Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rotary, lifestyle and travel - Rotary Down Under magazine now has it all

The July issue of Rotary Down Under magazine heralds a new era for the magazine.

Rotary Down Under magazines from the July 2012 issue will include two exciting additional sections – a lifestyle section plus a travel section. 

These will also be viewable on-line at as separate publications.  Yet again Rotary Down Under is leading the way with innovation and progressive thinking!

District 9920 celebrates

Rotary International the greatest change organisation in the world, renews and refreshes itself every year with leadership changing at club, District and International levels.

530 Rotary District Governors worldwide are part of this transition. Sunday 1 July at the Howick Club the largest maritime Rotary District, with 49 clubs in Auckland and 7 other pacific island nations District 9920 celebrated the transition of District Governor from Alan Eyes of the Rotary Club of Pukeokohe to Ron Seeto of  the Rotary Club of Newmarket.

This annual changeover also includes a theme for the year to focus humanitarian efforts for Rotarians in the new Rotary Year. This theme is set by the Rotary International President. For 2012-2013 Rotary International President from Japan, Sakuji Tanaka’s theme is Peace Through Service.

District Governor  Ron Seeto in his address asked Rotarians in District 9920 to work together to Unleash Your Potential building Peace Through Service.

The 250 Rotary attendees included family and guests of District Governors Alan & Ron.
Among the friends there to help Sharon Seeto celebrate Ron’s inauguration were Bronagh and Prime Minister John Key. John is an honorary Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Kumeu in District 9910 and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Newmarket.

District 9920  covers a geographical area encompassing east and south Auckland with 29 clubs and 20 clubs scattered through Fiji, Western Samoa. American Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, Kiribati and French Polynesia.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I went to Rotary with Daddy

Usually every Monday night, I am home with my little sister Izzy & Mummy, as this is Daddy’s Rotary night. But this week, I was able to go along with Daddy as his club (Botany East Tamaki) were having a family night. We were all meant to go, but Izzy had a cold, so stayed home, so it was just me & Daddy. I felt so grown up, even if the youngest there. (I’m 4, just so you know).

Like all old people, they talked & talked, so President Dave asked me to call the meeting to order by hitting the gong. Very cool, as it stopped everyone talking immediately. We all then sat down & everyone that brought a guest was introduced. Daddy explained I was a 4th generation Rotarian & a 3rd generation PDG, whether I like it or not. Everyone seemed to think that was funny, but I really don’t know why. I then made them laugh when Daddy said I went to daycare & asked me what I had learned today. The obvious answer was, “spinning on my head!”

We then all had dinner & I got to go home & tell Mummy all about my night with Daddy. As Izzy is so small, she gets to go with Mummy to her morning Rotary meetings, which I used to go to, so I guess Rotary is in our blood.

Brayden Jaggs (4 years)
Son of PDG Leanne & Mike Jaggs

Saying "well done" is also a part of service

The Rotary Club of Alfriston, Auckland, NZ held an “Appreciation meeting” recently to bring together all those individuals and companies who have donated goods, money and goodwill throughout the last year and the organisations and individuals who have benefitted from the club’s activities.  This was the second year the club has run the event using a power point presentation which gave graphic displays of all the fundraising events, the donors for each event plus the recipients of moneys raised where appropriate.  All the Club’s other activities were also included in the presentation.

Over 28 visitors were present plus the 15 members and partners.

Neither the donors nor recipients appreciated just how much the club has done in the community and were staggered to learn how much the Club has raised (including grants from various Rotary Trusts) which was returned mostly to their local community.  Nearly $100,000 in the last three years.

President Ray Parkes presented cheques to Totara Hospice in memory of past member John East, a cheque to the South Auckland Health Foundation for equipment that will be used for research into child cancers and a TV monitor for Manurewa East School library.  Many other smaller donations had been made throughout the year including to Sean Pyke who represented New Zealand at the Asia Junior Wrestling Championships in which he won a silver medal.  The most emotional presentation of the evening was that of a specially imported Triton therapeutic wheelchair for 13 year old Bailey who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.  His parents were very appreciative and there weren’t too many dry eyes in the audience!

Also in attendance were two students from Manurewa High School who had attended the Rotary National Science & Technology Forum together with the school Deputy Principal
11 Certificates of Appreciation were presented to donors and several indicated they would like to consider more seriously the opportunity to join the Club.

Another highlight was the presentation of a PHF to Sherrin White by District Governor Alan Eyes for the many years of wonderful service she has given to the Club as the wife of member Colin White..

It was an exciting evening with a lot of fun and well worth the effort of getting everyone together.  All the donors present guaranteed their continued participation with the Club.

