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Celebrating Student Volunteer week 2021

Student Volunteer Week is a national campaign which celebrates students making a change in their communities and connecting young people with opportunities to get involved in volunteering. We talk to Netball NZ (NNZ) Youth Board member Ciccone Hakaraia-Turner about her experiences with giving back to her community.

Ciccone Hakaraia-Turner almost stumbled into volunteering as a youngster, but the bag full of experiences she has collected while helping others is something she will carry around forever.

At just seven-years-old, the now Year 13 student at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland took her first tentative steps in to volunteering when she became a member of her primary school’s junior student council.

Three years later and she was a driving force behind setting up the school’s Playground Development Committee to research and design a new place to play.

Since then there have been some big projects for Ciccone to sink her teeth into as a Netball volunteer and others outside of Netball which have been just as rewarding.

But her reason for helping others, whether that is individuals or groups, remains simple.

“I volunteer because I love the excitement of realising the potential in the development of the project,” she said.

Ciccone has grown in her roles, the start in primary school leading in to co-ordinating the Te Puni Kōkiri Reo Māori Netball Tournament which featured 550 participants from 60 primary, intermediate and secondary schools throughout Auckland – a personal highlight where she proudly took on the job of Māori language announcer.

Ciccone has also acted as courtside crew for Northern Mystics home games in the ANZ Premiership games and pre-season tournaments, and last month she chaired a meeting for the NNZ Youth Board of which she is a member.

“They have all been great learning experiences.”

Netball has been part of Ciccone’s childhood having grown up across the road from the Te Pai Netball courts. She has played representative netball for Waitākere for a number of years and also gained her Centre Umpire Award. Coaching is her latest venture having gained her Community Coach Award Level 1 from NNZ.

But Netball has not been the only sport she has given her time to, volunteering for local Olympic Weightlifting competitions.

“Working behind the scenes gives me a wider appreciation of the discipline,” she said having taken up the sport herself recently.

Ciccone doesn’t see volunteering as a one-way street of just giving her time – connecting with others has been a fulfilling bonus.

“Being a part of something that improves the individual and group dynamics of organisations to help deliver outcomes is extremely uplifting,” she said.

“Just being able to have the experience and memory is exhilarating.”

Netball New Zealand would like to thank Ciccone and all the Student Volunteers for their time, commitment, and love for the game.

CLICK HERE to find out more about Volunteering