Meet the Team

Theo Ursum


Theo has been the Manager of Volunteering Bay of Plenty since February 2014. He moved to Tauranga in 2012 to take on the role of Operations Manager position at the YMCA Tauranga. In this role he was responsible for the running of the office and lead five departments. He quickly joined the Blue Rovers Football Club as a coach, joined the club’s committee as the Sports Director, and is now the Club President.


Before moving to Tauranga he held the position of Out of School Care and Recreation Manager, YMCA Hawkes Bay, from November 2009 until August 2011. During his role there he was responsible for 16 holiday programmes (hosting up to 350 kids per day) and 7 After School Care centres. Theo also sat on the Volunteering Hawkes Bay Board, helping to develop the organisation’s administrative systems and contribute to its business & strategic plans.

A Dutch native, Theo moved to New Zealand with his wife, Iris, in 2009. Prior to his immigration, he held various positions in several commercial companies, including the Dutch equivalent of Mitre 10. In his spare time, Theo enjoys tackling DIY projects, bike riding (no surprise there – he’s Dutch!) and tramping.

Iris Beemster

Service Coordinator

Iris Beemster is our service coordinator for the Tauranga area and has been with Volunteering Bay of Plenty since September 2013. Iris is the person you are most likely to talk to or meet as she links volunteers with volunteer opportunities at our member organisations. Iris also liaises with our member organisations so that we support them with their volunteer needs and to keep the job database up-to-date. Iris has also completed the Essentials to Volunteer Management through Volunteering New Zealand in April 2015.

Iris grew up in The Netherlands and moved to New Zealand just over five years ago. Before moving here Iris worked in community development and the tourism/hospitality industry both in The Netherlands and abroad. In her spare time Iris enjoys being outdoors as well as baking and cooking.

Barbie Burridge

Service Coordinator

Barbie Burridge is our Regional Service Coordinator and started with Volunteering Bay of Plenty in July 2016. Our regional service is focused predominantly in Rotorua and Whakatane but we are currently working with organisations in Te Puke, Katikati, Edgecumbe and Manawahe. Our membership organisations continue to grow in the Bay region.

Barbie grew up in Christchurch and is an official earthquake immigrant to Tauranga as she moved here post-quake in 2012. Barbie is a registered social worker with a background in both government organisations and not for profit organisations. Barbie has qualifications in psychology, social work and rehabilitation. She completed the Essentials of Volunteer Management through Volunteering New Zealand in 2016.

In her spare time Barbie enjoys travelling, books, and watching sports and is a published author.

Anna Bailey

Volunteer Coordinator

Anna Bailey is our Volunteer Coordinator and she joined Volunteer Bay of Plenty in September 2016. She helps to update HR Policies and Procedures and helps organisations with their Volunteer Management Programme. Anna finished her Masters Degree in Human Resorces and also did another HR course in London to swap her knowledge to English language. She is very keen to stay focused in Human Resources and to learn new things.

Anna is from small town Humenne in Slovakia. Along with HR she has been studying Teaching of specialized subjects. After her studies she moved to London to work and learn English. During that time she met a Kiwi man, they got married and decided to move to his home land. Anna is very happy to be in New Zealand as she loves the sea and outdoor activities. She has also become an interpreter in Slovak and Czech language for the BOP area so she can use her native language and help others with their integration to New Zealand.

Anna has gained a certificate in The Essential Skills of Managing Volunteers.

Gaylene Street

Events Coordinator 

Gaylene is our Events Coordinator. She joined Volunteer Bay Of Plenty in May 2017. Gaylene helps organise workshops, fundraising events and other events VBOP has throughout the year. .

Gaylene also helps with our website development and Facebook.
She moved from Auckland to Tauranga in April 2016 with her husband Wayne whose family roots are in the Bay of Plenty.
Gaylene previously worked for Auckland Council in Property Management and Health & Safety and has a lot of experience in Customer Service & Service delivery.  She holds a National Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 4) and a Certificate in Accounting Administration & Payroll.

Christina Fitzgerald

Office Support

Christina was born in Hamilton, “the town of fog” she says. Christina is the youngest child in a family of 11. Christina lives at home with her mum which she enjoys very much.

Christina now volunteers her time with Volunteering Bay of Plenty, she helps with keeping our office sparkly clean. On the 5th of December 2016 Christina received an award for completing 500 hours of volunteering. Christina always has a smile on her face and makes the office a fun place to be on a Thursday. She will be starting a work skills course at Toi Ohmai Institute of Technology in February this will hopefully help Christina gain part-time employment.

Christina has worked with Avalon and also the Salvation Army, she also used to work at the Papamoa Takeaways.  When Christina is not volunteering or learning she loves swimming, playing her electric piano and fishing.

Bushra Ansari


Bushra has a Master’s degree in English Literature, and has taught it for more than five years. Clean air and a great education system brought her to New Zealand, where she is a student at the Toi Ohomai studying Adult Education.

Bushra has always loved writing and did some volunteering in her home country too. The incredible opportunity at Volunteering Bay of Plenty, as volunteer journalist, is the high point of her stay in New Zealand. She thoroughly enjoys her role, as she is getting to do something she absolutely loves with a great organization.

Sue Taylor


Sue Taylor has been our volunteer receptionist since March 2017. Sue grew up in Auckland but has also lived in Palmerston North and Australia. Sue has an extensive background in administration and customer service and has a bright bubbly personality. Her hobbies include cross stitching, crocheting and she loves spending time with her little dog and cat.