Growing in more ways than one

Three years ago the Rotary Club of New Lynn built a series of raised vegetable gardens in the grounds of New Lynn Primary school to enhance the children’s learning.  The on-going benefits have been of immense value to the school community.

The teachers at this low decile school integrate the lessons learned through the gardens into many aspects of the children’s learning.  The young students are introduced to vegetables they may not have come across at home, teaching them good nutrition as well as life skills gained around the planting, tending and harvesting of the veges.  Cooking the vegetables, making soups, pestos, muffins etc extends maths skills and basic money management is introduced through the selling of baked goods and produce, to finance the next crop!

In May, on a chilly, somewhat foggy Saturday, Rotary New Lynn were back!  The gardens were extended with the construction of additional beds for potatoes and flowers (to attract bees for pollination), the building of a manuka fence around the gardens, and the installation of a garden shed.
Working party at completion of the project with added support from ‘Harold’ the gregarious giraffe from Life Education Trust.

Rotary New Lynn pulled in assistance from their members, friends of the Club, and supporters in the local community. 

Holes were dug for fences, timber was cut and assembled to create the planters, The shed arrived and was lifted into place.

‘Friends of Rotary’ helping out included four Miss World NZ contestants who demonstrated in a practical fashion the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ message of 2012’s pageant.  They proved to be handy with hammer and power tools!

Rotary Club of New Lynn has a commitment to work with local schools to assist with the creation of gardens for their school communities.  This is an on-going project and fits well with the Club’s aims of supporting and empowering young people in our community.

Three in One

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Rotary Leadership Institute starts in District 9970

District 9970 is the last of the New Zealand Rotary District to embrace the Rotary Leadership Institute Training programme.  The inaugural training, one day programme opened in Nelson on the 10th of June 2012 at the Te Tari Maori Studies rooms at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology at 8.45am on a chilly Sunday morning.

As a start up group, ten participants from the seven of the Rotary Clubs in the greater Nelson area attended.  Facilitators DGN John Rickard from Ashburton Club, IPDG Margaret Reeve, and AG Valda Cordes from the Riccarton club, in Christchurch, travelled up to join with local PDG Rex Morris, from Nelson, for the training.

Part one of the syllabus was completed in Nelson and another Part one is programmed for Ashburton on the 15th of July. Timings for future training and the Part two and Part three aspects are yet to be arranged but they will probably follow the regional set up, with additions to include Rotarians in Christchurch, The West Coast and the Marlborough area.
The training promotes Rotary knowledge for Rotarians, and covers the subjects of Leadership characteristics and team building, Rotary beyond the club, Service projects, Membership retention, and The Rotary Foundation.

District 9970 is building on the success of the other Rotary Districts in New Zealand and Australia and also the other 141 Districts throughout the world that have adopted this grassroots Rotary development programme for Rotarians by Rotarians.

One participant observed, after the training, that he had learnt how little he knew about the workings of Rotary, leadership, management and the history of Rotary, and that he had now become very interested in Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation.

Rotary Leadership Institute - the Rotarian development forum

Radios for safety

The Rotary Club of East Coast Bays has had a long association with The Sir Peter Blake MERC at Long Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. Opened in 1990, The Sir Peter Blake MERC is the country’s leading provider of marine education, recreation and conservation programs for schools and corporate groups. They offer a range of instructional programmes designed to hone skills in outdoor, marine, environmental, team building, leadership, sports and cultural education whilst also supporting disadvantaged and special needs students. They cater for over 12,000 visitors each year.  
Last year the Club funded the re-equipment of fifteen hand-held marine VHF radios vital to the safe running of programmes. This year the Club funded the purchase of high-tech ActiView Document cameras to support The Sir Peter Blake MERC education programs

Rotarians take leading role in community clean up

Overnight rain failed to dim the enthusiasm of a group of dedicated Rotarians and residents to clean up a substantial build-up of Autumn leaves that had become quite a problem on Flatbush Road in South Auckland, NZ.  
Rotarian Pat Taylor and residents cleaning up the Autumn leaf drop on Flatbush Road

Concerned residents raised the issue with the former Manukau City Council, and more recently with the Otara-Papatoetoe Board, because leaves were building up faster than they could cope with. Removal of the Pin Oak trees had initially been sought, but a more environmentally acceptable solution of pruning and street sweeping was put in place. Whilst it was a great improvement, it didn't address all of the issues.  Local resident Shirley emphasised, "The leaves had become a bit of a safety issue for the elderly and children when using the footpath."  

