Volunteer spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

Professionals providing outstanding support to PMINZ


Talking to Rhys Watson

It was refreshing to hear Rhys Watson’s frank opinions about the project management priorities for small business in New Zealand, which makes up 97% (487,602) of all enterprises. He has extensive experience working in this sector, and is currently the Director of Minerva Pro, a private business education consultancy. Rhys describes how there is a lack of opportunity for managers to get exposure to governance in New Zealand. Partly it is the nature of the owner/operator business structures, where people are spending all their time providing the service and completing compliance requirements, so not taking time for training or upskilling outside of their area of expertise.

Another challenge is taking on a new employee; “taking on someone new is a big transition”, while maintaining the usual services and ongoing expenses until the new person is contributing to the daily running of the business. If there is a misunderstanding or dispute, many business owners do not have modern resources that explain a way through, or even better, prevent these things happening too often.

There are some small business relief packages currently being offered to counter the effect of the Covid-19, and political parties are all ears for new ideas to appeal to the pivotal small business constituency before the next election. Upfront advice for small business owners in the current climate; Rhys recommends avoiding the trap of style over substance, instead, just “keep to the basics”.

Rhys Watson has volunteered with PMINZ for many years.

Written by Elisabeth Auchinvole, March 2020.


PMINZ Volunteer of the Year 2019 recipient – Michael Hawker 

The following was written by a former member of the Certification Preparation Network run by Michael.

Michael has been the Manawatu-Whanganui sub-branch Certification Preparation Networking (CPN) programme facilitator since 2015. He developed the training materials and provides one-on-one assistance. During this time, he identified and visited many local  employers, encouraging certification participation and PMI membership. His candidate pass rate for PMI exams has been approximately 85%. He is also actively engaged with the wider sub-branch activities.
Michael’s CPN study group runs twice a year – February to June and August to December. He facilitates two groups per week, one held in Feilding and the other in Levin. Catch-up sessions are held for particpants who have missed the study group.
Recognising that 80% of CPN participants sit CAPM without a lot of prior exposure to project management, Michael has developed a collection of supplementary learning material, such as case studies, to aid the learning process. In addition, in early 2018, Michael updated his collection of PMP and CAPM mock exams and weekly quizzes to accommodate PMBOK V6 changes.
Michael harnesses a sense of community and support within his CPN study groups. As well as an increased understanding of the PMI subject matter, the particpants also emerge from the programme of learning with a new-found support base from their fellow particpants, and a heightened appreciation for the project management world.
As a strong advocate for the distinction of PMI qualifications, Michael visits organisations and individuals to promote PMI and recruit CPN participants for each study group semester. His focus has been developing regional supply chains that speak a common project management language as a result of the CPN. He is also currently working with the local polytech UCOL to facilitate industry placements for students, as well as CAPM certifications.
Michael was a finalist for the 2017 and 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award, and won the 2019 Award. In 2018 he was awarded the PMINZ President's Award.


PMINZ Quest Apartment Hotels Volunteer of the Year Award 2018 winner – Tania Cotter

title358811573This award recognises and honours a PMINZ member who has made a voluntary and significant contribution to the Project Management Institute and the project management profession.

At national level and in the Central Branch Tania Cotter has worked tirelessly to add much needed structure and bring new ideas to chapter communications strategies and processes in an increasingly digital world.

A finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category in 2016 and 2017, Tania was also one of three recipients of the inaugural PMINZ President's Award in 2016 which recognises exceptional contributions by volunteers. 

Tania started volunteering for PMINZ at the beginning of 2015, offering her services in event management and communications to the Wellington conference team. Since 2016 she has held the roles of Central Branch Communications as well as National Lead for PMINZ Communications. Tania says “I’m always thinking about what’s in it for the members and potential members?”

Tania is the content manager of the PMINZ website, writes and sends out the monthly Central Branch and the national PMIMZ newsletters each month, and sends out PMINZ announcements and the event invitations for the sub-branches. She managed the membership survey in 2017,  developed the PMINZ Style Guide, the website content management plan, and social media strategy.

In 2019, after three years as PMINZ Communications Lead, Tania resigned from national durties so that she could pursue other volunteer opportunities. She is still an actve member of the PMINZ Wellington volunteer team. 

updated January 2019



PMINZ Quest Apartment Hotels Volunteer of the Year Award 2017 winner – Lindsay Addie

Lindsay-AddieLindsay received four nominations for this award. He is a strong and willing supporter of PMINZ, undertaking not-so-exciting, but paramount stuff such as by-laws, volunteer coordinator and PMI Director Elections. Lindsay continues to be active in his volunteering roles for PMI. These include Promapp Lead, South Island Branch Volunteer Coordinator,  Review Committee member, a participant on the Constitution review, Nominating Committee Convenor for the new PMINZ Directors election, and the PMINZ operational overhaul known as Project Spring Clean. In recognition, Lindsay won the  2016 PMINZ President’s Award.

