Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Helping cyclists enjoy the outdoors

Rotary Club of Nelson members working on the building of the Tasman Great Taste Trail - formerly the Tasman Loop Cycle Trail - this is a new cycleway and walkway in the Tasman region. Stage One - the Coastal Route - is nearing completion. Further sections of the trail will be completed as funding allows.

This is a part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail - a national project to build a world class network of cycle trails.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Rotary is such hard work!

The Rotary Club of St Johns has a number of interesting community projects.  A recent environmental one was touted as "likely to be strenuous but fun" ... as you can see some got half the  memo!
For the project write up:  click here 


Telstra Pacific Events Centre at Manukau in Auckland, New Zealand was the perfect venue for the Rotary Club of Papakura’s inaugural National Classic Motorcycle Show of bikes from vintage to 1992.  On August 4-5 over 250 bikes, 12 motorcycle clubs and 27 trade exhibitors were exposed to 3,200 visitors.

Planning for the show started two years before.  The project started formally when the principle gold sponsor, Star Motorcycle Insurance, was secured. The next steps involved: obtaining secondary and tertiary sponsorship; securing support commitments from various motorcycle clubs; securing a joint venture partner for NZ Classic Bike of the Year; securing the venue; defining logistics for the show weekend; and judging. 

Businesses that could offer support in kind (but not financially) were targeted as secondary silver sponsors. These included a printer to produce all necessary point of sale material and signs, and Fairfax media promotion through community newspapers. There were seven such sponsors in total.

Bronze sponsors were companies that wanted to be involved at the show.  These ranged from Honda NZ to a leather repair machinist.

Being the first Classic Show to be held in Auckland for many years, potential trade and motorcycle exhibitors were sceptical and held back until the last minute. Very difficult trading conditions forced several trade exhibitors to withdraw in the last month, and this placed real pressure on prizes and prize money.

In total there were 27 sponsors contributing some $42,000 towards the show. This allowed the show to open to the public, needing only $9,000 to break even. This equated to only 600 people at $15 through the gate, and this was met by midday on Saturday.

NZ Classic Bike of the Year was a joint venture with Bikerider Magazine in an attempt to leverage their commitment and marketing to promote the show. 12 finalists were selected by Bikerider Magazine, and these finalists were voted for by spectators following gold coin donations.  This raised a further $1,000 for the National Burns Unit. 

Two Rotary International Youth Exchange students also collected for the Burns Unit and raised another $800 by simply asking for donations!

A professional photographic studio was on site.  One Rotarian’s family of eight ran this stand over the weekend, primarily to take photos of the winning bikes, plus they sold their services to other bike owners and raised a further $400. 

There were 20 categories and 3 prize winners for each category, so 60 prizes were awarded. Each winner received a goody bag with various prizes and a framed photo of their bike sporting its winning rosette. First place winners also received an individually printed acrylic trophy.

The general consensus was that the show was very well put together and well run by the Papakura Rotary which had virtually a 100% turnout of its members and partners. In-house catering was done by many of the partners and appreciated by all concerned. 

Since the show, the organisers have received offers of commitment for trade stands and more very special bikes for next year.

Any Rotary club interested in replicating this show outside of Auckland can contact Papakura President Graham Viall via

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Rotary Pacific Water For Life Foundation's 189th Project in Fiji

