National Volunteer Week

Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu is a time to honour the collective energies and mana of all volunteers in Aotearoa. At Govett Quilliam, we have been reflecting on what we know to be true – we are community people, and our culture is deeply rooted in giving back.  

With over 50 team members, our people are known to contribute significantly to the Taranaki community. Mostly, it’s in our own time, over many years, and it’s the positive impacts that keep us contributing.

Everything from governance boards, Not-For-Profit organisations, youth schemes, community initiatives, to sporting, school and business groups. In Taranaki, we are involved with Women’s Refuge, Big Brother’s Big Sister’s, Citizen’s Advice, Sport Taranaki, Chamber of Commerce, and many of the schools around the mountain.

The theme of this year’s Volunteer Week is 'Recognise. Connect. Reimagine'. This week, we are sharing some volunteer stories and insights from GQ team members to celebrate the contributions of volunteers to our communities, and help inspire future volunteers.


Sophie Braggins - Taranaki Women's Refuge

Sophie -VolunteerCEO Sophie Braggins has been a Trustee of Taranaki Women’s Refuge, an independent community organisation, for over 3 years. The reality of women and children living in fear in their relationship or family, was a cause that Sophie wanted to contribute her voice and energy to – through governance, fundraising and business expertise.

A meaningful moment from your volunteering experience?
I’m very mindful and privileged that I have not experienced family violence in my life. The scenarios are heart-breaking. But, the stories of people changing their lives as an outcome of the support, are humbling.

The most meaningful learning from my volunteer experience has been the diversity of people, perspectives and cultures that have informed and broadened the way I look at the world.

What does volunteering mean to you?
Amongst a busy work and family life, the opportunity to help strengthen our community, use my skills, and to make a real and positive impact, is worth the time investment.

Rochelle Farmer - Sport Taranaki

Rochelle-VolunteerAssociate Rochelle Farmer sits on the Sport Taranaki board and also serves on their Audit and Risk Committee. Rochelle is passionate about the role of sport and exercise in the development of young people and building healthy communities.

A meaningful moment from your volunteering experience?
Being part of the discussion around the future of sport and active recreation. A group of brilliant people are currently looking at how sport and recreation can be transformed to be better and involve more people in our community so more of us are living healthy, active lives. Its great to get to play a very small part in this important work.

What does volunteering mean to you?
It’s important for each of us to look beyond our own lives. Volunteering is a great opportunity to give back to the community and do something about the change you want to see.

Miaana Patene - Priscilla Sandys Wunsch Trust & Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Mianna-Volunteer

Associate Miaana Patene is a Trustee of the Priscilla Sandys Wunsch (PSW) Trust, the Te Tai Hauāuru regional co-representative for the Māori Law Society (Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa), a trustee of He Toronga Pakihi ki Taranaki (the Taranaki Māori Business Network) and a Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor.

Meaningful moments from your volunteering experience?
It has been extremely rewarding being able to help students facing hardship in Taranaki to pursue their aspirations to attend Otago University. Miss Priscilla Sandys Wunsch died in 2000 leaving a legacy to establish a testamentary trust to assist Taranaki students to attend Otago University in recognition of the years she herself spent studying at Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1945. Priscilla wished to give Taranaki students who needed financial assistance the opportunity to study for a degree at Otago University. The Trust has now supported several hundred students to attend Otago University and to obtain undergraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines.

My husband and I have been mentors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Programme for about 3 years now. Being matched with our little brother has been a life changing and truly rewarding experience. We could not imagine our lives without our little brother in it. He reminds us to be present, not to take ourselves too seriously and to always have fun along the way. We look forward to seeing his happy grin and hearing about his latest adventures each time we catch up with our little brother.

What does volunteering mean to you?
Volunteering to me is about finding something that you are passionate about, adding real value to a kaupapa or an organisation and giving back to your community.

Rhiannon Stannard - Big Brothers, Big Sisters & Taranaki Women's Refuge

Rhiannon-VolunteerAs an active member of the Taranaki Community, Family Lawyer Rhiannon Stannard is involved as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers for the Citizens Advice Bureau and is on the board of the Taranaki Women's Refuge.

A meaningful moment from your volunteering experience? 
It has been an incredible and rewarding experience to see my mentee grow in confidence since we were matched as Big Sister and Little Sister. Her huge, proud smile at every accomplishment, which has included swimming in the deep end at the pool, reaching the top of the rock climbing wall, and using chopsticks, has shown me how such a small amount of effort has ballooned out to have a huge effect on my mentees life.

Simply being a role model for my little person a few hours a week has made all the difference to both of us as we continue to learn from each other and form a lifelong friendship.

I often see people at their most vulnerable after suffering family violence in my work as a family lawyer, where we provide crisis management to protect those in need. Being able work behind the scenes by providing personal insight to help prevent and minimise family violence is incredibly rewarding and essential work that I am heartened to contribute to as a board member of the Taranaki Women's Refuge.

What does volunteering mean to you?
I see volunteering as a commitment to give my time and effort to support and connect with others in an effort to progress areas that I am passionate about. It is a social responsibility that I undertake for the betterment of my community and to provide hope for progress and change for those in need.


We are unashamedly proud of our collective strong sense of social responsibility, and our motivation to share our stories is to inspire others who have the capacity in their lives, to get involved however they can.

Some organisations need people, like lawyers and accountants, with very specific expertise. Some require prudent governance skills, or fundraising support, or simply more hands on deck to get a project done.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can find a volunteer role that suits you at Volunteering New Plymouth.

Have a look at who we support here.