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New Zealand’s Volunteer Agency Announces New Te Tumu Whakarae - CEO

Today Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading international volunteer development agency Volunteer Service Abroad - Te Tūao Tāwāhi (VSA) announces its new Te Tumu Whakarae CEO, Kate Wareham.

Kate leaves as Deputy Chief Executive Organisational Capability and Service, Te Tari Taiwhenua -Department Internal Affairs to take on the role as Te Tumu Whakarae CEO, Volunteer Service Abroad on 1 August 2022, following the retirement of Stephen Goodman MNZM after almost five years of leadership.

The kaupapa of volunteering runs strong in Kate, who has had a personal and professional life in this sector and loves the direct impact that NGOs can create. Kate will ensure VSA maintains a manaaki tangata kaupapa at our heart.

Through her Te Tari Taiwhenua work Kate brings a strong focus on organisational excellence and extraordinary partnerships. She was previously Chief Operating Officer at the Human Rights Commission and has worked across the public sector at the Social Investment Agency, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Ministry of Social Development as well as leadership roles in the private sector and Chair of NGO Water Safety NZ.

"Volunteer Service Abroad - Te Tūao Tāwāhi (VSA) has a significant history of working with people across the Pacific region and a track record of positive impact for communities, government, and business sectors. This strong foundation allows us to build and partner with people across the region to support their unique environmental, social, economic goals", says Kate. "Now more than ever we see significant need as the pandemic and border closures create both challenges and new opportunities for communities. We are fortunate to have support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as our major funder and I look forward to my role leading an international volunteer development agency with an exceptional reputation in the region."

VSA Chair, Hone McGregor is impressed with Kate’s inclusive approach and positive about her ability to grow the agency as a bicultural organisation, working in a Pacific environment, "Kate always uses "we" when she talks about her teamwork and brings a strong commitment to transformation through a Te Ao Māori lens and Te Tiriti o Waitangi-focus model, which she helped usher in at the Human Rights Commission."

The NGO was formed in September 1962 and its first volunteers left Aotearoa shores in July 1963. Its celebrations begin this year and Mr McGregor is excited to have Kate lead it into our 60th year, and into its future.

VSA was able to use its remote volunteering programme to continue to connect volunteers from Aotearoa and assist its partners overseas while borders were closed, and in May last year sent its first volunteers back out to Cook Islands and Vanuatu. It has also successfully worked with local Kiwis and residents in Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Kiribati to offer key education, business, and health administrative services.

Volunteer Service Abroad - Te Tūao Tāwāhi operates across the Pacific and has offices in Timor-Leste, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Tonga, and Aotearoa. It sends volunteers to Kiribati, Fiji, other Pacific Islands, and Cambodia.

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