Having worked closely for a number of years collaborating on the Rongomai Pathway project, the Council’s Local and Sports Parks Department approached the Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki to work out a solution.  With the Council providing the necessary equipment, Rotarian Mike Lowe with the assistance of seven colleagues and a number of local residents had the problem leaves cleaned up within a few hours.  The gathered leaves were then delivered to some delighted gardeners at the Charntay Vegetable Gardens to be used for mulch and compost.  According to Mike, it was project well worth doing and "a win-win all round" for the residents, gardeners, the Council and Rotary. 
Members of the Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki and residents with a trailer load of Autumn leaves cleaned up on Flatbush Road

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Young Totara Award 2012

Reuben McCartney (aged 19 years) was selected for this year’s Rotary Club of Belfast-Kaiapoi Young Totara Award.
Since 2007, when Reuben joined the Sea Cadet Force at T.S. Steadfast, he has continuously won awards for being the best cadet in the country in different categories. Reuben was selected to represent New Zealand in a joint exercise of international sea cadet held in Singapore during 2011. Having recently left school, he is now applying for full-time employment with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
At the Belfast-Kaiapoi Rotary Club’s weekly meeting, at which Ruben and his mother were guests, he received his award certificate and pin. Reuben thanked the club for selecting him to be the recipient of the award.
The Belfast-Kaiapoi Club has been making Young Totara Awards annually since 1992 to recognise significant contributions to the life and wellbeing of the community. In selecting awardees, consideration is given to choosing a person who would be sound role models for others to emulate, particularly those who show the qualities of innovative thinking, good leadership, and planning. Maori culture likens its leaders to the mighty Totara tree. Hence each year, the chosen recipient plants a Totara tree in a special dedicated area in the Styx Mill Reserve in Husseys Road.

‘ShelterBox Ambassador honoured’

The Queen has been pleased on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday and the Diamond Jubilee, to make the award of The Queen's Service Medal to John Dougal Stevenson, for services to broadcasting.

Veteran broadcaster and ShelterBox Founding Ambassador Dougal Stevenson, has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to broadcasting.
Dougal (69) presented New Zealand's first live network news broadcast at 7.35pm on November 3, 1969.

In a recent interview on TV and in the Otago Daily Times Dougal said, "I got a letter from Government House and my first thought was: 'I'm going to be deported'," he joked at his St Leonard’s home.

"But I am really chuffed about it. I thought it was wonderful and wondered who nominated me.
How nice of someone to think to nominate me and how nice that the Government agreed. It's also rather fun to get this on the weekend the Queen's 60th jubilee celebrations are starting," he said.

As a ShelterBox Founding Ambassador Dougal has been the face of ShelterBox New Zealand since 2006 and was responsible for producing the ShelterBox promotional DVD’s. He has always given freely of his time by helping with PR advice to the members of our Response Teams during our selection and training weekends. 

A ShelterBox highlight for Dougal was the visit to ShelterBox UK in 2010 when he had the opportunity to meet with our President, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall at a reception held in aid of ShelterBox at Clarence House.

See also

Note that a full list of Rotarians from the six New Zealand-based district who have receoved Queens Birthday Honours will be opublished in the August Rotary Down Under magazine

Stuart Twins Make it Four

Dr Jennifer Neads keeps weaving unique ties with Rotary.  As a teenager in the Auckland suburb of Birkenhead, she was selected as a Rotary International Youth Exchange student and spent a year in Brazil.

Now living in Greenhithe with her husband Raoul Stuart, Jennifer has seen her daughter Ella go to Chile with the Rotary IYE programme in 2009. Plus next year, twin sons Jeremy and David, who have been attending Pinehurst School, have been selected as outbound IYE students to Germany and Sweden.

The twins will spend a year living with host families and attending school in those countries. It is very rare for twins to both be selected as exchange students to travel away at the same time from the same Rotary Club.

Rotary IYE students act as ambassadors, teaching people they meet about their country, culture, and ideas. They help to bring the world closer, and make some life-long friends in the process.

The Rotary Youth Exchange Programme has been operating for over 75 years in more than 80 countries, and each year over 8,000 students participate in the programme, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts, and at the local level by Rotary clubs who work behind the scenes to handle the logistics of each exchange by arranging school enrolment, tuition, and other educational matters. Students are hosted in the homes of Rotarians and friends of Rotary.

This year Jennifer, Raoul and their family are hosting Lotta Moisala who is in Auckland, NZ for 12 months with the Rotary Club of East Coast Bays and attending Pinehurst School.  Lotta is a 17-year-old student from Lahti, Finland. Last year they also hosted Robin Guezennec, East Coast Bays inbound student from St Nazaire in France.

Typically participants and their parents pay the costs of the round-trip airfare, health and accident insurance, clothing, spending money and other necessities. In-country costs are shared by host families (who pay for room and board), the host community (who cover school tuition and arrangements) and the host Rotary club (who offer a small stipend of usually US$50-100 monthly and cover events). 

