19 June 2023

Volunteers are the bees’ knees!

Locations Auckland Southland Categories Volunteer


Approximately 4,000 people volunteer every week at 1,400 schools across Aotearoa to make KickStart Breakfast happen.

It is a collective effort from whānau, friends, church groups, clubs and societies, local businesses, youth workers and friends of schools.

It is National Volunteer Week here in New Zealand. Founded by Volunteering New Zealand, it's a time dedicated to honouring and celebrating the collective efforts of volunteers across Aotearoa.

We want to take this opportunity to celebrate and showcase some of our wonderful KickStart Breakfast volunteers who generously give their time and energy to serve their community.

Pomaria Road School, Auckland

When Pomaria Road School joined the KickStart Breakfast programme back in 2009, little did they know that nearly 15 years later they would have pretty much the same group of volunteers coming in three times a week to serve breakfast to around 100 students.

Bill Vautier, who was still working back when the programme first started, loved volunteering at Pomaria Road School so much that he decided to rearrange his schedule to be able to come in for the mornings that the breakfast club was on. Bill also ran basketball activities alongside the breakfast club which proved to be a hit with the students, and soon became a place they wanted to be, not just to have breakfast but also to socialise.

When asked why they started volunteering and what they enjoyed most about it, they all said that it gave them a sense of purpose to serve others, and an opportunity to interact with different people on a regular basis.

“The connection with the children and with the other staff members of the school is something we enjoy. There are staff at the school that really look after us while we are here serving breakfast. It is a lovely community relationship,” said Hillary and Bill Vautier.

“I enjoy volunteering, seeing their eyes light up and their lovely smiles when they come into breakfast club in the morning. It helps children that may be shy, to feel connected, to come in and be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome,” said Isaac Lim, a regular volunteer at the school.

Left to right: Steffeny Sound, Isaac Lim, Hillary Vautier, Bill Vautier

Erin Streeter, St Patrick’s School, Invercargill

Meet Erin Streeter, who helps run the KickStart Breakfast programme at St Patrick’s School in Invercargill.

“I became part of KickStart Breakfast three years ago when I was asked by the school. I have a lot of history with them, and it helps that I live just across the road,” said Erin.

“42 years ago, I was asked by St Patrick’s if I would fill in for them as a cleaner over the Christmas holiday period. I agreed, and my ‘fill in’ period lasted for 30 years!”

Now in her mid-70’s, Erin has retired, but is still at the school five mornings a week, for KickStart Breakfast. During her time volunteering at St Patrick’s, Erin has seen the number of children attending Breakfast Club each morning grow, and is very grateful for the ongoing support from KickStart Breakfast.

“Erin really is a treasure. She's like a well-loved nana to all the staff here, as well as the children. We love her to bits” said St Patrick’s School Office Administrator Annette Dunn.

Volunteers truly are our unsung heroes who make a difference every day!

Next time you see your Breakfast Club volunteers, don’t forget to thank them for being the bees knees! Better yet why not consider volunteering as a way to give back to your community!