Village children celebrate the availability of clean water
Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (who is the second highest person in charge after the Prime Minister) honored all with his presence at the official opening on July 18, 2012 of Rotary Pacific Water For Life Foundation’s (RPW) 189th project in Fiji.
Kids wore traditional Fijian outfits and carried Fijian Warrior Clubs to escort a 4x4 vehicle across the Wai District School compound. Fiji Water Global President David Ricanati and CEO Roko Nabalarua, RPW Manager Gaël Léopold, and other officials waited near the shade.
When the School Committee presented its request to RPW in May 2012, it was clear that something had to be done quickly, because 125 kids studying in the school ( including 25 living on site) didn’t have access to a regular supply of safe water for basic needs such as drinking, washing, cleaning, and cooking. Kids had to carry buckets and drums from the main water tank to the toilet bocks, dormitories, and kindergarten, etc. At times the tank would go dry when villagers downstream would pull more water for their own needs.
After assessing the situation and discussing his proposed solution with RPW’s Technical Advisory Committee, Projects Coordinator Etika Sing returned to the school with a clear plan to secure an independant and suitable source of water for the school only. Three weeks later, a borehole was completed 200 meters away from the school, new pipes were laid, and water tanks were installed. Today, clean drinking water is now flowing within the compound, and RPW is looking at upgrading a few other elements of their water system, including the toilets block.
This project is another example of what can be done through the Rotary Matching Grant mechanism. This project was funded by the Rotary Clubs of Gloucester in UK and Suva East, with the support of Fiji Water and Vodafone Foundations.
Discover more about RPW on
- By Gaël Léopold, RPW Manager +679-9056808

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

RotoArt High School Student Art Contest

Ten years ago, a member of the Rotary Club of Otorohanga, in North Island, New Zealand suggested to Rotarian Barry Marx that the club could organise an Art Exhibition and incorporate a competition for local high school students.

Waremu's Winning Art

Barry extended the contest to a 100km radius of Otorohanga, so students of nearby rural township high schools were invited.  High schools in the nearby city of Hamilton were excluded to encourage students from smaller rural high schools to get involved.
The strategy was that family members would attend the exhibition to support their youngsters and be exposed to a variety of art objects seldom seen outside main centre galleries and national art shows.

Following the success of the show, a Rotarian recommended to Barry, “This is far too good to be local, so we should make the student contest a nationwide project.” Barry replied, “Why not go international?”

Having recently retired, Barry thought he may have the time to be the Curator/Organiser because communicating with eight nearby high schools had been pretty straight forward.  But contacting every school throughout New Zealand and beyond was a different story.

There was only one viable solution to accepting entries from anywhere in the world – the internet.  The club commissioned a software company to design a program whereby students could upload digital images of their art.  After the closing date, five judges could individually access the images on their own computers anywhere in the world to grade each artwork on a scale of 1 to 10.  The Curator and Chief Judge then selected the best 50 works and called the most highly ranked ten in each section to be couriered for final hands-on judging.

With a year set aside to arrange the project, Barry set to chasing up Rotary clubs across the globe using the internet as the main way of communication.  Barry also searched for high schools with websites, and if those had email addresses, he sent off invitations. 

Having spent something like 3,000 hours in just 12 months working on the project, Barry was now working through nights chatting to schools, students and supportive Rotarians across the globe via Skype.  Wonderful relationships were developing with Rotarians around the world.  Newly formed Rotary clubs in Eastern Europe came on board in a refreshing manner.  At last the competition was coming together. 

Entries were uploaded on line to the special website.  Rotarians in New Zealand pledged the entry fees for students who could not afford the $10 cost.  Two young artists in Rwanda were sponsored when it was learned that their families’ monthly income was less than the entry fee.  A group of children in Israel were sponsored, as were the Lotus Centre Mongolian orphans.

When the contest closed there were entries from 23 countries.  The whole thing had grown to such an extent that it was now beyond being a small rural Rotary club project.  Arrangements were made for the awards ceremony to be held in conjunction with the Royal Easter Show in Auckland where there is a huge art exhibition and the official awards night is held in front of 2,500 invited guests.  

In a first for the century old show, Barry arranged three channel TV coverage of the Rotary section of the awards.  Diplomats from the main nations represented were invited to attend and receive the awards on behalf of the overseas students.  The winning pieces of art and a selection of the very best entries were all on sale, with the proceeds being remitted back to the young artists.

The winning international entry was from 15 year old Sandrin Mofo in Orangeburg, South Carolina, USA who was originally from Cameroon, Africa.  His self-portrait was of professional quality.

The outstanding New Zealand winner was Wiremu Kawiti.  His prize was a 21 day trip to the USA as a guest of Rotary Clubs in California, New York, New Jersey and Alabama.

