In between Sandra Terewi's busy working schedule at CLAW Whanganui, she voluntarily chairs Whanganui Safe and Free and Whanganui's Mental Health and Wellbeing, and is the president of Prisoners Aid Whanganui.

She is also a member of the executive of the Justice of the Peace Association and the chairwoman of Volunteer Whanganui for which, this month, her efforts have been recognised.

Terewi was awarded Volunteer of the Month on Friday and presented with a certificate, a volunteer logo pin and a $40 voucher from Mud Ducks cafe by Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey.

Rickey said what stood out to her was Terewi's 25 years of volunteering and the commitment she has put into governance work while running and belonging to a number of boards.


"It's very important to have great board members on the board, people with a high skill-base because it helps with the effectiveness of the board and the ability for the organisation to go and succeed," Rickey said.

Terewi has a background in criminology, once being a prison officer alongside working in rest homes with the elderly with Alzheimer's disease.

She has previously been the president of the National Prisoners Aid and volunteered nine years as the chairwoman of the National Community Organisation Grant Scheme.

"Why I'm on so many committees, we just don't have the people who will give up their time to come on to boards and it is difficult because you spread yourself thin," Terewi said.

People think to be a Justice of the Peace is great fun but it is really laborious, she said.

"I'm an issuing officer of section nine mental health, so if somebody's going to be put under the Act they need a JP there to make sure they understand so I get called out at different times."

With having to juggle multiple boards, she said she was lucky in her role as manager at Community Legal Advice Whanganui. She is able to do some of her governance and management work, such as writing constitutions, while at work as a lot of it overlaps with her paid work.

She believes having a good manager is pivotal to making a board and an organisation run smoothly.


"Thinking about me and my paid work, I'm one of those managers that I have got a board to answer to so there is making sure there's always good management and a good relationship between management and board."

Terewi said she is very proud of Whanganui Safe and Free.

Volunteer Whanganui signs up Christine Faulls as its 1000th registered volunteer

"It's grown a lot and all the work that the staff do is phenomenal."

And she has no intention of stepping down just yet.

"Someone said to me why haven't you given up work, but what am I going to do all day long?"


Volunteer of the Month began in May 2018 and is awarded to one volunteer, once a month.

Whanganui currently has the highest rate of volunteers per capita in New Zealand with 1052.