FAQs Returned Volunteers


About VSA

Who we are

  • VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development. We bring together New Zealanders and our Asia-Pacific neighbours to share their skills and experience, working to transform lives and create a fair future for all.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, VSA’s founding President, believed passionately that if people work together in equal partnership they can achieve great things. Today VSA knows that we make the most difference through people, partnerships and the lasting relationships these create.
  • Between July 2013 and June 2014 VSA volunteers undertook 191 assignments across the Asia-Pacific. Over the past 50 years we have recruited more than 3000 New Zealanders.
  • Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, from business mentors and lawyers to doctors and eco-tourism operators.
  • VSA believes all people and communities deserve to be treated equally with respect and dignity.

How we work

  • We work with our in-country partners overseas to make sure that all our assignments are locally identified, locally relevant, and locally delivered.
  • Our goal is to transfer skills and knowledge so that the changes achieved during an assignment remain sustainable after a volunteer returns to New Zealand.
  • VSA offers New Zealanders the opportunity to expand their horizons through volunteering – living and working with partners in the Asia-Pacific for the experience of a lifetime – transforming their lives as well as those they work with.
  • VSA enriches New Zealand society through the cross-cultural exchanges it creates and the new knowledge that return with its volunteers.
  • We offer both long (12 months and over) and short-term assignments and currently work in Melanesia, Polynesia and Timor-Leste.
  • We also work with New Zealand and regional partners to provide innovative volunteering opportunities, making it possible for more New Zealanders to volunteer and contribute to lasting change.
  • VSA is a registered charity and is non-religious, non-political and non-governmental.
  • VSA needs ongoing financial support to continue to send Kiwi volunteers to share their skills with communities in the  Asia-Pacific.
  • VSA is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme, together with private and corporate donations.

All our volunteers work with partner organisations in our six key priority areas:

  • Building local business
  • Supporting strong communities
  • Safeguarding the environment
  • Fostering good governance
  • Education
  • Health

We believe we can make a positive difference in the world when volunteers, partner organisations and communities work together, sharing skills and knowledge. This approach, based on appropriate sustainable development, leads to improved quality of life, and helps build self-determining communities and stable nations.

We are currently working in Papua New Guinea (including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville), the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in Melanesia; in Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga in Polynesia; and in Timor-Leste .


Special thanks to our partner the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who provides significant support through the New Zealand Aid Programme for VSA volunteers working in development capacity roles overseas.




Become a member

Contact us to become a VSA member or renew your membership. As a member you can have a say in the direction of VSA by attending our annual congress, standing for election on our Council, or voting for Council members. Sign up

Download VSA Review - Autonomous Region of Bougainville

A Review of VSA’s Programme in Bougainville 2013-2016