 Read about Lindsay's contribution to PMI.


Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Brian Belworthy, Central Branch

Volunteer of the Year 2015 – Mike Roberts, South Island Branch
Mike is the current PMINZ Christchurch Branch Certification Preparation Network (CPN) coordinator. He is known for his energy, availability, responsiveness, and untiring efforts. His commitment to the chapter is valued at a branch level, but also by the many participants in the CPN programme and who are now certified project management professionals. He is the archetypal volunteer and should be encouraged to continue contributing to PMI at a local, national and international level.

Volunteer of the Year 2014 – Tattianna Picoaga, Northern Branch
Tattianna displays great commitment by her involvement in four roles: PMINZ Northern Branch Volunteer Coordinator, PMINZ Auckland Sub-branch Coordinator, PMINZ Relationship Director and as "Project Spring Clean" Project Manager. Holding multiple roles does not make a Volunteer of the year but delivering high quality, improvements and tireless efforts do.

Volunteer of the Year 2013 – Tracy Couchman, Central Branch. In early 2012 Tracy Couchman took the initiative to set up a local PMINZ Sub-branch for the Wanganui Manawatu regions. Tracy demonstrated strong leadership skills in rapidly organising local sponsorship and a regular schedule of sub-branch meeting, attracting top speakers. The success of the Whanganui-Manawatu PMINZ sub-branch would not have been possible without Tracy's commitment, drive and energy.

Volunteer of the Year 2012 – Patricia Jennings, Central Branch. Tricia has been an active and valued member of the Central Branch committee since 2009. Most recently Tricia has coordinated the very successful Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) seminars over the past 2 years, during which time 11 seminars have been held, educating 90 attendees about ILM principles and generally advancing the profession of project management in NZ. She has given many hours of volunteer effort to coordinate these sessions, and integrate with the State Services Commission and a Melbourne provider. This is on top of her attending monthly branch meetings and other committee activities/responsibilities. The seminars generated a surplus for PMINZ of more than $30,000, that will be used to further the profession and practice of project management in NZ. Tricia's contribution has ensured our members receive access to discounted quality courses and has promoted the PMI brand and PMI New Zealand to people who are not yet PMI members but work in Project Management.

Volunteer of the Year 2011 – Jerry Ball, Central Branch. Jerry Ball is a Fellow of PMINZ and has been acknowledged for his energy and commitment to the chapter. He has been appointed Director at Large for the chapter, a position which was created for him due to his wish to volunteer at both strategic and operational levels for the chapter. In completing his volunteering activities Ball not only shares his knowledge and wisdom of the project management profession with others, but also acts as a mentor.

Volunteer of the Year 2010 – Caroline Donovan, Central Branch. Caroline has been an active member of the Central Branch Committee throughout 2009 and 2010 as the Professional Development Coordinator. Caroline is a professional educator and has brought a wealth of knowledge and maturity to the activities of PMINZ in this area. In 2009, Caroline managed the transition from PMBOK V3 to PMBOK V4, including the restructure and revision of Study Group material to reflect the change and arranging seminars to explain and promote the new standard . She Set up a library of study resources and making it available to members, and "raised the bar" in terms of the professionalism of the delivery of the Wellington based Study Group Sessions. During 2010, Caroline has extended the PMINZ capability, in terms of Professional Development, by establishing a pilot programme for mentoring in the Wellington Region. This has involved matching project management professionals, with relevant knowledge and experience, to PMINZ members who are seeking to benefit from some guidance and mentoring.


Volunteer ProfileS 


Bob Peacocke, PMP, and 
25-year PMINZ veteran retires

Bob-PeacockeBob is a founding member of PMINZ, being only the third person to join the New Zealand Chapter, in September 1993. Based in the Waikato district Bob has provided PMINZ over 25 years' service as an active member and volunteer.
After a lifetime’s career in engineering and construction, including some overseas work and more recently consulting, Bob completed his Project Management Professional (PMP) certifiation in 2011. Known for his willingness to take on a challenge, Bob’s latest project has been managing the one million dollar restoration of the historic St Mary’s Chapel in Hamilton, of which Bob is also a trustee.

Bob has been happy to help at branch meetings in any capacity and has held various Waikato Sub-branch committee positions over the years. He is on record as one of the most attended members to our events and, although he has attempted to retire as a volunteer several times, we always managed to convince him to come back; however, he says he is definitely retiring this time.

Waikato sub-branch volunteer, Sheryl Morgan says, “We hope Bob will still drop into the occasional meeting or event. We wish to recognise Bob’s contributions and thank him for everything he has done for PMINZ and the profession. We wish Bob a long and productive retirement.”

 loaded 21 November 2017



 Iain Fraser joined PMI in 1994 and a year later was the founding member of PMINZ.  Iain is well known within the global project management profession, as well as in New Zealand, and is a loyal and supportive member and volunteer of PMINZ. Read more about Iain in below files: