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VSA Farewells President


Volunteer Service Abroad farewells it retiring president of 23 years, Jim Rowe, at its annual congress in Island Bay this weekend [6-7 Nov].

Mr Rowe, an economist and former director general of the Employers Federation, has spent a total of 32 years on VSA's governing council as deputy chair, chair and finally president.

VSA is a non-religious, non-government, not-for-profit international development agency that has been placing New Zealand volunteers in developing countries since 1962. At present there are more than 80 volunteers working in the South Pacific, Asia and Africa.

Mr Rowe says he has always felt that the volunteers and New Zealand as a whole get as much out of VSA's work as the countries to which the volunteers are sent.

"New Zealanders are great tourists, but we can be a very parochial people. We are a small and vulnerable country and it is important that we get out and about," he says.

"VSA provided a chance for young New Zealanders to work overseas doing something other than fighting in a war."

However, Mr Rowe says he fully supports VSA's decision to move from sending school leavers to people with more highly developed technical skills.

Retired Blenheim school principal Gavin Kerr will take over as president following the congress.

VSA CEO Terry Butt says Jim Rowe's experience knowledge and wisdom will be sorely missed. "However, I am confident that Gavin Kerr, who Jim nominated, will ably fill his shoes."

NB. Jim Rowe and Gavin Kerr are both available for interviews.


Contacts: VSA Communications Coordinator Jeremy Rose or

Head of external relations Trevor Richards

Ph 04 472 5759 or Jim Rowe, Ph 06 308 9364


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