Donna Kahaki – Glenfield Rugby Club | Faces of Sport and Recreation Volunteers

Published on Tuesday 22 November, 2022
Steven West (4)

For Donna Kahaki, it’s the looks on the faces of the kids who play for Glenfield Rugby Club that make volunteering all worth it. 

Since signing up as a volunteer 13 years ago after her sons joined Glenfield on Auckland’s North Shore, Donna has become an integral part of club life. And while her own kids’ time at Glenfield has finished, she’s stayed on to help a new generation of players, while wearing a number of different volunteering hats. 

As the club’s current secretary, club manager and functions manager, there’s always plenty to do. But after all these years Donna still gets a kick out of lining up next to other committed volunteers and working as a team to get the job done off the field, just like the club’s teams do on the field. 

How did you start out as a volunteer? 

My children joined Glenfield when they were five years old. I started out managing their team, then got convinced into joining the junior committee, and then the senior committee. I have three roles in the club: the secretary, the club manager and the functions manager. My sons went through the grades, then off to college, and then work - but I’ve stayed! They now come down and help me stock the chiller and sweep out the changing rooms. It’s come full circle. 

What was your motivation to volunteer?  

It was really just to get my kids involved in the sport. When I was younger, I was an avid netball player, and my mum could never come to any of my games. I wanted to be part of my kids' sporting journeys and be there for every game. Shortly after putting my hand up to manage my sons’ team, one of the committee members asked, 'can you join the committee?' And it's grown from there.  

What does each of you three roles involve? 

As the Functions Manager, I promote the club so that we can host functions. Club manager involves keeping things on track – making sure the club is available and everything is working, that you have bar staff, and caterers when the bar is open. Anything to do with rugby comes to me too, I organise the seasonal field bookings. As secretary, I’m the main contact for North Harbour [Rugby Union], so I’m receiving and sending out information. I also take all the minutes for and organise all the committee meetings.  

I've also worked at Vodafone for 24 years. They provide volunteer days which I’ve used for club events. We've got a really good culture here too. I've got all the tools I need to work remotely, so I can go into the club and work there if I've got to open up for someone to repair something. I can do what I need to do. 

What advice would you give to somebody who might be interested in volunteering? 

You don't have to be available 24/7. Just let clubs know what you can do. If someone says, 'Hey, I can help with social media’, or 'hey, I can come and I can help write grants because I'm good at writing business cases', we're like 'come on in!' Different skill sets can help in different ways, and we like to play everybody to their strengths.  

What do you enjoy most about volunteering? 

It's the satisfaction of watching others be happy. Watching little kids’ faces light up with sheer joy at prize givings. I've got lifelong friends through the club - there’s a real sense of whānau here, everybody is really supportive and part of the team. We’ve got kids who’ve grown up at the rugby; they've gone off to different schools, but when they come back to rugby, they're back to being great mates, which is really cool. 

Donna is one of 300,000+ volunteers who are the face of sport in recreation in Auckland. 

If you’re interested in volunteering, have a chat with your local sports club or recreation group – we’re sure your support will be hugely appreciated!