Shining a light on volunteer trio

Tauranga’s Scotty Harvey doesn’t sit behind a desk to talk to clients. Photo: supplied.

Three Western Bay of Plenty residents who selflessly give their time for the betterment of others are being recognised by Volunteering Services Bay of Plenty.

With Volunteer Week celebrated in June, VSBOP has shone a light on “three incredible individuals” – Tauranga’s Scotty Harvey, Katikati’s John Bothwell, and Maketū's Rubirose Russell.


Scotty is a social worker who doesn’t sit behind a desk to talk to his mental health clients. He’s out on the road every day, parked up to talk to anyone who needs his help through UOKBRO NZ.

The registered social worker began parking up in his sign-written vehicle, and had so many people stopping to talk that now he’s out every day – anywhere from Te Puke to Katikati and Ōmokoroa.

“It’s anything from making a safety plan for wāhine who need to get out of a dangerous domestic violence situation, or young men planning to go home and kill themselves, or nannies worried about their moko, or someone wanting to get off meth.”

His nominee says: “I have no doubt UOK BRO will save someone’s/many people’s lives … And all of his own time and dime. Legend!”


In Katikati, John has a hand in most volunteering activities.

The 74-year-old former pharmacist hasn’t bothered to retire.

John Bothwell has his finer in many volunteering pies in Katikati. Photo: supplied.

He’s president of Katikati Rotary, which ramped up support services such as food deliveries post-Covid. He decided that needed to continue – now Katikati has a weekly community breakfast.

He volunteers as a driver for KaiGo, a food rescue service collecting excess food from local supermarkets.

“It’s distributed to 16 groups from marae and church groups to foodbanks to ensure it goes to those who need it.”

He chairs the Emergency Response Group in Katikati, looks after a welfare hub at the Baptist Church, volunteers with group Wise and Wonderful, and chairs Katikati Community-led Development Steering Committee, which is youth-focused and works with the Department of Internal Affairs.

John’s nominees say he “goes above and beyond to make sure this community initiative runs every week”. “Nothing is too hard for him. He cares for our community and is great at welcoming people.”


Maketū's 14-year-old Rubirose Russell is recognised for making resources for tamariki at an early childhood centre. Mother Miria Pederesen, an ECE teacher at Maketū Kidettes, says Rubirose does everything from building kitset furniture, making poi, crocheting items to go with stories to creating awesome centerpieces, “like a tree in the middle of our centre made out of recyclable supermarket bags”.

Maketū 14-year-old Rubirose Russell helps tamariki at an ECE using her artistic skills. Photo: supplied.

“When some resources need a spruce-up she’ll take them home, sand them back and repaint them. She’s such an asset to have and our team would love to show how much we appreciate all she does.”

When Rubirose began home schooling she had a desk set up in the centre’s office for her work, but also started helping out.

“I like doing a bit of everything, but mostly painting and I’m here every day anyway. I hope to train as an ECE teacher so my mum and I can also be work besties.”

VSBOP manager Angela Wallace says, “It’s great to see the next generation of leaders emerging, showing up for their communities as volunteers and changemakers”.

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