Meet the nominees for the Volunteer Recognition Event 2021

Brian Finch

Environment Network Manawatu

Brian has everything that makes a volunteer special – young at heart, passionate about the environment and dedicated to inspiring the next generation about how they can make a difference to their community and the wider world.

Chi Hang Lam

Digits Charitable Trust

Raymond has guided many people through technical issues. He is kind, helpful, and always attends his duties with a smile and a friendly chat. He is able and willing to share his knowledge with others.

Lynne Dann

English Language Partners

Lynne knows that volunteering is a two-way process that gives everyone a sense of belonging and learning from each other. It is this positive relationship that enhances the learning process.

Jeremy Parry

Manawatū Tenents Union

With a strong commitment to the kaupapa of MTU and values of social justice and equity as a part of the role while conducting the unglamorous work of sifting through data, bills, and paperwork, Jeremy is an outstanding choice for VRE.

Tui Robinson

Manawatū Toy Library

Tui's dedication and commitment, as well as her attitude, are what set her apart.  She comes in every week ready and willing to tackle any and every task asked of her, all while taking time to talk to members, and their children. 

Julie Stewart

Supergrans Manawatū

Julie is a warmhearted volunteer who inspires us with her compassion and understanding.Julie brings a light and an objective calmness which makes working with her easy.  We value Julie's honesty and insight and it really makes the work a collaboration between peers.

Viv's Kitchen

MASH Trust

Viv and Kev are two of the most special people I know and over the years it has been so heartwarming to see their relationship with Harlen grow. They treat him like he is one of the family. They offered him so many fun opportunities and things that he would not get the chance to do in his everyday life.

Chuda Ghimire

Manawatū Multicultural Council

Chuda Ghimire is a selfless, dedicated and committed volunteer who devoted his time and effort to helping his fellow former refugees resettle in the community. For over 14 years Chuda helped with supporting and interpreting for former refugees and the community.

Kay Coles

Blind Low Vision NZ

As well as being a tireless organiser of activities, Kay takes a special interest in the needs of individual members, especially those who are more isolated or without family living locally. She helps people with transport, shopping and regularly opens their home for hospitality.

Chrys Cabraal


Chrys is a wonderful mentor to young ESOL students who arrive at school in NZ with very little english language.    Chrys goes over and above  for all the children she supports. Her dedication to the Trust and the tamariki is outstanding.

Eleanor Ranson

Age Concern PN

You cannot help but be carried along by Eleanor’s warm personality.  Her enthusiasm draws people alongside her, and morning teas are most popular. Age Concern is particularly proud of Eleanor's  hard work and dedication to the Steady As You Go Program.

Suzanne Pedersen

MASH Trust

Suzanne is a very special lady. She is so caring and thoughtful. Her buddy is unable to verbally communicate. Suzanne had to learn and develop new communications skills to connect to him. She wanted to make a difference in his life and she does.

Roland Riddell

Digits Charitable Trust

Roland has an amazing personality, is welcoming, and has that X factor when dealing with people and building trust. He is kind, helpful and always attends his volunteer duties with a smile on his face.

Kathy Simpson

St Matthews Church

What I am certain about Kathy is that she has absolutely made it her life’s work to care for the vulnerable and the marginalized in our society. I believe this adversity coupled with her strong sense of faith is what fuel’s her to try and make life better for others.

Rebbeca Driessen

Manawatū Toy Library

Rebecca is a gift and hides her light under a bushel! She is kind, caring, and always ready to help. Her humility camouflage her unique ability to teach and lead a small team of other volunteers. She utilises her talents for the benefit of our organisation.

Jocelyn Goodman


Jocelyn always makes her lessons fun and enjoyable for students.  She spends time thoughtfully planning her activities and creates many new opportunities for students both in and outside of school. She is an outstanding member of our Team.     

Kathy Patrick

English Language Partners

Kathy goes the extra mile for her learner and his family by helping them with housing issues and general day-to-day living. This demonstrates the broader benefits of volunteering and to put it in Kathy’s words: “as a volunteer I do it, not for the recognition, but for the pleasure of helping others”.

Tracey Sullivan

Supergrans Manawatū

Tracey is a people person and is happy to work with anyone without judgement. She is very reliable, punctual, and independent.  She has initiative and resolves any problems she encounters and can be relied upon to mentor without need for guidance.  

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention

- Oscar Wilde  -


You are part of a team of 1.075,000 people volunteering in Aotearoa. The work you do is part of the $4 billion per annum economic contribution, and 159 million hours of formal volunteer labour each year.

It is impossible to measure the number of lives improved by your work and commitment. By offering your time and skills to help others, you create something bigger than yourself and you have set a powerful example.

Thank you for supporting our communities by giving people in need a helping hand, the hope of a better tomorrow. For sharing your knowledge with grace and enthusiasm. For showing us that in order to make a difference in the world, all we need is kindness. 


Victoria Kaye Simmons 
Councillor Horowhenua
Tangi Utikere
MP for Palmerston North
Wiremu Te Awe Awe
Rangitāne o Manawatu
Chris Atherton
Volunteer Central Chairperson


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We are honoured to have Janetta Mandeno and Lyal Brenton, once again, as the MC's for the Volunteer Recognition Event. This is a very successful combination that brings joy to the ceremony in a professional and memorable way. The duo are perfect ambassadors for the event as they are both widely engaged with the local communities through volunteering. 


At Volunteer Central, we aim to create meaningful connections, therefore, having MCs that are part of the volunteering community is so important. As volunteers themselves, Janetta and Lyal truly connect with the nominees and share their passion for helping others.

Lyal Brenton

Lyal is the Palmerston North Town Crier. He has extensive voluntary roles including Big Brother Big Sister mentor, Board Member of the Just Released Accommodation Trust and Palmerston North Community Services Council.

Get in touch with Lyal:

Janetta Mandeno

Janetta is a local celebrant for marriages, civil unions, and any ceremony. Her voluntary roles are extensive including Volunteer Central as an office volunteer, MidCentral Hospital as a trolley salesperson, and St John on the Outreach Therapy Pets programme.

Get in touch with Janetta:

Thank you! 

Thank you to everyone that attended the event: nominees, organisations, family/friends/whanau, distinguished guests, supporters, and sponsors. Together we did something really special. Every Volunteer Recognition Event is a special occasion and this one wasn't different. A room full of generous and joyful people, that are changing our communities for the better.

An awesome team of inspiring people brought together through volunteering. Ka pai!