Meet the Team

Helen Stewart

General Manager

Helen has recently joined us after a number of years living and working in Kawerau. While there she was the Executive Director of the Kawerau Enterprise Agency (KEA) Incorporated.

Passionate about community development and the power of people to make a difference, she is very excited by her new role with Volunteering BOP and working with others who enjoy being connected and participating in many different activities.

Her involvement in volunteering started at primary school and wherever she has lived, she has continued that commitment; it’s a great way to meet people and find out how communities work.

Working in both operational and governance roles has allowed Helen to develop her generalist skills which she is looking forward to using with Volunteering Bay of Plenty.

Gaylene Street

Service Coordinator

Gaylene is our Regional Service Coordinator. She joined Volunteering Bay Of Plenty (Volbop) in May 2017, firstly as a volunteer and then took on the role of Events & Marketing Coordinator.  Gaylene is also the Volunteer Coordinator, filling in for Anna while she is on maternity leave and is doing this alongside her Regional Coordinator role.

 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 extensive 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.  She has also gained a certificate in the Essentials of Volunteer Management.

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

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 is currently on maternity leave after having her lovely wee son Jack.

Clauda O'Neil

Social Media Specialist

Claudia is our Social Media Specialist. She first joined the team at Volunteering Bay of Plenty as a volunteer in 2016. In early 2018 she joined as a paid staff member, focusing on digital and social media communications. Claudia is finishing her Bachelor degree of Commerce, majoring in Public Policy, with Marketing being a key focus too. She has lived in both Neslon and Wellington but has spent most of her life in sunny Tauranga.

Trish Baars


Trish was born and raised in South Africa. Trish has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and was a member of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants as an Associate General Accountant.

In 2009, having been a single, working mother for 18 years, Trish took a year out of life for herself and went backpacking around the world.  It was during that year that she met a Kiwi, fell in love and decided to move to New Zealand to be with him.

Trish arrived in Christchurch in January 2011 and endured the earthquakes for 3 years before relocating to Tauranga.  Whilst in Christchurch, Trish volunteered as the Treasurer for the Exchange Branch of the NZ Stamp Collectors’ Club, and as the Treasurer for the Edgeware Christian Spiritualist Church. Trish is now a self-employed contractor with a small but diverse client base for whom she performs bookkeeping and administration services, including payroll administration, report preparation, GST returns, and other similar duties.

Trish’s favourite activities are laughing and the regular weekly meetings of her Laughter Yoga group which go a long way to keeping her sane and happy.


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.

In 2013 Christina started volunteering her time on a Thursday with Volunteering Bay of Plenty, she helps with keeping our office sparkly clean.  Christina always has a smile on her face and makes the office a fun place to be.  On a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Christina is at Arohanui where she does work experience in the office, cooking, girls group, art & craft and drama.

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.

Emma Rosling-Heppell


Emma Rosling-Heppell works as a volunteer journalist for VBOP. She moved to New Zealand 3 years ago and now lives in Te Puke with her husband and 5-year old daughter. She works in strategy, business development and project management as her full time job in but has a passion for writing, people and community which led her the voluntary position with VBOP. Emma particularly enjoys hearing the wide variety of stories from the people she interviews and finds inspiration in the work of so many of the not-for-profits she speaks to. Her aim is to help publicise the amazing work of VBOP the and the organisations they work with. In her spare time she is a member of a number of local committees in Te Puke and also helps as a teacher aide at Fairhaven School.