Volunteering Bay of Plenty welcomes a new CEO

Volunteering Bay of Plenty is delighted to announce that Vanessa Lister has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She commenced her role on Monday 14 September and brings over 16 years of experience in executive leadership roles.

The Board of Trustees created the new CEO position, reflecting the organisation’s ambitious plans to deliver a range of new services and resources for NFP’s and volunteers that educate, advocate and enable excellence in volunteering throughout the Bay of Plenty. Vanessa is well placed to lead the delivery of Volunteering Bay of Plenty’s renewed strategy with her executive leadership experience, strategy delivery and proven results increasing financial sustainability of NFP’s.

Originally hailing from a heterogeneous, disadvantaged South African ethnic group and her experience as a migrant, has shaped Vanessa’s commitment to building strong community connections through volunteering, and supporting underserved communities. Tony Snow, Chair of the Board of Trustees believes her personal and professional experiences will bring a fresh dimension to Volunteering Bay of Plenty. “With Volunteering Bay of Plenty enabling organisations to manage and maintain volunteers effectively and fairly, Vanessa’s skillset, experience, passion and personality will help drive the organisation towards its goals. With event management also in the mix – we look forward to bringing the Covid affected VOLFEST back to the fore and seeing how this shapes up in the near future.”

Vanessa said “I am excited to be leading Volunteering Bay of Plenty into the next season and maximise opportunities to showcase the many benefits that Volunteering brings to the individual, society, the environment and the economy. I look forward to meeting everyone and making new connections as we wear the CAPE to Connect, Advocate, Protect and Educate.”

With current border restrictions, Vanessa will work remotely from Victoria Australia and then be based in Tauranga. As we have had to navigate remote working with our own lockdown, we have proven that remote working is achievable and practical in the short term. Vanessa is excited about joining her family in the Bay as soon as possible.


BOP Mayors Give Thanks to Local Volunteers

Click on the images below to hear local Mayors give special thanks to volunteers during National Volunteer Week 21-27 June 2020.

Rotorua Mayor: Steve Chadwick

Whakatane Mayor: Judy Turner

WBOP Mayor video – Garry Webber

For more info and activities celebrating National Volunteer Week, click here.

Thanks from the Minister

Minister Poto Williams, Minister for the Community & Voluntary Sector, thanks volunteers as we open National Volunteer Week 21-27 June 2020.

Click here to view.


Lisa Ford, General Manager of Volunteering Bay of Plenty, was interviewed by Jolene and Mark on The Breeze on Monday morning, 11th May 2020.

If you missed it, click below for audio.

VolFest Exhibitor Workshop Great Success

Great turnout for our Volfest Exhibitor Workshop on Wednesday 22nd January where confirmed stallholders were given some hints and tips on how to market their organisation, recruit volunteers and generally make the most from their participation in the event. There was fantastic energy and enthusiasm in the room and we’ve received positive feedback from those who attended. We can’t wait to see the results from what they learned.

“Thank you so much for the workshop this morning, very helpful and thought provoking! Lots to think about!” – Courtney Dick, Enterprise Angels.

Thanks Ron Scott from Stellaris and Michelle & Anna from Mix Marketing for helping us deliver such a successful workshop.



VOLFEST: We are in the midst of uncertainty with the onset of COVID-19 around the world. With new measures in place to attempt to contain the spread of the disease in New Zealand, we have decided the only responsible action is to postpone our VolFest event to early next year. We really appreciate your support and enthusiasm for VolFest, which promises to be an awesome opportunity for our volunteering community. We will be working hard to keep you informed of our plans to run this event in early 2021.

VolFest will be held to showcase organisations and volunteer opportunities to the wider community. Visit www.volfest.org for more info.

Volunteering Bay of Plenty, hosting Volfest 2020, the newest volunteering festival coming to the Bay of Plenty, has secured a major partnership.  Read more here about how the Wright Family Foundation sees the partnership as a natural fit, along with Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, one of the many registered stallholders.

If you would like to know more about this event, email events@volbop.org.nz or visit our website https://www.volfest.org/ 

Volunteering Bay of Plenty and the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust – working together 1 year on


The teams at the Otanewainuku Trust and Volunteering Bay of Plenty (VolBop) recently celebrated 12 months of working together – not with a big celebration but with a look back at what they had achieved together over the last year.

The Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust is a community-based voluntary charitable trust formed in 2002 aimed at protecting and restoring natural habitat and reversing the decline of the North Island brown kiwi in the Otanewainuku Forest. Its main objective is formalising pest eradication in the 1200 hectares of virgin bush they manage alongside the Department of Conservation just 20km south of Tauranga.

The trust had known for some time they were in need of some outside help to formalise the volunteering management processes and to bring structure to a number of the operational procedures. Hans Pendergrast, the Trust’s Chairman, says “VBOP had started helping with volunteer recruitment, so coming on board to help with the next stage was a natural progression”, says Hans.The forest has been protected from milling since 1887 which has allowed hundreds of indigenous plants and trees to flourish including rimu and rare king ferns. It provides homes for native birds such as tui, falcons, kokako and other fauna as well as the famous kiwi. “Unfortunately”, says Hans, “the forest also supports a wide variety of pests which provide a constant challenge for the passionate volunteers who give up their time to help with trapping, clearing the bush, and laying bait lines.”

