As International Volunteer Day is recognised on 5 December, MotorSport New Zealand is working to develop a set of volunteer welfare guidelines for motorsport event organisers.
Every weekend in New Zealand, hundreds of motorsport volunteers head to race circuits and closed road events such as rallies and hill climbs to ensure that competitors can safely participate in their chosen form of motorsport. The volunteers fulfil vital roles such as flag marshals or grid personnel, timing or fire and rescue crews, scrutineers or technical officials, competitor relations officers, or event management personnel such as clerks of the course and stewards.
“Without our volunteers, motorsport in New Zealand simply would not happen,” says MotorSport New Zealand President, Wayne Christie.
One of the issues around volunteer welfare being considered by MotorSport New Zealand and one of its advisory commissions, the Volunteers Commission – whose members are also volunteers – is the amount of time that volunteers donate annually to the operations, management and safety of motorsport in New Zealand.
“MotorSport New Zealand has a responsibility to look after the welfare of its volunteers,” says Christie. “Volunteers contribute significant amounts of their time outside their jobs and other life responsibilities, to ensure that motorsport thrives and flourishes. Our volunteers often work very long days at events and several weekends in a row for the benefit of motorsport. That contribution is huge and, at times, not fully recognised and acknowledged. We accept that they are a vital ingredient in the running of our events, and even though volunteering is their chosen sport, the contribution made by our volunteers needs to be acknowledged more than we currently do.
“We are working with our Volunteer Commission to consider what may need to change in order to better look after our volunteers. From these discussions, a guiding document will be formulated for the MotorSport New Zealand board to consider and implement across the sport.”
The International Volunteer Day is a United Nations-led initiative and takes place each year on 5 December. The aim in 2017 is to use the day to celebrate and recognise New Zealand’s volunteers for the invaluable work they do in our communities, locally and globally.
More information about how to become a motorsport volunteer can be found on the MotorSport New Zealand website http://www.motorsport.org.nz/resources/getstarted/volunteers.