Guest blogger: Marie Holder, NZCT Chamber Music Contest Volunteer


In occasion of Volunteer Week 2017, we want to take the time and thank you all our amazing volunteers nationwide. One of our Contest volunteer superstars wrote a blog, to explain why she started volunteering and how did that turn out for her.

My name is Marie Holden. This my first year volunteering for the Chamber Music Contest in Auckland.

I am a Sworn Police Constable with the New Zealand Police, and I have been serving for 9 years, as a Sergeant.

Police work can often be a high pressure and stressful environment. It can be very hard to maintain a work life balance because you’re never not going to be a Police Officer, even when you’re off duty. Over the years I have had ups and downs and have been wondering on whether I truly am good at this role both physically and mentally. The negative sides of my work can be truly draining – I work in the community but this is not always received positively and that can be frustrating.

This year I wanted to come up with ways to positively use my spare time and to cultivate interests outside policing and general life. I needed a positive environment with positive people: it was then that I decided to become a volunteer. I wanted to volunteer for organizations that I’m passionate about and genuinely interested in. I started to research volunteer opportunities in the Arts, including music and theatre. At school I studied Cello and Piano, I also sat my grades (I currently still play piano for leisure). I was also previously involved in back stage theatre. So I decided to use these interests as the starting point to look for volunteer opportunities.


I, like many others, have a busy life outside my work, but I can manage to find time to make volunteering work for me. Events like the Chamber Music Contest only run once a year; I pre-planned and moved around other stuff, so I can find time to volunteer and attend this event. The reward outweighs the effort it takes to manage time to volunteer.

This year I was lucky to also be involved in a community theatre company. I have done three shows as stage hand, props designer and front of house support. I was also a part of the Auckland Arts Festival White Night.

Volunteering puts me among passionate and positive people who accept me for who I am and not for what I do. I find it inspirational and motivating to be a part of an event that might not otherwise be able to continue if it weren’t for more people like myself. Volunteer work is fun – I’ve met so many wonderful people and it’s excellent for social interaction with others outside of your normal life and work.

I volunteer because I want to give back to the community in a positive way, by committing just a couple of hours of my time that otherwise would probably be spent in front of a television or at a shopping mall. This way your time is likely to be received with enthusiasm by the organizations who rely on volunteers for support.

I would be disappointed if events like the Chamber Music Contest couldn’t continue because of lack of support. After volunteering last week, I saw that the contest was important to the students who clearly put so much time and effort into making their performance exceptional. The talent these students have and the exposure to others in the industry are crucial if they are to go on to have excellent musical careers. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

– Marie Holden


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