Bellyful NZ Team

Wendy Thompson

General Manager

Wendy is Bellyful’s incredibly hard-working General Manager. Wendy has previously been the Bellyful Christchurch Branch Co-ordinator and Bellyful NZ’s Volunteer and Operations Manager.

Wendy describes the early days with her twins (now adults): “My twins were born in London 13 weeks premature. I had no immediate family in the UK and although our friends did what they could to help, most of them were working full time and could only provide limited support. For the first few months, we lived on a combination of take-aways, hospital food and Marks & Spencer’s ready meals. This was generally expensive and not nutritious!! When I saw a newspaper article about Bellyful all I could think was I wish it had existed all those years ago in London. So I went along to the first meeting.

“Since then I have loved working with such a positive and organised charity. Cookathons are fun and delivering meals to a stressed family is incredibly satisfying.”

Wendy lives in Christchurch with her husband, and three grown-up children – some of the time. Wendy trained as a pharmacist in New Zealand and worked both here and in England in a variety of hospital and retail positions. In her spare time, Wendy enjoys ice skating, mountain biking, running, skiing, boating and overseas adventures with her husband.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0508 BELLYFUL (0508 2355938)

Aruna Hill

Finance Officer

Aruna joined Bellyful in January 2020 with over 20 years’ experience working in the finance field.

Graduating from Victoria University Wellington with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, Aruna has worked in a variety of organisations, both corporate and government, in London and New Zealand.

Aruna and her husband Craig have two boys aged nine and 13. She has been actively involved in the boys’ school helping with Enviro projects, reading and being on the PTA. She has also held the position of Treasurer for the Life Education – North Wellington Branch from 2018 to 2019 and currently volunteers as a school board trustee.

Having been lucky enough to have had tremendous family support when the boys were little, Aruna is acutely aware just how invaluable that support can be and is looking forward to helping Bellyful NZ to support as many families as possible to help them through challenging times.

Email: [email protected]

Amanda Frei


Amanda is based in Christchurch and joined the Bellyful team at the beginning of 2021.

Amanda has a Bachelor of Business Management with a double major in Marketing and Management. Amanda also has a Certificate in Cookery from Ara and a Professional Certificate in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. Amanda’s background is in the FMCG and hospitality industries and includes time working as a chef and brand managing a range of well-known Australian and New Zealand household brands.

With an eye for detail, Amanda is passionate about organising and structuring spaces and workflows. Her other passion is food, she regularly cooks for family and friends and is known in her neighbourhood for always having some cake to share. In her spare time, Amanda also enjoys cycling, reading and gardening.

Amanda is married with two young daughters who have both recently started school. Amanda and her family were grateful recipients of Bellyful meals after the birth of their second daughter and understands first-hand how Bellyful support can help families in a time of need.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0508 BELLYFUL (0508 2355938)

Jacqui Stanford

Communications Advisor

Jacqui joined the Bellyful team as its Communications Advisor in 2019 after more than 15 years in journalism, chiefly as a reporter and sub-editor with Newstalk ZB.

In 2017, she moved into charity communications to help a friend, quickly fell in love with the work, and has since worked with Carers NZ and Continence NZ in communications roles.

Jacqui has developed expertise in writing, editing, managing social media and helping run campaigns, and is excited to bring these skills to Bellyful as it continues its incredible growth. Being a mum of two young children she wholeheartedly appreciates how important Bellyful’s work is in giving tired parents a helping hand and full tummies, especially in those exhausting early days.

Jacqui lives in a century-old (slowly being lovingly renovated) villa in Helensville, in Auckland’s northwest, with her wife, two children and a small zoo of pets. When she gets a rare quiet patch, you’ll find her curled up with a novel and dreaming of writing one of her own one day.

Email: [email protected]

Emily Pavey

Development Advisor

Emily is based in Whitianga and joined the Bellyful team in April 2022, after establishing the Bellyful Whitianga branch and fulfilling the role of Co-Branch Coordinator for two years.

Emily has worked for charities and not-for-profits for 12 years, both here in Aotearoa, and in the UK where she hails from. She has two pre-school children and with no family support in New Zealand, she knows just how hard being a new parent can be.

“When we had our first baby, I struggled with anxiety. I was lucky to have my supportive husband and a good circle of friends. One in particular came to visit and loaded my freezer with home-cooked meals, and ordered some meals to be delivered to the door each week for a little while. This generosity quite simply made those early weeks and months manageable.”

Email: [email protected]

Sally Warrender

Grants Administrator

Sally volunteered with Bellyful Franklin in 2014 as a way to meet people in the community. She is now their Branch Coordinator, looking after the volunteer team, and ensuring meals are available for whānau in Franklin. Sally is a passionate supporter of the ‘for purpose’ sector and loves Bellyful’s mahi aroha: “The concept is simple but so effective because having a baby is hard! The idea that we can support whānau with babies or young children, by delivering meals at dinner time is genius!”

Sally joined Bellyful NZ’s paid team in 2020, providing funding and operational support to the national and branch teams. She has a Masters in Organisational Psychology, with an extensive research and teaching background, ensuring she can mix real-world reality and best practice. Sally loves telling stories and being able to combine her skills to help make a difference for communities across Aotearoa.

Outside of work, she has a large blended whānau including six delightful grandies. An avid gardener, traveller, crafter and bookworm, Sally lives and works from a life-sentence block in rural Pukekohe, with a menagerie of cattle, sheep, chickens, and a rogue goat.

Email: [email protected]

Leigh Cooke

Contract Accountant

Leigh joined Bellyful in 2019 with over 20 years experience as a Chartered Accountant.

Graduating from Victoria University Wellington with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, Leigh went on to join ANZ Bank where she worked across a number of NZ business units, as well as posts in ANZ’s London and Melbourne offices, which saw her spending a total of 7 years living overseas. As well as banking, Leigh’s career has included accounting roles in health, media, hospitality and education as well as volunteering as a school board trustee. She finds fulfilment in working with not-for-profit organisations and is excited to be part of the Bellyful team.

Leigh’s two children, now teenagers, were both born in Australia and with no immediate family nearby she was grateful to volunteers who brought meals and gave support when it was needed. Leigh now lives in Lower Hutt with her children and husband.

Email: [email protected]

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