Formed in Tauranga in 1991, Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga is a local independent charitable trust. Inspired by an American group of breast cancer survivors who began an organisation in the 1970's called Reach For Recovery, Breast Cancer Support Tauranga is based around the principle of survivors supporting those newly diagnosed. We cover the Western Bay of Plenty – from Waihi to Maketu and see approximately 160 newly diagnosed women from the Bay each year. We offer one-on-one, culturally sensitive and confidential support to anyone awaiting the results of a diagnostic test or who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.


To actively provide emotional and practical support to people in Tauranga who have had a breast cancer diagnosis, their whānau and supporters.

The Outcomes We Seek Are:

  • the wellbeing, safety and quality of life for those with a breast cancer diagnosis and their whānau is enhanced
  • those with a breast cancer diagnosis are not socially isolated but are connected and engaged

Our Values

Client firstWe respect each client's journey and needs will be different
Cost is no barrier – we don't want payment to be a consideration for our clients
Locally focusedTauranga & WBOP surrounds
Delivering best practicelearning from and sharing with other organisations

Meet The Team

Helen Alice, Service Manager

Nga mihi nui, I started as Service Manager with the Breast Cancer Support Trust in December 2015. I am delighted to bring my not-for-profit management experience to such a worthwhile organisation that really makes a difference in our local community. Like many of us, I have been close to people who have had breast cancer and so this mahi is close to my heart. Every day I get to connect up with people who are generous and compassionate and who want to make a contribution to their community and without them our service would not be possible. I just may have the best job in the world!

Ngaire Laker-Metz, Service Support - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

My breast cancer journey began in 1998 and although that was 18 years ago I remember clearly how shocked and frightened I was when first diagnosed. I also remember how valuable the support I received from the Breast Cancer Support Tauranga was. Family and friends were great, but being able to meet and talk with other women starting treatment and those who were years down the track, looking great, back at work and enjoying life made me realise that I could get through the year of treatment that lay ahead. Now it is time to play if forward, I have been in my role as service support for 2 years and it is wonderful to be working at something I am passionate about. Every day no matter what we are doing we are working to benefit the men and women have had their world rocked by breast cancer. I love my job!

Gill Collins, Service Support - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

It's wonderful to be back as part of the team.  I worked here a year ago and now will be covering for Kath while she is away - that makes me the recycled member of the team!  I know how I felt when I got my breast cancer diagnosis in 2011 and truly valued the support I received from Breast Cancer Support  in Tauranga.  I am passionate about supporting others that have also had a diagnosis and what a privilege it is for me to be able to offer support while Kath is away.


The Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust is governed by a wonderful group who give their time, passion and expertise voluntarily.

Lara Burkhardt (Chairperson)

I am a Partner at Holland Beckett, a Tauranga based law firm. I joined the partnership in 2011 having returned to the Bay of Plenty in 2009 after a number of years living and working in Auckland and overseas. I completed my high school years at Tauranga Girls College and represented the Bay in swimming. I have practiced law since about 1998 and specialise in environmental and resource management. I am also on the current committees of the Bay of Plenty branches of the Resource Management Law Association and the Property Council of New Zealand. I am an active member of the Omanu Surf Life Saving Club and regularly participate at masters level in surf lifesaving and open water swimming events. I was born in Whangarei and affiliated to Ngati Whatua.

Holland Beckett have been proud supporters of the Trust for a number of years and my involvement continues that support.

Jocelyn Gascoigne (Treasurer)

Cathryn Earwaker

I am the principal of 'Recordit' a film production business offering corporate clients a professional high end digital recording and editing service. Recordit take care of all stages of your video production right from the idea through to media delivery of your video and have been doing so for over a decade now.

Prior to my move to Tauranga in 1999, I spent many years in the travel industry starting out as a travel consultant and the last 10 years with Thomas Cook NZ of which the last five years were in Management roles in Travel and Foreign Exchange.

I live on a lifestyle block with my partner Ross and enjoy the country life.

My great love is photography and spending time with family and friends recording celebrations, so in my spare time you will still find me at my computer, editing photos and creating art. Movies and documentaries are also right up there at the top of the list but I guess that's understandable given my profession!

Desiree de Spong

I am a Lymphatic Therapist at Promed House, Tauranga. I have been in the health field since 1999 and completed my training in lymphatic therapy in America. I have since developed Lymphatic Enhancement Technology as a modality which I teach both in New Zealand and America. Recently both I and my colleague John Renna, opened the doors to the New Zealand Centre of Integrated Health based at Promed House. This Centre holds 11 different practitioners ranging from osteopathy through to medical oncology. Our focus is to provide an integrated approach to managing health issues so that an individual can obtain optimal recovery through their healing journey.
I have three children , one of whom is at university so when I am not keeping busy with them I enjoy gardening, walking and photography.

Cathy Rolleston

With over 40 years experience as a Registered Nurse, Cathy specializes in oncology and cancer nursing. She works at Waipuna Hospice as a palliative care nurse in the inpatients unit. Prior to this she worked for 7 years with the Kaitiaki Nursing as the Team Leader providing cancer nursing care to a predominantly Maori client group.

Jessica Easton

Jess is an In-House Lawyer at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana.  She previously worked as a Senior Solicitor at a local Tauranga firm in the Employment, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team.  Prior to that, Jess worked for six years as a Solicitor in Melbourne where she represented WorkSafe Victoria, insurers and employers in litigation.

Jess relocated from Australia in mid 2016.  She is enjoying the sea change particularly living on her rural property with her husband and numerous pets.

Karen White

I have called NZ home since 1990.  On moving here from the UK I settled in Dunedin.  I have a background in the civil service and senior administration.  I retired in 2014 and moved to Tauranga.

I have been involved with BCSS since the end of 2015 in a number of voluntary roles including as a support buddy and I joined the board in mid 2017.

I particularly admire the way many service are provided by BCXX Trust to local people with breast cancer and their families.  Clients are dealt with respectfully by the staff and many volunteers with whom they may have contact.

A personal journey through breast cancer - more than 20 years ago now - allows me to understand and be empathetic to those going through their journey and help them on their way.  I am very pleased to be able to say that many  improvements have been made to both treatment and attitudes in our society over that period of time.


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