“People caring for people”

As the Welfare Officer, I am part of the oldest and largest support organisations. in New Zealand.

“ On 15 July 1915 the ship Willochra entered Wellington harbour. A large crowd waits anxiously alongside ambulances, for on board, are the first wounded back from Gallipoli – the first returned soldiers of WWI.

One that disembarks that day is Donald Simson who immediately realises, amongst all the hustle and bustle, uncertainty, anxiousness, fear, the need for an association of returned soldiers.

It is Simpson who is instrumental in the formation of a number of local associations throughout the country. Their role will be to support one another & to provide care for veterans and their families.

Simson calls a national meeting that establishes the New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association on 28 April 1916.” (ref Christchurch RSA).

The rest, as they say, is history

New Zealand's soldiers disembarking  the  Willochra on July 15 at the Glasgow wharf Wellington (ref WW100 & AWNS-19150722-43-1)

Almost a century on, support and remembrance continues to be at the heart of our organisation.

The RSA values of Compassion, Camaraderie, Courage and Commitment are the cornerstones of a Welfare Officer’s role and I am very fortunate in having the opportunity in demonstrating them on a daily basis.

The chart below shows how my day-to-day work breakdown is typically structured:

The key tasks in each of these interactions can be listed:


  • Poppy Fund Grant applications
  • Transport services to/from medical appointments
  • Emergency transport needs to a health service
  • Support for overseas servicemen and women now resident in NZ
  • Help and referrals associated with wellbeing matters
  • Support and friendship in times of need


  • Aged care facilities, rest homes, retirement villages
  • Hospitals
  • Private homes


  • Veteran Affairs
  • Accident Compensation Commission , Ministry of Social Development, Police and Ministry of Defence
  • Surviving spouse entitlement
  • Agent Orange, asbestos & radiation exposure, tinnitus on-set


  • Legal counsel recommendation
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • War disability pensions and other eligible allowances
  • Financial relief


    • Age Concern (elder abuse)
    • NZ Police
    • Audiologist, Optometrists, Dentists, Doctors, Specialists
    • Driver’s licenses - AA
    • NZ Defence Force


    • “Where to go” for help e.g. insurance matters, banking issues, phone upgrades etc
    • Presentations to external organisations outlining the role of the RSA – Welfare e.g. KEV
    • A & P in local newspapers, Facebook, Neighbourly


    • Funerals
    • School presentations
    • Poppy Day collections
    • Armistice Day organisation
    • ANZAC Day organisation
    • Christmas hamper sourcing and deliveries


    • Plaque ordering and placement
    • Head office liaison outlining issues, activities, support requests
    • Welfare Officer on-going training, support update information & Police Vetting

    As you can see, our support services are wide and varied – there is really nothing we cannot do for our clients, one way or another.

    People helping people – as a person, a family, a community, a nation –
    we only have what we give.

    To set up a meeting or visit, at your home or ours, please give Lynton Bridger a call 022 572 7722 or 027 439 2573 or, if you prefer, an email at welfare@hbcrsa.org.nz