When disasters such as earthquakes, bush fires or flooding strike, we are reassured by specially trained and qualified responders such as members of the defence force or emergency services to provide relief and support.

Given the extensive training required and provided by these organisations, members that have retired or moved on to other things can mean a real loss of skills and manpower that is so valuable in a crisis.

Many of these talented and capable people still have a willingness to provide support in such situations, so to retain the service of NZs valuable experts and motivated responders, Taskforce Kiwi began its mission in 2022.

Modelled on similar organisations around the world, Taskforce Kiwi is a veteran-led, charitable organisation created to coordinate its team of volunteers to provide disaster relief and recovery wherever required in NZ and overseas. Led by National Director Richard Adams, the organisation’s membership has risen to almost 600 people in less than two years, with around 80% of them having links to the defence force or emergency services.








There when you need us

“We recognised that when people remove a uniform, they don’t remove their willingness to serve or their capability to make a positive difference. Now with our numbers we have a highly skilled collection of people who are able to answer the call when they can,” says Adams.

Recruiting started in July 2022, and Taskforce Kiwi’s numbers have continued to grow. Its volunteers have lent their hard-earned, broad spectrum of skills in relief efforts around the country and overseas.

“We had people on the ground throughout Auckland after the 2023 flooding, Hawkes Bay in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and in North Canterbury and the Port Hills following the bushfires that affected 700 hectares earlier this year.

“We aim for a minimum of 5% member availability at any given time so right now that’s around 50 skilled people ready to deploy following major events, wherever they are needed” he says.

Overseas, Taskforce Kiwi has also deployed its relief volunteers in Australia to carry out flood relief in New South Wales and to support the Queensland storm response, Vanuatu to provide tropical cyclone relief, Canada to carry out bushfire recovery and Morocco to offer support after the September 2023 earthquake.

Adams says that partnering with similar organisations around the world has opened up opportunities for kiwis to provide skilful support where it’s needed most.

“Our partnerships with similar organisation from around the world has really increased the scope of the help we’re able to provide and opportunities to learn from one another. We’ve established partnerships with Red Lighting from the United States, Disaster Relief Australia, RE:ACT from the UK, Team Rubicon Canada and PDRF (Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation) to name a few.”

Of Taskforce Kiwi’s 579 volunteers, over 300 have represented Taskforce Kiwi on 11 operational deployments in five countries, completing over 11,000 hours of skilled volunteer labour over the past 15 months.

Each member undertakes an orientation process and completes all of the relevant security and travel checks and then with each deployment they earn a custom patch that recognises their contribution. These are also awarded to the 72 members of partner organisations who have travelled to New Zealand from Australia, Canada, the US and UK to lend a hand.


Continual development

Taskforce Kiwi’s deployment-based operations makes it rare for its team of volunteers to all be together at the same time. One method of increasing chances to get together is through volunteer training initiatives.

The membership includes specialists in impact and damage assessment, emergency construction & repair, logistics support first aid & medical support, evacuee & refugee coordination and debris clearance & disposal to name a few.

Adams says that offering opportunities for members to add to their skill sets through training results in a great team mentality and multi-skilled responders on deployment.

“One of the most frequent ways for us to make an immediate impact on the ground is debris clearance and disposal. This type of work needs as many capable hands as possible so we established a chainsaw operation course to increase the number of trained people we can provide. Its these types of initiatives where the support of other community organisations is so important to our ability to make a positive difference,” says Adams.

As a charitable organisation, Taskforce Kiwi can be more effective with the support of the NZ community and UPS Power Solutions was thrilled to be able to lend a Helping Hand.

We couldn’t be prouder about having one of our own involved with such an important organisation and when our Operations Manager, Sam Rasmussen brought the opportunity to provide Taskforce Kiwi with a new chainsaw along with accessories and PPE gear through our Helping Hands Initiative, it got two very-enthusiastic thumbs up.

Rasmussen deployed to North Canterbury along with other volunteers to provide vital support after the bushfires that impacted the community of Loburn.

“As a charitable organisation, Taskforce Kiwi relies on the support of the NZ community and this is exactly why the Helping Hands Initiative exists,” he says.













Everyone deserves assurance

Taskforce Kiwi also runs disaster first aid, impact assessment and aerial mapping training and has plans to add more ways for volunteers to broaden their skills as numbers continue to grow.

Richard Adams says that in two short years the organisation has gone from strength to strength and so much of this progress can be attributed to the support of its volunteers, its partners and kiwis that believe in its mission.

“We operate in accordance with a collection of humanitarian principles and the generous encouragement and donations from the community is vital to our ability to help when we’re needed. It’s been a hugely gratifying journey so far and we are extremely excited about the support we’ll be able to provide impacted communities in the future. We encourage anyone interested to visit our website and learn more about the work we do. Any and all help is encouraged so that we can keep the people of the world safer and assured that help will always be provided when its needed.”


Learn more about Taskforce Kiwi: Website

Donate to Taskforce Kiwi: Donate