National Volunteer Week 2022

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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.  

This week (19-25 June) is Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu / National Volunteer week, a week to honour the collective energies and mana of all volunteers in Aotearoa.

With over 60 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.

In Taranaki, we are involved with Project Reef, Friends of The New Plymouth Opera House, Festival Of Lights, The Scratching Post, Wild For Taranaki, New Plymouth Repertory Theatre, Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association and the LGS Dance Trust. This is just a small list of the huge involvement our team members have in the community. Our team are involved in everything from governance boards, Not-For-Profit organisations, youth schemes, community initiatives, to sporting, school and business groups

The theme of this year’s Volunteer Week is ‘Time to Shine / He wā pīataata.’ Let’s take the time to reflect / whaiwhakaaro on all those who give mahi aroha / volunteer for their communities. It’s a time to recognise and celebrate volunteers, a time to shine / pīataata. It’s Matariki, a new year and a fresh start; a time to dream / moemoeā and make plans for the future.

To celebrate,  we are sharing some volunteer stories and insights from GQ team members to shine a light on the contributions of volunteers to our communities, and to help inspire future volunteers.


Alison Cole - Project Reef

Alison-VolunteerLawyer Alison Cole completed her Advanced Scuba certification to help Project Reef with the maintenance of their deep water camera.

The deep water camera is state of the art technology invented in Hāwera for monitoring marine life and climate impacts.

Project Reef is operating on the outer reef off the coast of Ōhawe.

I support my hapū across our kaitiakitanga efforts. My personal passion is the ocean so I’ve recently put together a volunteer project funded by Curious Minds at Venture Taranaki for our hapū members in partnership with mātauranga Māori marine science expert Professor Kura Paul-Burke. We will be developing a tikanga-based marine mapping, monitoring, and conservation plan. This picks up the great work done around our coast with Project Reef, which you can see currently on exhibition at Puke Ariki.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"As Māori, so much of our life interactions are deeply connected with whānau and supporting the community. Connecting at pā and our marae automatically means we are volunteering our time to our collective wellbeing. In might not be called “volunteering” in that context, but giving our time is a core part of maintaining community, whānau and individual hauora. To me, this is an essential way of life which brings out the best in all of us. To me, volunteering is life".

Peter Rothwell - The Friends of New Plymouth Opera House

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Finance and Technology Manager Peter Rothwell has been involved as a Trustee of  The Friends of New Plymouth Opera House (now known as the TSB Showplace) for 6 years as the Treasurer/Secretary. Also did a few stints helping out at the "Kandy Bar".

Peter has been in love with the arts for years. He has performed in many dance shows over the years and also a couple of Operatic shows, in a former life. Helping out and being part of the customer experience is all part of the magic of these shows.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"With me it’s always about giving back to the community, helping out where I can. A lot of events or activities would not be possible without the support of volunteers".

Maureen Tunnicliff - Festival of Lights 

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Legal Support Maureen Tunnicliff has been involved with the TSB Festival of Lights for over 20 years.

Maureen has been involved in providing information and guidance to people within the park in matters relating to the festival lighting route, special feature installations and performances.

She was mainly based at a Volunteer host table in the Hatchery Lawn area but in 2018 a “Walking Wayfinder” role was introduced. Maureen loves this role as it allows her to roam the festival assisting the public - making them feel welcome - with direction, any questions they might have.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"It provides me with a sense of accomplishment as I am doing something that I feel is worthwhile and valuable for the community. Also gives me a chance to talk to new people and most of all it's fun. I absolutely love our beautiful Pukekura Park and especially when the TSB Festival of Lights are on. Love to showcase the park and lights to people from both New Zealand and overseas".

Fleur Coombe - New Plymouth Repertory Theatre, Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association and LGS Dance Trust

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Registered Legal Executive Fleur Coombe has been involved in the New Plymouth Repertory Theatre, Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association and LGS Dance Trust for a number of years now.

She first got involved in New Plymouth Repertory Theatre at about the age of 16 years after following in my father’s footsteps. She started with assisting backstage with the make up and props departments, graduated to taking on a few roles on stage and then joined the committee around the age of 20. She has directed 7 productions and assisted with many others. Fleur has had many roles from Secretary to Vice President then President (in which she served three terms - 5 years each term). She is now involved as a committee member. 

In 2016 I joined the LGS Dance Trust, and am now the Secretary of the Trust.

In 2018 Fleur joined the Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association Committee and in 2019 was voted on as the President of the organisation. They are a non profit organisation made up of mother’s from different dance studios in New Plymouth and they run two dance competitions each year. All work is voluntary and for the benefit of the dancing community. It requires a huge amount of time and dedication from all involved.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"I am very privileged to be able to volunteer within these organisations all of which benefit the Arts of Taranaki. I am grateful that my family support me and get involved with them as well. It’s a great service to be able to give back to the community and provide opportunities for people to perform in all aspects of the arts".

Lauren Wallace - Wild for Taranaki 

Lauren - Volunteer WeekPartner Lauren Wallace has been a board member of Wild For Taranaki since 2020 and is the chair of the trust's fundraising sub-committee.

Wild for Taranaki is New Zealand’s first regional biodiversity trust supporting more than 45 groups and organisations working to restore, enhance and protect our unique biodiversity in Taranaki.

The Trust’s purpose is to support and coordinate members for better efficiency, grow funding for the sector, and lead the region in a connected vision of thriving Taranaki biodiversity. At Wild for Taranaki we have oversight of what’s happening in the environmental and conservation sector and we’re part of the Department of Conservation Hubs network. We connect the dots between individuals, groups and organisations, whether it be neighbours wanting to plant a nearby reserve, catchment restoration by iwi or businesses wanting to do their bit.

There is a diverse range of environmental projects happening throughout Taranaki and she says its been a truly humbling experience to learn about the work being done by committed volunteers to make a positive difference for our environment, including trapping pests, reintroducing species back into native bush areas, and planting and restoring wetlands, waterways and coastal areas.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"Most lawyers are driven by a desire to help people and volunteering is an extension of that. It allows me to direct my time, energy and skills to projects and causes that I support. It also provides a great opportunity to meet and work with talented and inspiring people who are committed to improving the well-being of others and our environment".

Nola Hall - The Scratching Post

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Administration & Trust Account Support Nola Hall has been involved in The Scratching Post for nearly 10 years.

The Scratching Post is a local contact point where information can be shared about lost & found animals, and those needing to find a new home.

At formation in 2012 Nola was appointed Trustee, a role that continues today. She has always been an animal lover, and being involved in an animal welfare group helping less fortunate animals is something she hold close to her heart.

There are already so many homeless cats living a tough life, so the opportunity to help young orphaned kittens avoid heading to this same lifestyle is very rewarding.

What does volunteering mean to you?
"Being a volunteer means an awful lot to me as animals have no voice if we don’t look out for them. I currently have 4 cats and a large dog and was involved with the SPCA on a volunteer basis until we started the Scratching Post".


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.