About Us

Our Mission Statement

Volunteer South seeks to celebrate, support, highlight and motivate volunteering in the Otago community organisations that rely on volunteers by connecting them with people who are willing to offer their skills and energy. We provide training, advice, advocacy, resources and recognition for individuals and community organisations involved in volunteering.

Our Vision

Supportive interdependent communities where volunteering is recognised and respected, is life-enhancing for the individual, and advances the common good.

Our Values

Empowerment 

We empower people to achieve rewarding and beneficial volunteering experiences for them and the community. We empower organisations to provide rewarding and beneficial volunteering experiences for people in the community.

Inclusion

We recognise the diversity of volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations and are open to everyone.

Ethics

We act ethically, openly and transparently in all that we do.

Common Good

We work for the common good of the community.

Our Staff

Dunedin

Leisa de Klerk

Leisa de Klerk

Manager

Leisa has been the manager of Volunteering Otago since 2019 and comes to the organisation through a varied background in teaching, peace and conflict and volunteer management. Born in NZ, with South African family, and having lived in India and Korea, Leisa is passionate about diversity, inclusion and community engagement. She is the proud mother of 2 boys, and also works at Methodist Mission Southern and is a national executive member for Pregnancy Help National.

Claire van Loon Sim

Claire van Loon Sim

Supported Volunteering Officer & Volunteer Coordinator

Claire is a kiwi born of English and Dutch heritage. Working in the Health and Disability field since she was a teenager Claire began working with volunteers in the mid 1990’s. Claire is based in Dunedin at Volunteering Otago.

Alan Shanks

Alan Shanks

Funding Manager

I have lived in Dunedin for the last 70 years. Have worked in the legal and banking profession. Voluntary roles have included being a marriage celebrant for 35 years, treasurer for 19 years with the St Johns Taieri Sub Centre. Currently Chairman of the Saddle Hill Foundation Trust and Dunedin Community Mediation Trust. A trustee for Otago Mental Health Support Trust. My business experience included General Manager for the Best Western Shoreline Hotel/Conference Centre. I have a passion for people which is why I give my time to volunteering.

Shirley Pearce

Shirley Pearce

Office Co-ordinator

Shirley has been involved with Volunteering Otago since 2015, first as a volunteer and since 2018 as Office Coordinator.

Graham Patterson

Graham Patterson

Outreach

I have the pleasure of manning a desk for Volunteering Otago every other Wednesday at the main Library. Why don’t you call in and see me and I can help you get connected with some rewarding community based volunteer work where you can meet like-minded and interesting people?

Hugh Newbury

Hugh Newbury

Database Support

I was born in Dunedin and have been volunteering at Volunteering Otago since 2014. Prior to this I had been teaching English in Taiwan for 6 years. I enjoy helping people find volunteer roles.

Jugal Dave

Jugal Dave

Hi, I am Jugal Dave and I have recently joined the Volunteer Otago in 2020 as a Front Office Volunteer. It’s been quite the enjoyable experience to work with a organisation which actively helps volunteers connect with organisation that do good for the community. Hello, my name is Nathan Kearney. I have recently become a volunteer at Volunteer Otago and am having a great time so far. The fact that I get to help both volunteers and volunteer organizations is something I did not know I would enjoy doing even though I am still learning; it has been an experience I will not forget any time soon. I have great support in the office largely thanks to Shirley (the office coordinator) as well as Claire (supported volunteering coordinator) so I do not feel pressured to be perfect.

Casey Lochead

Casey Lochead

Casey is the Migration Volunteer Programme Coordinator for 2020. She has lived in Dunedin since 2009 after growing up in Blenheim. She has qualifications in Psychology and Sociology, has been involved in the union movement, and is passionate about diversity and improving conditions and opportunities for all New Zealanders.

Central Lakes

Gillian White

Gillian White

Senior Project Coordinator

UK born Gillian has worked for Volunteer South Central Lakes since its inception in 2011, juggling work with looking after her two children. She has worked with volunteers for nearly twenty years in a range of roles including full time volunteering, offender programmes and social service settings. Gillian loves working in this vibrant part of the country with such a range of exciting, meaningful and rewarding opportunities for volunteers to get involved in. She is passionate about everyone being able to volunteer no matter what their background, experience or circumstances.

Kirsty Miles

Kirsty Miles

Connections Coordinator

Hey team! My name is Kirsty and I’m really excited to introduce myself as the Connections Coordinator for Volunteering Central! I am a friendly, positive and bubbly Brit who landed in NZ nearly 6 years ago. I have been a keen volunteer since I was a teenager, have worked in a variety of jobs roles in the administration, marketing and education fields and always made the most of where I have lived in the world! Having spent the past 3 years living in Queenstown, my sense of belonging in the community was definitely enhanced when I started voluntarily running the Wakatipu Girl Guides in 2016; which I still love. I have a genuine interest and passion in people and local community so am really excited about using my skills and energy to help develop Volunteering Central and can’t wait to meet you all in due course!

Our Board

Andrew Whiley

Andrew Whiley

Chair

Andrew runs a golf industry consulting business and is involved in event management, golf industry operations and golf tourism. He  is also a Certified Resource Management Act (RMA) Commissioner and a member of the Institute of Directors. Andrew is a Dunedin City Councillor, having been elected to the Dunedin City Council in 2013.  He serves on a number of committees and community boards.

Robyn Bennett

Robyn Bennett

Board Member

Robyn is a health and safety professional who is keen to support Volunteering Otago in the work that it does in the community. Born in Dunedin she sees volunteering as a way to support the city.

Danny Farrington

Danny Farrington

Board Member

Danny is an experienced educational manager and leader, with a strong commitment to driving health and safety excellence through engagement. He has a successful track record in organisational change and performance improvement across a range of industries.

San Ting Gilmartin

San Ting Gilmartin

Board Member

San Ting is a project management professional who lived and worked in New Zealand from 2007 to 2019. She was born in Scotland and studied Manufacturing Engineering at University before moving into the automotive industry in the UK. She has 18 years experience working within both private and public sectors and her most recent roles focused on planning and delivering transformational change to achieve outcomes beyond just financial benefits. San Ting is passionate about supporting organisations in developing a continuous improvement culture and to consider long-term, sustainable practices. San Ting is currently volunteering remotely from her home in Glasgow where she returned to in July 2019. San Ting is a keen hockey player and volunteers whenever she can find time away from her two children and husband!

Vicci Lawrence

Vicci Lawrence

Board Member

Vicci has a long-term association with Queenstown Lakes region having grown up on a sheep farm in Northern Southland, and with family based here. She is the Sales Manager at the Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village, and has worked for Central Lakes Trust as a Grants Manager and for Orphans Aid International based in Queenstown. Prior to that, Vicci had an extended OE, living in London, Dublin and Sydney working in the investment banking sector. Most recently she and her husband Duane lived for twelve years in the Pacific Islands, where Vicci was a project manager for the Australian High Commission in Samoa, and for a regional aid and development organisation based in New Caledonia. Vicci attended boarding school and university in Dunedin.

Vivian Griffiths

Vivian Griffiths

Board Member

Vivian is Dunedin born and bred and is now found up the road practicing law in Queenstown. Graduating from Otago University at the end of 2019, Vivian has been involved with several charitable organisations and volunteering activities on campus. Passionate about community development and encouraging young people to volunteer, Vivian jumped at the opportunity to get involved with Volunteering Otago.