Prince Harry backs NZ student volunteer campaign, praises Anzac spirit

Lucy McLeod, former SVA president, with Prince Harry, Sam Johnson, and Alex Cheesebrough.
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Lucy McLeod, former SVA president, with Prince Harry, Sam Johnson, and Alex Cheesebrough.

Prince Harry is backing a Kiwi volunteer campaign and praised New Zealanders' Anzac spirit of "generosity and sacrifice".

Nearly 4000 people have registered for the Student Volunteer Army's (SVA) Serve for New Zealand initiative, which asks the public to pledge their time helping out within their communities. 

The campaign's aim is to build the connection between the Anzacs and present-day New Zealanders.

The prince, who met with the SVA during his visit to Christchurch last year, gave the campaign the royal thumbs up. 

Harry said he was struck by the similarities between the SVA and veterans he met in Whanganui. 

"I was particularly struck by that fact that, although very different in some respects, both groups shared a tremendous spirit of service and connection with their communities.

"This initiative is a way for Kiwis to remember the service of others in the past, and to continue that tradition of generosity and sacrifice in a practical way.

"I would like to congratulate those who have already pledged their time, and encourage others to do the same."

The SVA became well-known after their volunteering efforts during the Canterbury earthquakes, the event that prompted the group's founding.

Sam Johnson, chair of the Volunteer Army Foundation and founder of the SVA, said the new initiative was grounded in the same spirit the group employed during the earthquakes.

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"It is about coming together to do good, not just as a community but as a nation," he said.

"We are striving to help younger and older people work together, and for the SVA and other such groups around the world, to learn leadership skills from those with real life experiences."

Serve for New Zealand may return on other day's of national significance, such as Women's Suffrage day and Parihaka day.

You can sign up for the project here.

Anzac Day is on Monday.

 - Stuff

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