Maxine Gunning encourages people involved in StarJam through music and performance

StarJam creates friendships

by Ann van Engelen

Maxine Gunning is a Volunteering Canterbury member who gives many hours of her time to StarJam, an organisation dedicated to making a difference for people with disabilities lives through music and performance.

“Maxine is known as one of our most committed volunteers at StarJam. She brings laughter and contagious energy to our Rolleston workshop every single week,” says StarJam programmes coordinator Ella van Wijk.

“Our young people adore her, and not only does she help out in our workshops, but she dedicates time to our community events during the year. She recently paid her own flights and accommodation to volunteer at our Auckland Gala Dinner to support one of her Magic Movers Jammers who was performing. The generosity she brings from her heart is why StarJam is the amazing organisation it is. Maxine is a prime example of the types of people who are making differences in our young people’s lives.”

Maxine says she stumbled across volunteering at StarJam in 2018.

“It is the best thing I have ever done. I know giving my time makes a difference to the Jammers, but the difference they make to my life is phenomenal,” she says.

“The positive energy and joy that comes from them every week are inspiring, and I walk away in awe of how amazing they are. StarJam is by far the best night of my week, and I couldn’t imagine not going along to dance and sing.”

Volunteering Canterbury facilitates people who want to volunteer in various roles.

“We foster the relationships between people and organisations, helping people working on the coalface with volunteers,” says Volunteering Canterbury project administrator Tammy Dodgshun. Our overall vision is people and communities prospering through volunteering. If you would like to experience this for yourself, sign up at You can browse through more than 230 current volunteer roles, across a huge range of categories — there’s something there for everyone.“

For more information on StarJam go to