In these difficult times, it's good to know the heart of New Zealand continues to beat strong.
This week, the Council for International Development (CID) released its annual survey of the aid sector. It reported Kiwi contributions to aid charities was $196 million in 2020-2021. While this is a decrease from a high of $215 million in 2016-2017, it is similar to the amount in the year before Covid.
Other findings in the CID report were that the number of volunteers in the aid sector has increased by 10 per cent this year, and now outnumber paid staff.
No doubt moved by reports of worse off people overseas, the top 10 countries we chose to assist were Uganda at the top, followed by Papua New Guinea and Fiji in the Pacific, and Afghanistan and Myanmar.
For the first time, India, Lebanon and Ethiopia are also in the top 10 - after New Zealanders donated in response to Delta outbreaks in India, the bomb blast in Lebanon, and increasing famines in Ethiopia.
Perhaps reflecting the uncertain times for businesses unable to trade through some of the restrictions, partnerships between aid charities and the private sector dropped for the first time in years - from 66 per cent the year before to 46 per cent this year. Yet, individuals rose to the challenges.
This week, Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood revealed the annual Daffodil Day street appeal had to be abandoned because of Covid but three entrepreneurs, who asked to remain anonymous, joined with ANZ to match the usual funds raised.
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There are more than 28,000 charities registered in New Zealand, twice the number of Australia per capita. More than 200,000 New Zealanders volunteer their time to support registered charities every week, and their mahi adds up to more than 1.5 million hours worked on average every week.
That we can still dig so deep into our pockets during a pandemic is a testament to the true character of New Zealanders. That is also reflected in the steadily rising numbers of people taking the offer of a vaccine shot each day. We are all well aware that linking arms is our best approach to finding our way back to "normality".
This is who we can be.