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Live, laugh, share – celebrating Waikato DHB’s volunteers

Live, laugh, share is the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week and it’s exactly how Waikato DHB celebrated with over 70 of its very special and valued volunteers over lunch.

Volunteers are an essential part of the patient experience says Waikato DHB’s director of business and support services Melinda Ch’ng, who stepped into the volunteer’s shoes to help out on Wednesday 20 June.

“I haven’t physically worked that hard in a while” says Melinda.

L-R Waikato DHB’s: Volunteer coordinator Chris Atkinson, director of business and support services Melinda Ch’ng, facilities and business manager Donna Craig-Brown

“I helped a lot of people who were lost with some needing help to find the shuttle and others needing taxis. This was all in a short while so I can’t imagine where patients and visitors would be without the help of our volunteers.

“Our volunteers provide a vital part of the healthcare team. For example the Emergency Department relies on the support of the FEDs (Friends of Emergency service), they are core to their care team.

“Volunteers working in patient enquiries and as hospital hosts help alleviate some of the stress and fear people often feel when coming to hospital because they helped them get to where they need to be with a comforting smile.”

There are volunteers working in 32 different roles in Waikato, Thames and Tokoroa Hospitals and ongoing new roles are developed in conjunction with clinical services.

In a recent survey it identified on average volunteers’ gifted 4.85 hours per person a week to the DHB and there are more than 220 volunteers. This equates to about 26 full time equivalent staff.

Rewarding and fulfilling were by far the two most used words to describe their volunteering experience at Waikato DHB, and the majority of respondents that continued to volunteer was because of their role enjoyment and the feeling of making a positive difference.

Val Gallagher, Merle Shaw, Daphne Caddie and Natalie Thompson

L-R Val Gallagher, Merle Shaw, Daphne Caddie and Natalie Thompson

With more than 40 years of volunteer service between them, these like-minded ladies just love to help people. Val, Merle, Daphne and Nathalie say that no two days are the same helping the diverse number of people at Waikato Hospital. Whether it’s patient or a family visiting from Gisborne or Australia, these ladies kindly gift us their time to ensure people have the support they need at Waikato Hospital.

Maureen Clark , John Ireland, Tania Lattaney, Joy Houghton

L-R Maureen Clark , John Ireland, Tania, Joy Houghton

Maureen’s worked at Waikato Hospital for 52 years, 41 was spent in office roles.

Since moving to Hamilton from Christchurch, John has volunteered at Waikato Hospital and says he goes home every night feeling blessed and good inside knowing he’s helped those around the hospital who really need it.

For the past two years’ Tania’s volunteered her time at MCC’s enquiries desk, in the 70s she was also an ED nurse.

Joy was also a nurse who’s worked in post-natal care and the new born unit. She also worked as a missionary in Zambia in the 60s with her husband, and her genuine care for helping people has brought her back to volunteering at Waikato Hospital.

Kayla Prince



Kayla (19) recently started volunteering at Waikids. Her role is to provide various forms of play activity to some of the sick children who come into hospital. From reading books to playing board games with the kids, Kayla provides a supportive role to ensure the kids are safe and comforted. She also lends a hand in role playing medical procedures to act out things like inserting an IV line or simply just having a casual chat about anything.

David Whitehead, Omobola Akinsete , Kayla Prince

L-R: David Whitehead, Omobola Akinsete , Kayla Prince

David is one part of the volunteers who sing to stroke patients to help with their rehabilitation.

Omobola helps out our emergency services staff and patients. She moved from Nigeria two years ago and was inspired to help out in healthcare because of the crew at St Johns. She says helping people is a part of her; whatever she can do to make life easier for staff, patients and their relatives in the ED – she’ll do it!

Visit Volunteering at Waikato DHB for more information on volunteering.



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