‘Contribution gives you a voice’

In my recent article I introduced Sam Johnson, who had a leading role in the Student Volunteer Army in Christchurch following the earthquakes and who went on to be named Young New Zealander of the Year in 2012

In the last two years Sam has continued to have a leading role in helping to shape volunteer and community activities and has become seen as a leading advocate for community participation, speaking at numerous conferences about his experiences.


Watch his TEDx talk here on the value of contribution.

I was not able to meet with Sam during my short visit to Christchurch so caught up with him a few weeks later by email,

‘There are a number of things that make Christchurch a special place for me: the quality of life, access to power structures and ability to make change. The quakes brought a change to the city. Before the quakes Christchurch was more reserved and conservative. Now it is diverse, risk-taking and ever-changing. And the ambitions of the city have also totally changed. We have now the basis and reason to aspire to something greater and more ambitious.’

‘When I was 16 my ambition was to be successful and always strive to do what I love in life. My advice to young people? Back yourself to be limitless.’

Sam Johnson


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