Meet the Volunteering NP Team


About our manager image Marie Riordan - Manager

Marie previously worked for U-Turn Community Training Services for 23 years where she helped to transition people into employment or those returning to the workforce, and has always promoted volunteering as a great way to give back to the community, while gaining new skills and meeting people.

She was a Volunteer Trustee for the original Umbrella Trust, Taranaki Employment and Support Foundation Trust, for 16 years, Instrumental in obtaining the WITT contract for Taranaki Computer Access Centre Trust and also support to the Treasurer and being Deputy Chair, before being employed as Manager of Volunteering New Plymouth.

She enjoys working with people from her various network and continues to expand on those - and offers a caring professional service to the wider community.


Wendy Wendy Richards - Administrator

Wendy started with Volunteering New Plymouth in February 2018 as a Volunteer Administrator working a few hours a week.

After a few weeks, she was offered a 6 month paid Administration position for a new website project, She worked out and fitted in  so well her contract was extended

Once the website went live, there was a need to have someone on a permanent basis, so Wendy’s contract was once again extended to be a permanent Staff member. Wendy has a variety of admin tasks to get through each day including updating the website and database, data matching registered volunteers to roles that Organisations have listed. As well as maintaining Xero and supporting the Manager with tasks for VNP events like  Volunteer Recognition Awards, School event support , Special Children’s Extravaganza Student volunteering and preparing for Project events and Training sessions and our Terminal Loan summaries.

So as you can see, if you volunteer, there is always a possibility of becoming a permanent staff member.




Elaine Gill 

Elaine has been in New Plymouth for 50 years and involved with 50 trusts, committees, forums and advisory groups during that time.

As founding member and Chair of the Taranaki Employment & Support Foundation Trust, she was the driving force behind the success of the trust, holding a number of roles within it.

This trust was also the supporting umbrella for a number of community focussed projects which included:

Assisting jobseekers over the age of 40 with the Ministry of Social Development Agreement – Experienced Express

Providing support and educational workshops for migrants for a Department of Labour agreement – Settlement Support

Helping young unemployed people in Waitara with work experiences within community organisations – Taranaki Connections - just to name a few.

There are several other projects within the Trust that Elaine has played a key role in bringing to the region including Volunteering New Plymouth, Taranaki Computer Access Centre Trust, and Dress for Success.

Prior to her retirement Elaine set up three independent Trusts for the Projects and Chaired these until a new committee was settled.  She is currently the Patron of Volunteering New Plymouth and works with the Manager as Mentor and on projects. She may have retired however she is still actively involved in support of several community organisations.

Elaine was also New Plymouth District Councillor for 9 years

TSB Community Trust Chair of the Board of Directors 16 years

Justice of the Peace 15 years

Elaine’s wealth of knowledge, understanding and empathy for the Taranaki community has led her to be a significant innovator and promoter for Taranaki as a whole. 

Among other accolades in 1998 Elaine was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, in 2016 received a Kiwi Bank Local Hero Award and was a finalist for Senior NZer of the Year the New Zealander of the Year Awards and in 2017 a finalist in the Inspirational Women Award.

Trust Members

Eileen 2

Eileen Kiffin - Chair / Trustee

Eileen started with the umbrella trust Taranaki Employment & Support Foundation Trust in 2003. This trust had several projects which included Settlement Support, Experienced Express, Taranaki Computer Access Centre, Dress for Success and Volunteering New Plymouth. Each Board member was allocated a project responsibility and Eileen over the years has been responsible for several different ones. In 2015 the Trusts were separated and Eileen chose Volunteering New Plymouth and is Chair and signatory.

She is always available to support any events happening and is available to mentor and guide the Manager and staff.

She supports the redistribution of slow moving goods from one Op shop to others thus avoiding the dumping of these goods and supporting both shops. She has also taken donated clothes that were deemed not suitable work wear and cleaned and sorted and redistributed to Op shops in accordance with the type of clothing sold in that store.

Margaret Margaret McCall - Deputy Chair / Trustee

Margaret has a real and active interest in people getting the most possible out of their lives whatever their situation.  Volunteering has always been a part of her non-paid work life; initially as a leader of Guides and Brownies in the UK and more recently housekeeping at Hospice Taranaki and helping at Church Café and Music Groups. Margaret’s involvement in past years on the Boards of Taranaki Employment Support Foundation, Dress for Success, Experience Express and continuing with Volunteering New Plymouth and Positive Ageing Taranaki have all brought an appreciation of the need for such organizations to support and encourage people in a huge variety of ways. 

During her career as a secondary teacher in the Commerce, Careers and Transition Departments at New Plymouth Girls’ High School for 20 years and as a Career Consultant with Careers New Zealand for 10 years she was able to develop, put into action and support a variety of initiatives to focus on an individual’s ability to access opportunities for future personal development and progress. Active in golf and choral singing for many years, Margaret has often undertaken Secretary, Committee, Board, Captain and Chair roles.   Volunteering New Plymouth Board membership enables her to share her interest, knowledge and background experiences with like-minded people.


LeAnne Blakelock - Treasurer / Trustee

LeAnne is an Inglewood Accountant.  She is also busy working on her and her partner Ian’s farm.  LeAnne was born in Taranaki and studied accounting at Victoria University, Wellington.  LeAnne, while a valued member of Inglewood Rotary Club, has many other voluntary tasks she performs on her own and not part of any organisation.

She tirelessly devotes her time to support people who have found themselves in need, be it someone to talk to, someone to advise, someone to help with everyday chores as well as being able to connect people with the correct organisations and see them through what can be a very daunting process.

A big part of LeAnne’s voluntary work is supplying meals and groceries to people who have fallen on hard times.  When LeAnne sees someone in need she supports them wholeheartedly and without judgment and question.

LeAnne is a doer.  She gets stuck in and will not back away until she has found a positive solution.  She has the ability to recognise a cause or need and is able to encourage others to follow and help.

LeAnne is like an Eveready battery, she does not stop until the job is done.

Mary Ford

Mary Ford - Volunteer Minute Taker

Currently I am working in a 4 Doctor GP practice close to the town centre of New Plymouth as the Manager. 

I am also involved with the Taranaki branch of the Practice Managers and Administrators of NZ (PMAANZ).

Outside of work I am the mother of 2 teenage boys and a foster mother to 3 kittens (this changes on a regular basis) for the Taranaki Animal Protection Trust, with 3 cats & a dog as well. 

Up to last year I also volunteered for the local athletics club and Taranaki Computer Access Centre Trust.

Marie profile flip   Marie Riordan - Manager/Staff Representative


 Current Office Volunteers

 Jenny Henderson

 Maeghan Boshier

 Emma Silson


 Event Volunteers

 Stephen Bracegirdle

 Sid Hardy

 Kevin Whittaker

 Yvonne Read

 Margaret Drummond