Otumoetai man Alan Plunkett is the new chairman of the Tauranga Community Foodbank. We wanted to find out a bit more about the man who has signed up for the unpaid position to help look after some of the city's less fortunate.

1 Describe yourself in three words.

People , sociable, humorous.

2 What's behind your motivation to help out others?


I'm retired and as with retired people, you have time on your hands and I'm very happy to help out and this suits me.

3 How do you think Tauranga residents would best know you?

I've been in the community over the years, particularly with the Commercial Travellers' Club when it was alive and well. I was also spokesperson for the motel association about 16 years ago. Basically I get around the clubs. I'm a life member of the New Zealand Motel Association and I'm out and about with my wife [Sharon] who teaches at primary schools [in Matua, Pillans Point, Bellevue, St Mary's Catholic School].

4 What other goodwill/charity organisations have you been involved in?

I've done my time on PPTAs and school committees but this is the first charity I've really got involved with.

5 What do you think is the biggest misconception of Tauranga and Tauranga people?

Is that they want to keep Tauranga to themselves and not let others in. That they're selfish to some degree.

6 Describe the moment you decided to become the foodbank chair and why?

Basically I was nominated. I was on the trust at the time ... they wanted some people skills, which I'm not afraid to say I have, and that was it.

7 What's your favourite budget-friendly meal?

Mince on rice.

8 On the flipside, what's your favourite treat?

My wife's chocolate cake.

9 What do you think will be your biggest challenge as chairman in the year to come?

The biggest challenge is continuing to keep it running. The Bay of Plenty Times has lifted the profile here quite immensely and we must keep that up. There's a lot of pride involved with the people who come in. It's not their fault. We just have to keep smiling, look after them and carry on.

10 In your opinion, what's the best suburb in Tauranga and why?

I live in Otumoetai and I'm very happy about it. It's very well served, handy to town and handy to supermarkets - basically it's central.