It takes a village

Mercy Ships is a community of volunteers with all kinds of skills and talents, helping to provide essential surgery for families in Africa who can’t otherwise access the medical care they desperately need.

maritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships

Receptionist Simon Schwarzl at work

It takes a big whānau to operate our hospital ships, and every volunteer role onboard the Africa Mercy and Global Mercy is vital for delivering safe surgical care and medical training to the people we aim to serve. Many people are surprised how their skills can be a part of something so meaningful.

Visit the Mercy Ships opportunities page to see our wide range of volunteer positions; maritime, technical, medical and general roles. There are places for people who just want to help out any way they can – because everyone is a crucial member of the crew. Mercy Ships is a welcoming and loving place that’ll change your life, and you’ll help change other’s lives too!

‘Mercy Ships is unique,’ explains Aisha from Wellington. ‘You live on a ship with 400+ other people, you share rooms with them, you eat meals with them; they become your family. Friendships are accelerated rapidly, and somebody you didn’t know 3 weeks ago is now your best friend – and you can’t imagine your life without them.


Manda volunteers as the transport and maintenance manager.  He says, ‘Many people see Mercy Ships and think that only people in healthcare are able to help. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have crew serve in a myriad of different ways and they are all equally as important. I think of Romans 12, where it talks about the parts of the body and how they’re all essential for the common good. The same is true here. We all work in common, bringing help and healing to the world’s poor.’

‘Some examples of non-medical volunteer roles onboard include receptionists, information technology specialists, housekeepers, vehicle mechanics, electricians, engineering and deck officers, dining room and galley crew;  the list goes on and on. I truly believe that there is a role for just about anyone out there that has a desire to serve with Mercy Ships.’

Find out more about how your specific skills and experience are needed onboard Mercy Ships to help provide essential surgery for Africa’s underserved poor.


To help people serve in many vital roles, a special assistance fund is in place until June 2022 to help volunteers get to our vessels and to cover NZ quarantine costs.