About SVA


On the 22nd of February 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake devastated Christchurch, New Zealand.

During the following month, 11,000 students volunteered 75,000 hours cleaning up liquefaction silt across the city. They were known as the Student Volunteer Army, and the SVA Foundation is their legacy.

Today, the SVA Foundation, lead by Sam Johnson, administers programmes aimed at developing a volunteering culture in New Zealand’s young people.

Building a Movement for Volunteering

The SVA is a movement committed to advancing volunteering in all the many ways that it happens. We believe in the power of volunteers and created this program as a way to better recognise volunteers in Aotearoa. We are always interested in your feedback. 

We are a New Zealand registered charity and rely on donations and partnerships. Please get in touch with our Executive Director, Sam Johnson, if you would like to learn more about our partnership and gifting programme. 

Student Volunteer Army

SVA Annual Report 2019

SVA Foundation

The Student Volunteer Army and the SVA Foundation are very pleased to present this year's annual report. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who have supported us and continue to support us. If you have been fortunate enough to benefit from our programmes, please consider making a donation so we can keep on delivering our nationwide initiatives.

Mobilising action towards the 17 Global Goals

For the first time in history, there is a globally agreed list of priorities that are called the Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals. Each goal relies on actions of volunteers, and calls for long-term attitude and behaviour changes - for example, in the way we waste food or pollute the ocean with plastic.


Volunteers of every age facilitate changes in mindsets by raising awareness or championing changes and inspiring others.

what schools are saying

This is perfect for our school. We have so many students who act as unpaid caregivers for grandparents and siblings at home. Ironically, this is often a barrier to producing a full CV of service related activities when it comes to completing applications for study or employment. The Service Record component of the Awards means our kids can be recognised for the work they actually do - exciting times

Vicki Cotton, Head of Careers - Sacred Heart Girls' High School

We are currently undergoing an awards review in our school to explore how we can make this more accessible and visible across all year levels so this will be fabulous.

Chris Jordan, Assistant Principal, Greenbay High School

Our Partners & Sponsors

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in
democracy. When you volunteer, you vote
every day about the kind of community
you want to live in”.

Dr Syed Muhammad Zeeshan Hussain Almashhadi