” that Lynne and Grant run for their grandchildren. With 13 grandchildren, mostly at primary school, there are constant visits from family, something that Grant enjoys.

Grant has certainly managed to put the “active” into his retirement, something both his family and the community appreciate. And something that is made possible with NZ Super.

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