Understanding volunteers in cultural tourism organisations in New Zealand: exploring demographics and motivational factors

Chen, Xiaohua
Liu, Claire
Legget, Jane
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

This research explored the demographics of the volunteers who work in three cultural tourism attractions in New Zealand. Furthermore, it investigated the motivational factors that influence the decision of these people to volunteer in the organisations. The research reviewed the previous literature about volunteering in general and in the tourism industry in particular. In order to enhance the work experience of cultural tourism volunteers and improve volunteer management in these tourism attractions, the study focused on finding out who the cultural volunteers were and what motivated them to participate in the volunteer activities.

The research used a quantitative method to examine the characteristics and motivational factors of cultural tourism volunteers in New Zealand. A questionnaire was adopted to collect the data. The research involved three major urban cultural institutions: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum and Auckland Art Gallery. From over 450 volunteers, 177 valid responses were drawn from these organisations in March and April 2014.

The survey identified the general demographics of the volunteers who work in these cultural tourism attractions and demonstrated which motivational factors were the most and least influential in making the decision to volunteer. A 30-item survey instrument covering six motivational functions based on the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) model was employed in the research to explore the motivational pattern. The findings showed that partnered or married, retired, European female individuals with a strong educational background and average income were the predominant group in the sample. Furthermore, the statements related to motivational function of ‘values’ were found to be the most important factor among all. Recommendations are made for volunteer management in cultural tourism attractions in New Zealand for further action.

Tourism , Volunteer
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