Volunteer Army gets Royal approval

Prince Harry and Sam Johnson with the army team (Supplied)
Prince Harry and Sam Johnson with the army team (Supplied)

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) has got the Royal seal of approval from Prince Harry for their Serve for New Zealand campaign.

The campaign concept is getting members of the public pledging to do meaningful acts of service on days of national significance.

This week, His Royal Highness Prince Harry endorsed the initiative.

The idea for Serve for NZ originated when Prince Harry visited the University of Canterbury last year. Prince Harry also met with veterans in Whanganui on his trip.

"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," he says.

"I am so pleased to see that this bond is being recognised through a new partnership between the SVA and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association."

The campaign has more than 4000 Kiwis signed up so far, including MPs and Ministers. The acts of service are meant to be undertaken in the lead up or on Anzac Day.

"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," Prince Harry says.

He encouraged others to get on board, being a strong supporter of grassroots projects.

Prince Harry with volunteer students (Supplied)

SVA founder Sam Johnson says the international support from Prince Harry and his family to Christchurch following the earthquakes has ensured movements like the SVA continue to have a positive impact.

"During his visit, Prince Harry emphasised the importance of sharing the lessons we have learned from Christchurch and other disasters, such as Nepal, and to look at how to grow the movement to support and involve more people."

Mr Johnson says it's about coming together to do good not just as a community but as a whole nation.

Canterbury University Vice Chancellor Rod Carr has supported the campaign as well.

An example of a group already doing their bit for the campaign is an army of 206 students and 12 teachers from Omokoroa Point School in the Bay of Plenty. The group spent an hour collecting rubbish and cleaning up their local peninsula this week. Students from Limehills School in Southland gave a new lease of life to the Limehills War Memorial as well.

A website has been set up for people to pledge.

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