RSA 2018 Poppy Appeal Changing Lives
$1.7 million donated
Poppy funds provide vital help to veterans and their families
Focus on mental health creates a strong connection and conversation
New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association (RSA) have paid tribute to New Zealanders for their generosity and empathy for current and former service personnel through the 2018 Poppy Appeal. The Appeal raised $1.7 million in donations across New Zealand.
The theme of the 2018 Poppy Appeal – not all wounds bleed – generated significant discussion and focus around the mental health challenges faced by current and former service men and women as well as their families.
RSA National President BJ Clark said the RSA’s ability to support those impacted by service relied on public donations. “Poppy Appeal funds are used to provide essential services for the health and resilience of New Zealand’s current and former service personnel, and their families”.
“We are grateful for the fantastic public support through donating on and around Poppy Day; for all our volunteers who contribute their time and effort; and for our corporate partners who contribute so generously to the Poppy Appeal. That support enables us to care for those who have served our country at home and overseas,” he says.
The funds raised through the Poppy Appeal will assist in many ways, including recovery from psychological trauma and helping the families of current and former military personnel deal with health or hardship issues. In 2017, there were 19,992 welfare interactions completed by over 150 volunteer RSA support advisors. Many of these were face to face interactions with Veterans in need of help.
Clark says it is critical New Zealanders understand that younger servicemen and women have been impacted by their time in uniform as much as their older predecessors were.
“Many of those who serve – whether deployed in recent conflicts, or in routine service – face major challenges as a result of the actions and circumstances they witness and participate in.”
Highlights of the 2018 Poppy Appeal
Some highlights of the 2018 Poppy Appeal included:
- The RSA Poppy Appeal was supported by a team of Poppy Appeal Ambassadors, including former New Zealand SAS soldier Willie Apiata VC; soldier Lt-Col Melanie Childs; former soldier and widow Tina Grant; All Blacks coach Steven Hansen; film-maker Sir Peter Jackson; mental health advocate and comedian Mike King; and Naval reservist and recording artist Rebecca Nelson.
- RSA members, including veterans and returned and servicemen and women, were out in force on Poppy Day and were joined in the street appeal by members of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), RSA members, volunteer collectors and other supporters including members of the US armed forces stationed at the US Embassy in Wellington.
- The 2018 Poppy Appeal was backed by a team of corporate partners including NZME, Phantom Billstickers, ANZ, SKYCITY, Countdown, Z Energy, Sky Television, Paper Plus Group, Bunnings and New Zealand Rugby.
About New Zealand’s service personnel
- New Zealand currently has about 41,000 veterans of overseas military deployment: 11,000 from the period from WWII to Vietnam, with another 30,000 who served in in New Zealand’s 42 overseas deployments since 1974.
- Tens of thousands more New Zealanders have served without a recognised operational deployment – though may have undertaken disaster relief, counter-narcotics operations, fisheries protection and search and rescue, or other challenging work.
- NZDF currently employs about 14,532 people: 11,667 service personnel, and 2,865 civilian staff.
About the RSA
- The RSA is a nationwide movement of over 100,000 people, dedicated to supporting and remembering those who have served and sacrificed for New Zealand.
- The RSA was formed in New Zealand in 1916 by returning ANZACs during World War One to help Gallipoli veterans and their families suffering from the effects of service.
- The RSA is a volunteer-led charity, assisting all affected as a result of military service, and their families, and advocating for their wellbeing and interests.
96 years strong
The 2018 Poppy Appeal marked the 96th running of the appeal, making it New Zealand’s oldest continuously run appeal. RSA Chief Executive Jack Steer says the longevity of the appeal reflects New Zealand’s long-held commitment to assisting countries near and far in times of conflict; in peace-time missions and other deployments in aid of others.
“The Poppy Appeal funds can only be used to provide help and support to those veterans and their families. And that help is available regardless of whether they are RSA members or not. All funds collected by clubs locally is also deployed locally, providing care to those servicemen and women and their families living in your communities,” Mr Steer said.