Hato Hone St John runs hospital volunteer programmes called FEDs and Hospital Friends. Our people provide comfort and support to patients, their whanau and friends. Please refer to the questions and answers below for any questions you may have.

What are FEDs?

Friends of the Emergency Department (FED) is a Hato Hone St John programme where volunteers provide comfort and support to patients and their family and friends in hospital emergency departments across the country.

What are Hospital Friends?

Hospital Friends is our programme where volunteers provide comfort and support to patients and their family and friends in small hospitals and various hospital departments (excluding Emergency) across the country.

How are FEDs different from Hospital Friends?

FEDs and Hospital Friends do the same kind of work. They offer help and reassurance, which might mean assisting patients with food and drink, or simply being there for company and support. FEDs are based in Emergency Departments and Hospital Friends are found in other departments throughout the hospital, such as the Oncology Department in Dunedin Hospital.

Is this programme in every hospital?

Friends of the Emergency Department volunteers are working in the following hospitals:

Auckland City






North Shore







Hawkes Bay



Palmerston North






Our Hospital Friends volunteers can be found in:


Dunedin Hospital Oncology Department

Oamaru Hospital

Dunedin Children’s Ward

Tauranga Hospital Assessment and Planning Unit


Invercargill Children’s Ward

Bay of Islands Hospital

Thames Hospital

Dargaville Hospital

Taupo Hospital


How do I volunteer to become a FED or a Hospital Friend?

You can call Hato Hone St John toll free on 0800 ST JOHN (0800 78 56 46), send an email to enquiries@stjohn.org.nz or complete an online request. Someone from our community programmes team will be in touch to talk through the process.

How many hours per week do you need to dedicate to volunteering?

Volunteers generally work a four hour shift once a week or once a fortnight.  Rosters are pre-organised, so our volunteers know exactly when they are required.

Do I need any qualifications to be a FED or a Hospital Friend?

These are non-clinical roles and don’t require you to have any qualifications.  We do have a volunteer role description that outlines the sort of people that are best-suited for this type of work.

Is there any training to be a volunteer?

Yes there is.  We have a high quality training programme that every new volunteer goes through. In some locations there is additional training, but this depends on the needs of the specific hospital and/or department. We provide on-going support for our volunteers with regular information and refresher training.

Help take care of our frontline crews.Rainbow TickBecome a Hato Hone St John VolunteerSt John first aid TrainingSt John medical alarmEvent support