Rubirose Russell of Maketū has already made a start on her chosen career at 14.
She’s one of three Volunteering Services Bay of Plenty’s Volunteer Stars for her volunteer work
making artistic resources for the early childhood centre at Maketū. It will come in handy when
she qualifies as an ECE teacher in years to come.
Her mum, Miria Pedersen, is an ECE teacher at Maketū Kidettes in the small community. She
said Rubirose volunteers her artistic skills and time making resources for the tamariki.
“She does everything from building kitset furniture, making poi, crocheting items that go along
with stories for mat time, creating awesome centerpieces, like a tree in the middle of our centre
out of recyclable supermarket bags for an enchanted forest theme we had.
“She draws beautiful pictures that match our pukapuka [books] for the week. When some of the
resources need a spruce up she will take them home, sand them back and repaint them if
needed. She is such an asset to have and our team would love to show how much we
appreciate all she does.”
Rubirose says her mum has been at the centre for three years, so she was often there when off
school. Once she started home schooling she had a desk set up in the office for her own work,
but also started making resources and art work for the centre.
“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.”
Her favourite piece is the tree in the middle of the centre, and making poi, but anything artistic
keeps her happy. She also has a horse which takes up most of her time not spent painting and
making art works.

Volunteering Services manager Angela Wallace said it was great to have a young volunteer
represented in the top three.
“It’s great to see the next generation of leaders emerging, showing up for their communities as
volunteers and change makers.”