Volunteers are the oil that keep Whanganui's not-for-profit organisations running and people keep putting their hands up to help.

In 2013 Volunteer Whanganui had 180 registered volunteers; this week it signed up its 1000th.

Number 1000 is Christine Faulls who moved to Whanganui five months ago and spent time renovating her house before registering with Volunteer Whanganui.

"I decided it was time to get some Whanganui dirt under my fingernails," Faulls said.


"I came in to see what there was in the conservation line."

Faulls, who is from Marlborough and has lived in Auckland, is a passionate birder and has been heavily involved in conservation projects in both areas, including Tiritiri Matangi Island wildlife sanctuary.

"I love wetlands, birdlife and the bush," Faulls said.

She hopes that by doing conservation work during her lifetime, there will be native birds and natural areas for future generations to enjoy.

Faulls has several volunteer roles to follow up with local conservation groups and hopes it doesn't take another six years for Volunteer Whanganui to sign up 1000 more volunteers.

"It doesn't matter if you volunteer for an hour a week or a month or whatever," she said.

Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey said Whanganui has the highest number of registered volunteers per capita in New Zealand.

"When I started in 2013, we had 180 on the books," Rickey said.


As well as people who register of their own initiative, agencies such as Work and Income, Workbridge, ACC, Pathways and Land Based Training refer clients to Volunteer Whanganui to gain work experience.

The organisation has been in existence for 18 years.

After some background work driven by the Whanganui Community Foundation, the Volunteer Centre opened in September 2001 and then-Prime Minister Helen Clark attended its official launch two months later.

Now Volunteer Whanganui supports 109 not-for-profit organisations by helping find volunteers for them. The organisation's website www.volunteerwhanganui.org.nz lists a wide range of voluntary roles.

Volunteer Whanganui is based in Community House, 60 Ridgway St. People who want to volunteer for any of the advertised roles need to visit the office in person to register.