The competition has been extremely successful, so a Charitable Trust was formed to run the competition every two years, with the current round closing on 31 December 2012.  Further details are at


Rotarians are always willing to get their hands dirty to help a good cause, but this year Rotary Club of Drury Secretary Trish Hayward decided to take it to the extreme!
With the generous support of her fellow Rotarians, Trish competed in the Bergen Tough Guy ‘n’ Gal Challenge on July 8 to raise money for the SPCA. This challenge is a six kilometre Army-style assault course colloquially known as the Mud Run – and for good reason.

Trish splashing through the mud in the Challenge
It’s a fun run held over the boggiest terrain to be found at Helensville’s Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre, north of Auckland, New Zealand. Slogging through thigh-deep swamps, scrambling up muddy slopes, crawling under barbed wire and traversing natural and man-made obstacles were all part of the fun.

The Rotary Club of Drury, friends and family supported Trish’s effort, and raised $735 out of an overall team total of $18,721 for the animal welfare charity. SPCA Fundraising Coordinator Catherine Davies said “this is an incredible result and we are very grateful to all involved.”

Trish’s training for the event consisted of runs through bush trails in the Hunua Ranges, with her willing Labrador companion Eric making sure that there was no slacking. It was hard work being out in the winter weather sometimes, and she returned from one training run soaked to the skin from a sudden downpour.

Fortunately when Challenge day dawned, the skies were blue.  Trish had a lot of fun despite getting covered in mud and ending up pretty stiff and sore the next day!

She was proud to help support the SPCA, and grateful for the generosity of her fellow Rotarians in making her efforts worthwhile.

Rotary Global Swimarathon sets new Guinness World Record and saves lives

How do you get 159 people out of their beds at 1am in the morning to swim 100 metres all in the name of charity? Just ask the world-leading Rotary Club of Matamata in the heart of the Waikato region in New Zealand.
Earlier this year, Matamata was one of 119 clubs worldwide that took part in the Rotary Global Swimarathon for polio eradication – an English Rotary Club of Grantham in Lincolnshire initiative to raise funds for Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign while also raising the profile of the cause.
Matamata club, with a membership of 54, led the fundraising effort worldwide, with a staggering NZ$22,000 raised for Rotary’s polio eradication programme. Matamata then president Eric Muckle emphasised this amounted to almost 20 per cent of the total money raised from the Global Polio Swimarathon.
“We are absolutely delighted to lead the world in this event,” he said. “Matamata is a small town of 7,000 people, and for our community to embrace the event in the manner they did was incredibly heart-warming. On the night, almost the entire club turned out to lend a hand. Two participants raised in excess of $5,000 between them, and then District Governor Raewyn Kirkman was among the swimmers.
“The awareness this event created in our community was huge. We were able to get the whole town aware of it and then to have the number of people swimming in the early hours of the morning was fantastic! 
“One lady in her 70s and confined to a wheelchair even came along and swam four lengths of one-arm backstroke to aid the cause.
“We are all very proud of what our club managed to achieve in this event,” Eric said. “It just goes to show that if you get a worthwhile project and involve your community, the results will follow.”
It’s now official!  The Rotary Global Swimarathon set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of participants.  4,546 swimmers from all across the world could not resist and made a splash in the hour long swimarathon charity event, which took place in over 64 locations across the world.  All swimmers dived into action simultaneously between 12-1pm GMT on February 25, 2012.  The previous record was set at 2,533.  This year’s fun event raised over US$101,000 to fund and administer the polio vaccine. 
Go to to join in next year on February 23 when the Rotary Global Swimarathon will swim around the world once more …


Monday, 10 September 2012

Taranaki's first mud run, the Naki Run Amuck race

The Rotary Club of New Plymouth North ran an extremely successful fund raising event called Naki Run Amuk. The name says it all.  Naki is short for Taranaki, the province in New Zealand where New Plymouth is the biggest city. Run is what the event is all about, and Amuk, yes, it is through lots of mud! 

