STUDENT VOLUNTEER ARMY SETS SIGHTS ON ANZAC DAY

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY with Sam Johnson outside Parliament from 3.00–3.30PM, Seddon Statue area of Parliament Grounds (Following question time).

  • AllMembers of Parliamenthave been invited to meet Sam there and pledge
  • RNZRSA CEO David Moger will also be there to encourage Members of Parliament

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) will be rallying Members of Parliament in Wellington today to get backing for the SVA’s innovative Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day initiative. 

Serve for New Zealand is about honouring our days of national significance through service.

The concept, where members of the public are encouraged to undertake an act of service or and show neighbourly compassion on a national holiday, will be piloted this Anzac Day. 

That coincides this year with the RNZRSA’s (Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association) centenary.

SVA founder and chair Sam Johnson says Serve for New Zealand is about coming together to do good, not just as a community, but as a nation.

“It’s not just about doing some volunteering on a day, but it is about what is an important day in New Zealand’s history, how can we shine a light on that and bring more meaning to it,” Johnson says.

He has been contacting the Wellington offices of party leaders and the Speaker of the House to get further support for the project and has received widespread support from all sides of the house.

“Last week all parliamentary parties came together in the centenary year of the RSA to support a change in the law around special licences for RNZRSAs.  We’re looking forward to parliamentary parties uniting again outside of parliament in support of Serve For New Zealand,” RNZRSA CEO David Moger said. 

Johnson says the concept is gounded in the lessons learned from the earthquakes where people – older and younger, CEOs and cleaners, from every cultural and religious background came together. “

The Student Army have partnered with the RNZRSA as they see a real importance is learning from veterans.

Johnson says “The student army is about learning from those who are different from us; we want students to know what is outside the University. We want to listen to what’s really going on in New Zealand and in people’s lives.”

The Serve for New Zealand concept had widened in the last couple of months to days of national significance. The project could now probably encompass other days of recognition and an education campaign around Parihaka Day, and especially to highlight the day we commemorate women’s suffrage and Kate Sheppard. 

Background notes

The Serve for New Zealand  national day of service was first launched on the fifth anniversary of Canterbury’s biggest earthquake on 22 February 2016.

The visionis that thousands of New Zealanders will take some time out on Anzac Day – even if it’s just an hour – to do a simple act of service; something simple, but meaningful.

Johnson says a website – www.servefor.nz –  has been set up to for people to pledge their intention to contribute. So far the site has seen pledges from more than 3200 individuals saying they would like to get involved in the lead up to Anzac Day.

The founding partners of Serve for New Zealand, the University of Canterbury, the RNZRSA and the SVA, hope to see the pledge initiative repeated in future years.

To pledge to Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day, register online at www.servefor.nz.

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