4 Jun 2012

VSA to celebrate 50 years in Pacific

5:22 am on 4 June 2012

The organisation that has sent hundreds of New Zealanders on assignments to help groups in the Pacific is about to celebrate 50 years of service.

Volunteer Services Abroad, was founded 50 years ago and to help mark the occasion a photo exhibition will travel around New Zealand from this week, featuring photos taken by volunteers over the past 50 years.

About a year ago VSA shifted its focus back into the Pacific and started offering short-term assignments alongside the standard two-year service.

The organisation's International Programme Manager Peter Swain says it's a change of direction that's working well.

"We've put a lot of effort into having a wide range of assignments that gives a wider range of New Zealanders the opportunity of volunteering. There's plenty of New Zealanders very keen to work in the wider Pacific and make their contribution in their own neighbourhood."

Peter Swain says this year, VSA has about 150 volunteer assignments, 40 of which are short-term.