The event came about after club members Chris Connolly, Kay Kendall and Jill Fearn enjoyed a fun mud run in the Waikato where runners had to undertake an obstacle course, similar to Army endurance courses. Nothing like this had been done before in Taranaki, and noting the popularity of similar courses in New Zealand, it was seen as a great idea to undertake a run as a local fundraising community event and to promote Rotary. The first challenge was to find a suitable location, and after much research, Urenui was chosen.

Urenui is a village 30km north of New Plymouth, situated at the mouth of the Urenui River. The river is tidal and has great mudflats with surrounding hills and cliffs. At the river mouth there is a large camping ground with supporting amenities. A course was mapped, about 4 km long, which encompassed a beach run with obstacles, a cliff climb with ropes to assist, a road race section , and then lots of mud through the river including a slide, rope ladder, and a swim across the 2 metre deep river mouth. To finish off, the local Volunteer Fire Brigade hosed everybody down with freezing water!

A good range of generous prizes were donated by the business community to cover all ages and performances. Each entrant was individually timed, and the fit and enthusiastic runners ran the course twice.

The Urenui community got 100% behind the event.  The school provided a sausage sizzle, the  local Lions club assisted Rotary as a fellow service organization, the local boutique brewery offered tastings in the entry packs and provided a stall to complement the sausages, supported by the Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Entrants ranged from enthusiasts who do all the mud runs around the country to individuals and teams from local businesses. The age range was from 15 to 71.

The 430 entries exceeded the club's expectations and a profit of over $10,000 was achieved. The major beneficiary was the local Taranaki Coastguard who are building a new rescue boat. Their members helped as marshals. New Plymouth North Rotary Club has a membership  of 24, and every member participated 200%.

Following wonderful feedback from the participants, the club Is going to make it an annual winter event . The Urenui community also want to make it an annual event, so the club is already planning for June 2, 2013 where 800 plus entrants are expected.  Keep an eye on for registrations to open to challenge yourself and your friends on a course of natural and man-made obstacles plus of course mud and more mud. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pheonix Rising - Hutt City Fire Sculpture


The Rotary Club of Hutt City has completed the fifth annual fire sculpture exhibition, and it just gets better every year.

How it works

The club runs this as part of the Petone Winter Carnival, an all day event that climaxes in a fire work spectacular. Around 40,000 people attend the event annually.

The club selects six community groups to build a work during the day and then set fire to it at dusk. Fire has a magical quality that attracts people, particularly in winter and the combination of raw flame with dynamic consumption of interesting shapes and forms is wonderful entertainment for the crowd awaiting the fireworks.

Over the years the club has worked out the best materials, shapes and sizes to alight the crowd. Ahead of the day four meter high plywood chimneys are built as the foundation for the work. These are filled with shredded cardboard, and laced with biodiesel. The height of the structure, chimney effect and selection of appropriate materials create an early intense fire.

Rotarians select groups, seek sponsored materials, assist in the building of works, marshal the crowd and clean up afterwards. Considerable profit is made from the sale of glow sticks during the event.

The safety of the fire displays are always paramount to our crew , and this year the ignition and burn-downs were dramatic as ever and the intensity of heat caused public to withdraw even further away from the cordons. It was reassuring to have both security personnel and the volunteer Rural Fire Brigade teams with us this year together with two fire trucks on standby on the beach in case there were difficulties in fire or crowd control.

The outcome

President Bob Rowell summed up. ‘What a fantastic day and evening as we saw all aspects of Rotary service come into play in the one project – the practical, organisational, artistic, financial and marketing and above all, the social with club fellowship and interaction with the 40,000 folk who attended the carnival. There was a fantastic response from the public to the carnival, fire sculptures and fireworks.’

The public were absolutely amazed that that we were giving marshmallows and skewers away free and the young, and not so young alike to toast the marshmallows on the embers of the burn-downs. This was an inexpensive goodwill exercise for the club and a wonderful way for Rotary to interact and give so many the pleasure of generosity and for the young, a new experience.

Hutt City Rotary believes that this project could be replicated at many other venues in Australia, the Pacific and New Zealand. Any club wanting to benefit from their experience is welcome to contact the club for a copy of the project manual and any other advice.