Leaping into action – volunteers are the heart of Mercy Ships

Since the first Mercy Ship sailed in 1978, more than 850 Kiwis have volunteered to work on board, many for years at a time. Those volunteers come from every walk of life because, as with any hospital, doctors and nurses must have the support of many other people with many other skills if there's to be relatively smooth sailing.

Photo Credit Justine Forrest

Think of a job and it will be there on board - from medical to engineering, teaching to social work, cooking, cleaning and administration. The big difference with these jobs is that you pay to be there! All our volunteers pay their own way, raising money for their stay, either themselves or with the help and support of a church or community group - and, captain to crew member, surgeon to schoolteacher, everyone makes the same commitment.

Without our volunteers there would be no Mercy Ships and, every year, Mercy Ships NZ is responsible for finding another willing Kiwi contingent ready and willing to serve. 

It takes all kinds with all skills to operate the hospital ship, Africa Mercy. Connect with crew members like these in myMercy!

And our volunteers don't just serve on the Africa Mercy. We are blessed to have volunteer speakers, writers, advocates and ambassadors who tirelessly give their time to help people at home understand the work of Mercy Ships and the desperate needs this work meets.

We have volunteers who help with fundraising, events, as part of a church group or a corporate supporter. Mercy Ships must raise $2m each year and encourage around 1000 people per year to volunteer for a period on board ship, so whether they are on land or at sea our volunteers are Mercy Ships.



On board Africa Mercy – 60 Minutes Documentary

This 60 Minutes episode goes onboard Africa Mercy, talking to volunteers from New Zealand and across the world, who help bring hope and healing to others.

Nurses on Board

Wherever you go in the world, nurses are in demand - and Africa Mercy is no different. We need nurses now and in the future - with the planned launch of the new Atlantic Mercy in 2018, we will need to double the number of volunteer staff on the hospital ships.

Every year around 600 nurses from all over the world are making a life-transforming difference by volunteering with Mercy Ships in both short and long term roles*. If you have two years working experience after registration and have a heart to serve the poor, then volunteering on board the world largest civilian hospital ship may be the next fabulous career move you make.

The hospital ship’s five operating theatres and five wards are state-of-the-art, and the equipment and medications are familiar for those working in a New Zealand or OECD health care context.

But don’t take our word for it; listen to the stories of nursing on board in the short video below.

Giving and receiving – the Nurses’ Story

Nursing specialities include

• Adult medical-surgical
• Operating Theatre
• Paediatric medical-surgical
• PACU/Recovery Room
• Admissions and eye clinic

If you would like to find out more about volunteering, then head to our 'how to volunteer' page or straight to My Mercy, Mercy Ships' dedicated volunteer site.