Larry Bilodeau – Chair

It’s always bothered Larry that some people aren’t able to feed their families while others have so much – and this is the reason he’s been Chairperson of Tauranga Foodbank since 2018. 

Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada Larry’s first work experience involved balancing on a narrow steel beam several stories up as a high rigger on building sites for his father’s construction company.  

He moved to NZ in 1997 – first to New Plymouth where he manged the Kapuni Urea factory, and then to Tauranga, and to Ballance  Agri-Nutrients, where he was CEO for 14 years.  

Larry is a huge fan of Tauranga’s golf courses, but can be equally entertained by anything ‘outdoorsy’, especially fishing, hunting and tramping. 

Laura Mueller

Laura has been a trustee of Tauranga Foodbank since 2016. Her association started as a volunteer, a role she found extremely rewarding as she was able to interact directly with those people who Foodbank is there to help.   

As a trustee Laura brings skills, acquired through her small business, accounting and governance experience, that assist the Board in ensuring the sustainability of what is a vital service to the Tauranga community.  

Laura has a BA in Psychology and a Juris Doctor degree (Law) and since 1999 sits as a Disputes Tribunal Referee at the Tauranga District Court. She was a lay member of the Medical Council of New Zealand from 2009 – 2019 and, for the last 5 years, the Deputy Chair.  Laura is an elected member of the Board of Consumer NZ. 

Barb Thompson – Treasurer

Barb volunteered at Tauranga Foodbank as part of the Christmas Appeal in both 2018 and 2019, prior to becoming a weekly volunteer in our distribution centre in early 2020. She subsequently joined our Board in May 2021 and serves as our Treasurer.

Barb grew up near Calgary, Canada and, after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, transferred to Bermuda. Originally planning to be in Bermuda for two years, Barb ultimately stayed for 13 years. During that time, she became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and held several progressive roles in the insurance and reinsurance industry, primarily focused on external financial reporting for listed companies.

Barb and her husband David relocated to Tauranga in 2017 and share their home (and couches) with two dogs. They greatly enjoy the Kiwi lifestyle and look for opportunities to give back to the community. In addition to volunteer work, Barb enjoys hitting the gym and a leisurely 9-hole round (quite often with several unplanned visits to trees and frequent attempts to recover from undesirable lies).


Simon Beaton

Simon started as a Foodbank volunteer during Covid lockdown in April 2020, working as a driver to help deliver parcels and collect supplies.  He joined the Board later that year.  

Simon was educated in Scotland, attended St Andrews University and completed a post graduate teaching certificate at London University.  

After 13 years teaching chemistry at an international school in Cyprus, Simon moved to New Zealand with his wife and three young children in 1993. 

 Simon found his talent for explaining complex theory was ideally suited for insurance – so he reinvented himself as a successful insurance, specialising in business insurance. 

After selling his share of his business in 2012, Simon joined his wife running a tourism company specialising in educational and student tours. Now semi-retired, Simon has time to continue volunteering at the Foodbank, as well as his Rotary club, where he is the current secretary. 

Philippa de Vere

Philippa has extensive involvement as a volunteer within the not-for-profit sector. She started as a volunteer at Tauranga Foodbank in 2014, packing food parcels and working in the distribution centre. In 2016, she joined the Board as well.  

She finds her trustee role most rewarding and enjoys bringing a volunteer perspective to the role. 

Each year, Philippa organises a group of extra volunteers to sort and process all the Christmas food donations, and finds it especially gratifying to see the generosity of the Tauranga public. A keen golfer, she recruits many of her Christmas Foodbank helpers from the Tauranga Club, where she also organises the weekly competitions and fun tournaments.

Philippa has a large garden filled with a wide variety of plants and wild life of the feathered kind.

Jane Grace

Jane joined Tauranga Foodbank in 2021, both to help with communications and as a Board member.  

After growing up in the South Island and completing pharmacology and psychology degrees at the University of Otago, Jane moved to England and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. She moved to corporate communications upon returning to New Zealand 15 years ago, where she currently works in the finance sector.  

Jane moved to the Mount with her young family in 2014, and is currently learning how to ski, surf, trail run and mountain bike – all with much more enthusiasm than aptitude.  

In the past, she has worked as a youth mentor, peer support leader and help line counsellor, and feels very privileged to be a part of Tauranga Foodbank.