The Trust holds a special place in the hearts of Bay of Plenty locals who consider it to be a national treasure. It has always been able to attract plenty of enthusiastic volunteers who love to get out in the bush and reconnect with nature.  “We’ve never had a problem with recruitment,” says Hans, “we have a comprehensive website which attracts people to us initially and many people come to us through ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendation. Volunteer management has always been more of a challenge.”

“How to best integrate people into your organisation is something a lot of groups struggle with.”

VolBop have also helped create a comprehensive Volunteer Handbook which includes lots of useful information including sections on health and safety and the Trust’s values. “We always had the will and the idea to do it” says Hans. “but VolBop really helped us know how to do it and how to move it forward. It’s been a huge benefit of working with them.” They have also helped to create more formal job descriptions, a volunteer newsletter, and to improve overall volunteer communication.

Bryan Everitt, a volunteer who has been involved for about 6 months along with his wife Dawn, says “We wanted to get more involved with the local community after our kids left home for work and Uni and this was the perfect opportunity for us. We regularly come to the work-days and we love getting out into the bush and off the beaten track.”

“The best thing about the work is seeing things you wouldn’t normally see in the forest. We gain lots of new knowledge about the natural environment, forest management, baiting and tracking. We learn so much informally just by being there and talking with others” says Bryan.

“It’s the ability to contribute to our community and learn at the same time that we really enjoy  – it’s a win-win” says Bryan. “We’ve met lots of interesting and knowledgeable people and we hope to get more involved in the future”.

Another local volunteer from Oropi, Rebecca Rickard, is soon to be a year 13 student at Tauranga Girls College and has worked with the Trust once a month since May. “I’ve always known about the Trust”, says Rebecca. “I learnt a lot about giving back from being part of Outward Bound and I decided a great way to give back to my local community was through the Trust. VolBop helped by putting me in touch with Hans at the Trust after I expressed an interest in community work.”

VolBop have also assisted in training existing experienced volunteers on how to teach new members of the team. Hans says “It was sometimes a challenge when new volunteers tried to integrate into existing teams. It’s really helped to give those already involved some training on how to make the process smoother.” Rebecca agrees. “I have found that volunteers who have been involved for a while are great at teaching and helping new people out,” she says. “There is always an experienced person leading a group on the work-days and everyone is easy to talk to.”

“We hope the relationship between VolBop and the Otanewainuku Trust will continue to grow,” says Theo Ursum, General Manager, VolBop. “They are a wonderful organisation and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to help with some of the processes and procedures. These will create strong foundations for their volunteer management moving forward.”


The Clothing Project, based in Edgecumbe, came into being in February 2013. Amy Revell, the founder and one of the coordinators of The Clothing Project, started it from her garage, sourcing clothes for little children for families who were so poor that they often had to choose between food and necessary clothing for the kids. Amy was soon joined by her schoolmate Kylie Carpenter who is also one of the coordinators of The Project, who also ached to do something positive, right at the grassroots level. 

Amy Revell

The Clothing Project have managed substantial work already, covering most of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, including reaching out to people even on the occasion of the devastating floods in April 2017, which left the town of Edgecumbe wrecked. In collaboration with Volunteering Bay of Plenty (VolBop) that coordinated with the NAVA (Ngati Awa Volunteer Army), they worked in impossible circumstances to the best of their capacity to help to those affected by the floods. Both Amy and Kylie acknowledged the support they received from VolBop where they liaised with the local authorities bringing great support to Amy and Kylie in a situation where everything was up in the air. 

If they did not have a rocking sense of humour, and if they were not looking like school girls on a picnic, what they have managed to accomplish would look more like the work of highly experienced boardroom helming, iron willed business women in power suits. Kylie and Amy are anything but that. The atmosphere is like a family gathering where people just drop in to chill out with each other while lending a hand with whatever is going on there. Both are mothers, and both have lives full of responsibilities that could overwhelm a mortal being. But they are a powerhouse of enthusiasm with a hefty dose of positivity. Looking at the mad amount of work surrounding them, their achievement is incredible in terms of outreach and expansion.

Amy & Kylie with their award

Having achieved the Runner-Up position in the Health and Wellbeing category of the 2017, Trustpower Community Awards, the team is excited about more upcoming events for 2018.

If you want to know more about what they do, or if you want to help, you can find them on their Facebook page or  their Website

Submitted by Bushra Ansari,  journalist at Volunteering Bay of Plenty


 Otanewainuku’s new volunteer army

A new volunteer army will help buoy one of the Western Bay’s most precious environments.

A partnership between Volunteering Bay of Plenty and Western Bay of Plenty District Council will provide a volunteer force to strengthen the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust.

Click here to read the full article in the Bay of Plenty Times.


Researching family history helps man back into work

Brian Godfrey is using his passion for genealogy to help get him back into the workplace.

Mr Godfrey is one of three genealogy volunteers at Tauranga City Library and, after an accident in October 2016 left him in pain and unable to work, he decided to use his 30-year passion for genealogy to help him get back in to the workplace.

Click here to read the full article in the Bay of Plenty Times.