SummerReplay

This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on January 4, 2019

Sure, it's a sporting event, but Brian Johnson will tell you the Downer New Zealand Masters Games is "really all about the volunteers".

And for more than a decade the Whanganui man has put his hand up when the city hosts the games every two years.

"I tell you, the games wouldn't exist without volunteers and the volunteers of all the sports organisations," he said.

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"There's a multitude of people involved."

Johnson initially took part in the games as a competitor through the 1990s.

"And then I got more into volunteering and in later times I've been part of the build crew for probably the last three games," he said.

The crew of about six will spend several days later this month constructing the games village at the War Memorial Centre.

"It was a massive, massive undertaking and it would never happen without volunteers and the help of other people," Johnson said.

Brian Johnson (left) works on the build of the games village ahead of the 2015 event.
Brian Johnson (left) works on the build of the games village ahead of the 2015 event.

But that is just one of many types of volunteers needed for the games which also relies on hosts to meet and greet and direct visitors around Whanganui while they're here.

"There's always people out there who want to put there hand up and say 'I'm prepared to help'."

Some even come from out of Whanganui.

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"Some people take holidays just to be able to participate in the games and assist in the games, and Whanganui is particularly good at volunteering."

What kept them coming back and giving up their time was the camaraderie.

"We enjoy each other's company and also we want to make the games a success for Whanganui," Johnson said.

"I went to the volunteer function at Christmas and you look around and generally it's always the same ones that keep coming back year in year out.

"So, we'll welcome with open arms new ones coming forward, especially younger ones because that's the future."

• For more information on volunteering at the games visit https://www.nzmg.com/hosts-2019/

Whanganui hosts the 30th anniversary of the games this year.
Whanganui hosts the 30th anniversary of the games this year.