The Board

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 I perform 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 are what go a long way to keeping her sane and happy.

Colin Leader


Colin and his wife escaped the bustle of Auckland 8 years ago and settled into the wonderful lifestyle that the Bay of Plenty offers. He has 9 years of experience in the Financial services Industry, following on from 13 years of being a soldier, retail manager, sales manager, business owner and traveller! In between he has gained 2 Diplomas in Business and Management, and has built vast experience in team work, management, strategy, communications, and can do attitude!

He lept at the opportunity to join the board in October of 2013, and became chair in January of 2014 a position he held till December 2016. Colin is passionate about giving back to the community that has supported him all of these years, and believes strongly in enabling others to give also. Further, he believes that our community came become stronger by connecting those that need help with those looking to help. Colin has varied interests from his love of sports, movies and music, and of course his family.

Cushla Summers


Cushla was born and raised in Tauranga, and then moved to Auckland and Hong Kong to work and study. She returned to Tauranga 12 years ago to enjoy the wonderful lifestyle Tauranga offers.  

Cushla has over 25 years experience within the tertiary education sector researching, developing and facilitating tertiary and adult psycho-educational programmes at AUT University and the Bay Of Plenty Polytechnic. In addition, Cushla has over 30 years’ experience in programme development and educational project management within the education, NGO and community sectors. Cushla also established and managed a Vocational Training Centre for expatriate adults with special learning needs in Hong Kong, and this centre continues to offer a valuable community service today.

Currently, she is one of the Directors for ‘Life A Plenty’; a service which provides therapeutic retreats, community workshops, Women’s Retreats, professional development seminars/workshops and counselling services within the wider BOP. Cushla holds a Masters in Education, postgraduate qualifications in Career Counselling and has additional qualifications in Community and Social Work and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFLA).

Cushla strongly values the contribution volunteering brings to the Bay of Plenty community. As a Board Member for Volunteering BOP, she considers herself very fortunate to have the opportunity to apply her experience and skills within this important and valuable community service. Her interests include tramping, fly-fishing, singing and running.

Monique Edlinger


Monique’s decision to move to the sunny bay in January 2014 was instigated when her eldest daughter decided to study at Otago University.

She moved here with her younger daughter and became a volunteer with Tauranga Youth Search and Rescue as her daughter was attending their programme.

She is a people and community-focused person and most of her roles have been in the community sector, either through employment or volunteering. Monique has joined the board at Volunteer Bay of Plenty as she believes strongly in social responsibility and believes that through collaboration more can be achieved that will have a positive impact on our community. Monique is a member of Sunrise Rotary, a Trustee of 4Good Charitable Trust and a member of the Smart Growth Social Sector Forum.

Working with people is her passion, she is a self employed Project Manager and loves the variety offered in this role. Her interests involve learning new skills, various social, physical and outdoor activities, as well as spending time with family and friends.