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Virtual Eastern Bay Villages / Te Kokoru Manaakitanga

Welcomes You, Nau Mai, Haere Mai

Shared Meal

Our Origins - Where it all Began

Ruth Gerzon, one of the initial founders, was inspired to begin Eastern Bay Villages when visiting her 91 year-old uncle. He was an important figure in her life who had no living relatives. He was frail and isolated, yet adamant he wanted to remain in his own home. Mainstream services provided him with good physical care and someone to do his shopping, but Ruth recognised that in order to thrive he needed strong social connections.

Eastern Bay Villages / Te Kokoru Manaakitanga was formally established as a Trust in 2017 and began to source funding.

With a 43.5% Māori population in the Whakatane District, it was a no-brainer to set up a two whare (Tāngata Whenua and Tāngata Tiriti) model with Māori and European / Pākehā co-chairs and coordinators. This structure has given the group excellent networks and processes to engage with the community as a whole and especially with local Iwi.

Our Vision / Our Mission

Our Vision


To build thriving, inclusive and connected communities, where everyone has a sense of purpose, belonging, and well-being.


Our Mission

To foster well-being for seniors / pakeke in our communities, families and extended families/ whānau/hapū/iwi by promoting mutual support and reciprocal relationships.


Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Our commitment to Te Tiriti is reflected in our ‘two whare’ Board of Trustees with Māori and European co-chairs, and made manifest in our work and relationships with iwi/hapū as well as our mainstream ethnically diverse communities.

Our Virtual Village

Virtual Eastern Bay Villages - is a virtual village, not a bricks and mortar village - established to build help connections and relationships with seniors and our most vulnerable and invisible  members of our communities, encouraging members to support one another to reduce loneliness and isolation. The team, a mix of volunteers and part-time paid staff  aims to support seniors to live safely in their own homes and to reduce their feelings of isolation. Seniors are encouraged to actively participate in activities and with connections made via Virtual Eastern Bay Villages and the volunteers through regular social gatherings and one on one matches. 

“The greatest gift is to know that we travel not alone but in the company of others, that there are hands we can reach for, and hearts to keep us warm.”

(Call the Midwife, TV Series)

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