Tony Cartner

For Tony Cartner, providing English language assistance to migrants and refugees has made for a smooth transition from academic life into retirement. Tony began lecturing in Chemistry at the University of Waikato in 1981, and eventually became the Associate Dean in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.  He had become increasingly involved in bridging and pathways programmes at the university, resulting in him transferring to the University’s Waikato Pathways College in 2008. 

That change to Tony’s involvement with English Language Partners, an organisation where volunteers and professional teachers deliver a range of English-language programmes in partnership with refugee and migrant learners. He retired in 2015 but still has a strong passion for learning and wanted to continue helping others to learn in a voluntary capacity. 

“When I retired, I didn’t want to just stop and do nothing. I enjoyed being able to help students, and feel like I was making a difference,” he says. 

Tony started working with two Afghani refugees, a husband and wife studying towards a certificate in English Language. He received training from English Language Partners, which he found to be excellent.

Tony says there is a big need for help with refugees, which is likely to increase in the future. For Tony, it’s not just about helping with English, but also with adjusting to life in New Zealand and Hamilton. He has feels it is important to give back to this part of the community who can benefit from his skills. 

"We are all part of the same community, and we have to work together. This is a way I can help with that."  

Tony’s advice to other newly retired people is that volunteering your time and skills can be of immense value both to the community and yourself. 

"The volunteering I have been involved in has hopefully been of value to the people I am working with, but it’s also been extremely rewarding for me personally. It’s given me a sense of belonging, purpose and usefulness, which are perhaps some of the things you might lose belonging to when you leave the work environment. I would recommend volunteering to others in the same situation."

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteering Waikato at 07 839 3191  or www.volunteeringwaikato.org.nz​.

Page reviewed: 20 Jun 2016 8:59am