The Rotary Club of East Coast Bays has been an active participant in the IYE programme, both inbound and outbound, for many years.  2011-2012 President Peter Garnett emphasised that club members really benefit in many ways being involved in the programme.  It has been a privilege to host young people from many countries, to watch them grow during their year while learning about their country and culture.

District 9940 Rotary clubs provide wells to impoverished rural communities in India

Yes, at first glance this could just be another of the many requests Rotary clubs receive from needy aid organisations seeking financial assistance.  However, this one was and remains unlike other appeals for support.  This one, the Chaithanya Educational and Rural Development Society (CERDS), seized and still captures the attention and imagination because of its uniqueness, simplicity, affordability, accountability and the knowledge that it is making a genuine and constructive difference.

 What was astonishing was that a bore-well costs only 5,000 Indian rupees (approximately NZ$120 or AU$95).  That so many impoverished people’s lives can vastly be improved for relatively little money is truly an inspiration to Rotarians from two clubs on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast - the Rotary Clubs of Paraparaumu and Otaki. Between them, three bore-wells have already been provided, and several Rotarians have sponsored bore-wells as individuals.  Another club from District 9940, the Rotary Club of Upper Hutt, will soon provide funds for two further bore-wells.

Another encouraging outcome of this is that children, who previously spent most of the daylight hours carrying water from a distant communal well with dubious water quality, can now attend school.  This is another CERDS focus.

CERDS individually acknowledges individual and organisational benefactors who have supported specific projects.  Permanent plaques are erected to acknowledge benefactors.

The provision of bore-wells is by no means the only activity undertaken by CERDS.  Other programmes which are affordable for Rotary clubs and individuals include: constructing sanitary toilets for poor disabled people, (6,750 rupees); providing sewing machines and three month vocational skill training for poor adolescent girls (5,800 rupees); providing fishing nets for very poor tribal fishermen (4,700 rupees); and sponsoring primary school educational needs for a poor child (3,400 rupees).

Further information:

Rotary Club of Paraparaumu
PO Box 199
Paraparaumu 5254
New Zealand
Mr Narra Srinivasa Rao (Executive Secretary)
5th Lane Pandaripuram
Guntur District
Andhra Pradesh
India 522616

Monday, 4 June 2012

Diverse student speakers make an impact

The Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside recently sponsored and judged the annual speech competition at Southern Cross Campus in Mangere, NZ. This is a great opportunity for college students from years 9 to 13 to gain confidence and express their views across a variety of interesting topics.

The young group presented speeches ranging from “Social media - does it destroy human connection?” and “Bucket list - the three things you must do before you leave school” to “The Rugby World Cup - was it worth it?”.

To judge such a talented and diverse group of speakers was challenging, but Past President David Wong said: “It was inspiring to see young kids from South Auckland passionate about their subjects. Obviously they spent a lot of quality time researching their topics and rehearsing in front of the mirror. It’s great to support a good college in this way.” 

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Outstanding beauty available for all

The Pauatahanui Inlet is aptly named ‘The Jewel in the Crown of Porirua City’.

Porirua City, about half an hour north of Wellington in New Zealand, is an area that is home to some of the richest and some of the poorest people in New Zealand. The Rotary Club of Plimmerton has dedicated itself to raising the bar for the poorer communities with projects such as Computers in Homes, Reading in Schools, stocking the Salvation Army Foodbank, organising annual Christmas parties for disadvantaged kids, and many more.

A major project for the club benefits the wider community, and this entails constructing a pathway, Te Ara Piko Pathway, around the Pauatahanui Inlet. The scale of this project is significant, so Plimmerton Rotary and the Porirua City Council have been working in partnership. The pathway runs along the northern edge of the inlet through native salt marshes and wetland habitat – a nationally important estuary.

Both the Rotary Club of Plimmerton and Porirua City Council were recently recognised for their work on the Te Ara Piko Pathway in the 2011 Encore Awards, co-hosted by the Department of Conservation, Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservancy, Conservation Board and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The Encore Awards honour people going the extra mile to restore, protect and enhance nature and history, and enable others to enjoy it.

The Council has committed significant funds to the project and several organisations, including the New Zealand Walking Access Commission, and Trusts have also donated generously.

Club members advocated for the pathway and acted as project ambassadors, promoting it at festivals, and establishing their own nursery.

Councillor Denys Latham said that the partnership between the Council and the Plimmerton Rotary has been a successful one for many years.  “I congratulate Rotary and our Leisure Assets team for the great work they are doing. The club pushed hard for this pathway, beginning in 2000, and the Council had to respond.”

Rotary club members have assisted with fundraising and actively helped with revegetation plantings along the pathway.
More photos of the progress on the walkway are available on