International Year of the Volunteer
2001 was declared the International Year of the Volunteer, sponsored by the United Nations and devoted to recognise volunteers everywhere. The Auckland Fire Police Unit was delighted to get a personal note from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, to be read out at the Unit's Special Honours night when all serving members were presented with the IYV medal by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Honourable George Hawkins.
|Office of the Secretary-General|
Message to the Auckland Volunteer Fire Police, Auckland, New Zealand, 8 September 2001.
I send my greetings to the Auckland Volunteer Fire Police, the largest and busiest volunteer fire brigade in New Zealand, as it receives this much-deserved recognition.
Many people say that volunteering occurs only among the better-off members of society. I say that volunteering is a basic human impulse, found in almost every country.
Another myth about volunteering is that it is altruism or charity. Today we know that everyone gains, perhaps the givers most of all.
Volunteering is also seen at times as an admirable pursuit, but one with little economic consequence. In fact, the countries where these contributions are measured, they are believed to account for between 8 and 14 per cent of gross domestic product.
Throughout the world, volunteers are working in all walks of life to make the world a better and safer place. I am grateful for your commitment to the ideals of the United Nations and glad that you are marking the International Year of Volunteers. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a memorable ceremony.
Kofi A. Annan