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Meet the nominees for the Volunteer Recognition Event 2021

Brian Finch

Environment Network Manawatu

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Brian volunteers at Palmy’s Plastic Pollution Challenge.

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. Brian has been pivotal in the Environment Network Manawatū -led Palmy’s Plastic Pollution Challenge. For Dr Brian Finch, the solution lies in working with the community to bring about behavioural change.

Chi Hang Lam

Digits Charitable Trust

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Raymond is a Digital Advisor at Digits Charitable Trust.

Chi work at Digits Hub enables people to safely navigate through any technological issues. With kindness and patience, Chi guides and teaches visitors who need assistance. Chi is able and willing to share his knowledge with others. His lovely warm personality and commitment to the work make him a remarkable volunteer.

Lynne Dann

English Language Partners

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Lynne volunteers at ELP as a home tutor.

Lynne teaches English to a family of former refugees. More than helping them navigate through a second language, Lynne enables them to be connected to the community, to belong. She creates a positive relationship that enhances the learning process. A fun and enjoyable experience that her students look forward to.

Tui Robinson

Manawatū Toy Library

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Tui is Toy Library as coordinator’s assistant volunteer.

Tui goes above and beyond assisting the coordinators, tackling any and every task, and talking to members and their children. Her attitude is what sets her apart. She has become both a valued volunteer and a friend. Manawatū Toy Library feels lucky to have Tui as part of the team.

Julie Stewart

Supergrans Manawatū

Julie is a mentor at SuperGrans Manawatu.

Julie inspires those around her with compassion and understanding. Whatever the situation, positive or challenging, Julie always brings light and an objective calmness which makes working with her easy. Being a mentor means helping others to be the best version of themselves.

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Viv's Kitchen

MASH Trust

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Viv’s kitchen is a volunteer team business

Viv, Kev, and their team work in a fast-paced and extremely busy café. However, every fortnightly they take the time to prioritise their buddy, Harlen. They provide more than love and attention, Viv's Kitchen ensures Harlen is included and offers him the opportunity to learn, contribute, and belong. At Viv's Kitchen, Harlen feels part of the team, part of the family. He is appreciated, valued, and respected. Viv’s Kitchen is the perfect example of how business can give back to their communities.

Kay Coles

Blind Low Vision NZ

Kay Coles Palmerston North Social Mexica

Kay is the chairperson of the support group at the Blind Low Vision.

Kay makes a difference in people's life by enabling connections. She creates opportunities for people to be included and friendships through social and recreational events that she organises, coordinates, and delivers. Kay pays special attention to the individuals who are more isolated, or without family living locally. Kay goes above and beyond supporting those blind or with low vision to be able to belong and have happier lives.

Chrys Cabraal



Chrys is a mentor at Mentor Ed.

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. She has also helped with Breakfast Club and fundraising for the Trust. Her dedication to the Trust and the tamariki is outstanding.

Eleanor Ranson

Age Concern PN


Eleanor volunteers as a Peer Support Leader.

Eleanor creates joy for those around her due to her warm personality and enthusiasm. Eleanor's work managing the finances ensures the group not only covers expenses but also donates to the community. It allows them to celebrate in style for the end of year closing. Eleanor creates special moments and memories.

Roland Riddell

Digits Charitable Trust

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Roland volunteers at Digits as a digital family’s tutor.

Roland's work enables online learning and education for children. He teaches families how to safely use the internet and how to benefit from the digital tools available (e.g. email, job seeking, internet banking, etc). Roland makes a difference in people's lives by helping them becoming digitally included. He does it with a smile on his face, kindness, and an amazing personality. Roland goes above and beyond.

Kathy Simpson

St Matthews Church

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Kathy is the founder and coordinator of Starlight at St. Matthew’s Church.

Kathy "has absolutely made it her life’s work to care for the vulnerable and the marginalized in our society. She overcame many adversities, and this coupled with her strong sense of faith is what fuel’s her to try and make life better for others." Starlights aim is to bring joy and hope to mental health patients and others wanting people to know their community cares about them, Kathy’s works helps to make this possible.

Rebbeca Driessen

Manawatū Toy Library


Rebecca volunteers as a coordinator.

Rebecca is a gift and hides her light under a bushel! She is kind, caring, and always ready to help. Her humility camouflages her unique ability to teach and lead a small team of other volunteers. Rebecca draws on her skills from previous employment, she utilises her talents for the benefit of the organization to help them move forward in their next chapter.

Kathy Patrick

English Language Partners

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Kathy is a home tutor at English Language Partners PN.

Volunteer home tutoring is not only about learning English. Kathy has gone the extra mile for her learner and his family by helping them with housing issues and general day-to-day living. The work tutors do opens doors. Kathy's student was able to successfully integrate into his working environment due to his progress with his english.

Tracey Sullivan

Supergrans Manawatū

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Tracey volunteers at SuperGrans as a mentor.

Tracey is a passionate, reliable, and skilled volunteer. She mentors without judgement and welcomes everyone with the willingness to learn. Tracey has initiative, resolves any problems she encounters and can be relied upon to mentor without need for guidance. Tracey is hands-on and is always thinking ahead.

Jocelyn Goodman



Jocelyn is a mentor at Mentor Ed.

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 has helped raise the profile of the Trust in the Palmerston North Community and is an outstanding member of our Team.

Suzanne Pedersen

MASH Trust


Suzanne is a friendship buddy at MASH Trust.

Suzanne was described as one in a million. Her volunteer work makes a difference in the life of her buddy. She had to learn new skills and embrace new challenges just to be able to communicate with him. Her dedication has paid off, they built a strong relationship. Now her buddy has someone who understands and respects him. Suzanne brings joy and happiness to his life.

Chuda Ghimire

Manawatū Multicultural Council

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Chuda volunteers as a refugee supporter.

Chuda's work as a Former Refugee Supporter makes a real difference in people's life. He enables others to have access to information through his work as a translator. But it is so much more than that, Chuda allows them to be connected, to be included. Language and cultural barriers are the main difficulties when arriving in a new country, therefore, Chuda's contribution is so important and valued. He supports people to navigate their new lives.

Jeremy Parry

Manawatū Tenents Union

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Jeremy is a data entry volunteer 

Jeremy exceeds expectations and goes above and beyond. He became a role model for youth engagement in volunteering and community development. Jeremy applies his knowledge and makes recommendations on how to improve processes. Due to Jeremy's hard work and commitment to the organisation's kaupapa, clients are offered a faster service and improved data practices.

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. 


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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.

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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!

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