The International Day of the Volunteer was celebrated globally this week.
Many people gift their time to a host of organisations, and some will have little knowledge just how valuable their contribution is.
The amount of volunteer hours recorded at the last census was down significantly, but the contribution to the country is still measured in the billions.
A Dunedin man has received an award for volunteer work.
John Gourlay was presented with a Dunedin Public Library citation for his long and outstanding contribution to the library at a Christmas function held today.
Gourlay has been serving at the library since 2002, assisting primarily with magazine collections.
A spokesperson said his commitment had been extraordinary.
He was presented with the award by Dunedin City Councillor Aaron Hawkins.
There's been a rash of car accidents around the south today, including a fatal crash near Milton.
The wet weather appears to have caught several drivers unawares and emergency services have been kept busy.
In Dunedin, the driver of this car appears to have lost control and collided with a pole.
Police were in attendance at a fatal crash on the Milton Highway mid-morning.
One person died and another was airlifted to hospital with critical injuries.
Carisbrook Heights School in Dunedin will close for good at the end of the year.
The school's board of trustees made the decision based on decreasing student numbers.
All classes will be transferred to the main site Carisbrook School in South Road.
Carisbrook Heights was formed as a result of a merger in 2011 between Caversham, College Street and Calton Hill Schools.
Enrolments have halved since it opened in 2012 and now stand at 29.
Thousands of children lined the streets of towns around the lower South Island to get a glimpse of the jolly man in a red over the weekend.
Annual Santa parades were held in Dunedin, Invercargill and Balclutha.
And it's a timely reminder to parents that it's not long until Santa and his elves have to get to work.
Southern retailers shouldn't expect a big spend up from dairy farmers this Christmas, according to an expert.
The comments come on the back of low dairy prices for the last two years.
And despite international prices rising, Dairy NZ says it'll take a while to offset the damage and debts incurred over the last two years.
Police are investigating damage done to the Bluff police station last night.
Eight windows were smashed between 5pm and 8pm but the station was not entered.
No damage was evident to the Barrow Street building late this morning.
Invercargill police inspector Mike Bowman says he is "disappointed" people had chosen to attack the building.
Police would like to hear from anyone who might have seen anything suspicious around the station on Tuesday evening.
The median house price in Otago has reached a new high of $296,000.
That's a $16,000 jump compared to this time last year.
Prices are mostly up in rural areas but down in Dunedin, and overall sales volumes have fallen 7% in the last 12 months.
Otago is one of six regions in the country to hit a new record high median sale price.
Smaller increases are also being reported in Southland and the Queenstown Lakes area.
There has been a large jump in sales volumes in Gore and commentators say demand from first home buyers remains solid.
Organisers of the iD Dunedin Fashion Week are looking at ways to cut costs after reporting an almost $55,000 loss.
The society in charge of the annual fashion week just publicly confirmed the deficit.
In the 2015 financial year it enjoyed a net profit of more than $120,000.
But that's turned into a net loss of just under $55,000 following this year's event.
Income dropped and expenditure increased for the society, disappointing members.
They're blaming lower than expected ticket sales and are now looking at trimming costs and boosting sponsorship.
Otago is the second fastest growing region in the country in relation to tourism, according to the latest statistics.
It's second only to the Nelson region, which has had 11.7% growth in tourism expenditure.
The figure for Otago is 9.6%.
That equates to $3.2b for the year to August.
Wanaka led the country for individual towns and cities, experiencing a $16.3% increase.
Dunedin's also had a winter tourism boom, thanks in part to a new promotion enticing Australians and New Zealanders to the city.
Port Otago has generated $7.3m for parent organisation the Otago Regional Council in the last financial year.
The company's just publicly announced its latest annual performance, reporting a group profit of just over $34m.
There has been an increase in export container volumes and higher valuations on investment properties.
But the log industry has declined slightly, as have import container volumes and cruise ship numbers.
Port Otago's well into its planned $45m infrastructure upgrade, spanning several years.
New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association have agreed that women's cricketers will be paid more.
A new three-year Memorandum of Understanding will see 15 of the country's best women cricketers offered annual retainers ranging in value from $20,000 to $34,000.
Previously, only the top 10 players received contracts worth more than $10,000.
The New Zealand Cricket Association says paying our best women's players more fits in well with the organisation's commitment towards inclusivity and diversity.
Despite a season-ending loss to the Lions at the weekend, the Highlanders are celebrating success, having 7 players selected in the latest All Blacks squad.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen named his side for the upcoming rugby championship, with the now expected contingent of Highlanders making the cut.
He says he and his fellow selectors are very happy with the squad and combinations they had come up with.
The Kia Toa Tigers have been crowned this year's Otago rugby league champions after defeating the East Coast Eagles.
The side won 32 to 18 at Forsyth Barr Stadium taking home the coveted William Johnston Cup.
And while there were a few stand-out players, the Tigers captain says it was very much a team effort.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will retain his position through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2019.
His previous contract was set to expire next year following the British and Irish Lions three test tour.
The 57 year old has been involved in the side's two back-to-back World Cup successes in the past eight years.
And he's lost just three of 57 All Blacks tests as head coach.