It takes a whānau

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.

It takes a big whānau to operate our hospital ships, and every volunteer role on board is vital for delivering safe surgical care and medical training to the people we aim to serve. People are surprised how their skills can be a part of something so meaningful; cooks, techs, receptionists, cleaners and many others do their bit in general roles, as well as maritime and medical roles.

As the Africa Mercy and Global Mercy serve in Senegal, West Africa in 2022, we need twice as many huge-hearted volunteers to help make mercy happen. There’s a place for you onboard!

‘Mercy Ships is unique in its community and care,’ 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 because of this, and somebody you didn’t know 3 weeks ago is now your best friend – and you can’t imagine your life without them. Medics and mariners, cooks and techies, tradies and cleaners; everyone is a crucial member of the team. I recommend coming to Mercy Ships, it is a welcoming and loving place that’ll change your life, and you’ll help change others’ lives too!’

Michelle Stewart (right) with her friend Amy, and some of their patients.

Find out more here about where your skills and experience could fit onboard.

Michelle says, ‘It has been great just loving on the patients; spending quality time and improving their quality of life, giving them some time to run around and get fresh air on the deck, or singing and dancing in the ward! There is time to interact and play with the children – not just do tasks all shift. I have enjoyed the ‘art of nursing’ which is more about the caring side.

‘It has really made me realise how lucky and blessed I am to be born into a country like New Zealand with healthcare available so freely. It has changed me and humbled me, but I know there is so much more to come. I think this experience has taught me a lot about myself –  that I am strong enough to fly alone to the other side of the world and serve the poor.’



maritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships