Volunteering Bay of Plenty’s inaugural Volfest event took place on Friday 25th June 2021 at Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga – coinciding with National Volunteer Week in New Zealand.

Volfest showcased our Volunteers and the significant effort that the Volunteering Sector contributes to the community and the annual GDP (over NZ$4 billion!).

Over 40 Volunteer Engaging Organisations exhibited at Volfest, ranging from conservation and art organisations to emergency services and sporting groups. It provided a great way to share their Organisation’s story with a group of engaged people. It also allowed us to share stories through our social media channels at the event – reaching an even wider audience.

On the day, Volunteers seeking opportunities and Volunteer Engaging Organisations seeking Volunteers to fulfil their missions were able to connect.

People were also able to attend three-panel discussions. Given the event’s hybrid nature, these panels were live-streamed on YouTube. You can access these discussions here:

At the evening Cocktail session, Organisations, Volunteers, Funders, Sponsors and Supporters were invited to mingle and network.

Tony Snow, Chair of Volbop’s Board of Trustees, welcomed guests and introduced Volbop’s CEO, Vanessa Lister. Vanessa shared the new Vision, Mission and a renewed commitment to Volbop’s Purpose.

Vanessa shared Volbop’s 3-year Business Strategy underpinned by the new Strategic Framework of ‘Connecting, Advocating, Protecting and Educating (CAPE)’. This acronym was adopted because Volunteers are heroes, and every hero needs a CAPE! To this end, Volbop’s mission to re-position Volfest as the brand that will drive a series of events throughout the year, (supporting and serving our communities), was well received. In addition to continuing with connecting Volunteers to the Organisations who need them, Volbop will partner with local organisations to deliver relevant training, advocacy and consulting services – connecting communities and enabling volunteering excellence.

The highlight of the evening was an awards ceremony, where several Volunteers were recognised and applauded for their outstanding contributions to their Organisations and the community.

We want to give a big thank-you to the exhibitors, panellists, sponsors and everyone who participated and made this event possible. Big shout out to Sursum Group and the Volbop team who worked together tirelessly to manage and deliver the event in less than 7 weeks.

Volfest was an excellent opportunity to showcase the many benefits that Volunteering brings to the individual, society, the environment, and the economy. Our Vision to see connected, vibrant communities actively engaged in Volunteering inspires us every day.