New Zealand Red Cross

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The organization is the largest of its kind in the world and the New Zealand Red Cross is just one of the 186 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide that make up the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The movement comprises over 97 million volunteers worldwide and prides itself on being free of government influence and without political, religious or cultural bias.[1]

In 1931, the New Zealand Red Cross Society was formed by Nurse Beth Charpentier in the wake of the Napier earthquake and was officially recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Even before 1931, Red Cross had a presence in New Zealand, as a branch of the British Red Cross Society.

The New Zealand Red Cross supports and runs many different and important projects whilst raising awareness to the New Zealand public about the current issues or problems which may affect them. Some of the projects which are either run by or assisted by the New Zealand Red Cross are Blood Services, First Aid projects, Disaster and Emergency Services, Youth and Education.

New Zealand Red Cross has been part of the fabric of New Zealand for over 80 years.

Whether delivering meals on wheels, providing assistance in the aftermath of natural disasters at home and overseas, or training kiwis in first aid skills, New Zealand Red Cross works to assist communities in need.

Community groups raised money and sewing circles were formed to provide warm clothes and bandages for New Zealand and allied servicemen during the First World War. These early groups unified in 1914 to form the New Zealand Branch of the British Red Cross and Order of St John. These New Zealand Red Cross volunteers provided significant support and relief during the First World War, the 1918 influenza pandemic, the Napier earthquake, the Second World War and the Tangiwai disaster.

Since the first introduction of Red Cross to New Zealand the work of the organisation has come a long way and played an integral part in the history of our country.

After 80 years New Zealand Red Cross continues to help out around the world and across the street.


These are just some of the places where the 'New Zealand Red Cross have sent volunteers and supplies for various disasters and conflicts. The traditional areas of activity by the New Zealand Red Cross are Asia and Africa although new regions require the Red Cross' assistance, particularly since 1990 include Europe (e.g. former Yugoslavia), Central Asia (e.g. Tadjikistan) and the Caucasus (e.g. Chechnya). In many of these countries ethnic conflict and societal collapse have resulted in millions requiring external assistance (i.e. Red Cross assistance from not only New Zealand but organizations from all over the globe.)

Here are a few of the countries the New Zealand Red Cross have contributed aid and civil assistance to since its formation:

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