WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Caritas and Mahitahi merge

4 February 2013

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference have decided to bring its overseas volunteer organisation into Caritas to improve and strengthen both organisations.

Mahitahi, formerly Catholic Overseas Volunteer Services, will retain its own identity, profile and strategic direction within the Caritas structure and administration.

For the last two years, Mahitahi has been governed by a separately constituted board made up of members of the Caritas Board.

However, the Caritas Board and the bishops believe it is in the best interests of both organisations to bring Mahitahi directly under the governance of the Caritas Board, and for the Mahitahi director to be responsible to the Caritas director for administrative and management.

The integration will provide Mahitahi with extra support and oversight. Mahitahi and its predecessor have sent volunteers to its partner agencies overseas for the past 50 years. Its present focus is on the Pacific.

Caritas has been the Bishops’ Justice Peace and Development Agency since 1968 and its new strategic plan has a stronger emphasis on the Pacific, including Aotearoa.

‘The Caritas mandate has been enlarged to embrace Mahitahi in its role of providing skilled volunteers to meet partner requests in the Pacific,’ says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

‘It will add another dimension to our work providing a human face to development, greater person-to-person contact, and enhancing our ability as a Pacific nation to be “the hands, ears, eyes and mouth of Christ” in this part of the world.’

‘Mahitahi’s model of providing short-term volunteers in the context of a long-term partnership has proven effective and has taken off in 2012,’ says Mahitahi director Christina Reymer.

‘This integration will give an opportunity to boost its capacity within the wider structures of Caritas.’

Visit www.caritas.org.nz or www.mahitahi.org for more information on the work undertaken by these two organisations.