01.04.2020 - Kia ora, I hope that you and your whānau are safe and well during this time. This is certainly a difficult and unsettling time for everyone. VSA’s focus over the last month has been on the safety and well-being of our volunteers, our staff and the communities where we work.

For the first time in our history, we have returned volunteers to New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented situation which has meant we have had to make some difficult decisions, but in the end, I am pleased to say that these decisions proved to be the correct ones.

I would like to thank all our volunteers and partner organisations for your amazing understanding and co-operation over the last few weeks. We know it has not been easy for you.

I would also like to thank you to all the VSA staff who have worked so hard to get everyone back to New Zealand safely.

Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get everyone home, but we have ensured the safety of the small number of people remaining in Vanuatu.

All our Wellington based staff are working from home and will continue to keep VSA running. We will be using this time to focus on the future and to determine the priorities for our organisation and our communities.

We have had to postpone our scheduled March selection and briefing for new volunteers, but I can assure you that we are still continuing with volunteer recruitment. We are ensuring that once this situation improves, we will continue with our work.

To all our supporters, I would like to sincerely thank you for all the aroha you have always shown us.

We will continue to need and value your support during this difficult time and into the future. This is a challenging time, but we are not going away. After almost 60 years, VSA remains committed to our mission, values, our volunteers and the communities in which we operate.

We are here for the long haul. We remain completely committed to our work across the wider Pacific and we will be returning to our partner communities and organisations when we can.

Stay safe, be kind and kia kaha.