Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Getting Smart

The Zone 8 and 7b - Australia and New Zealand Rotary on the Move newsletter for February is a great read - Click Here to open

This newsletter is for anyone with an interest in helping to strengthen Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.

If you want to receive future editions of the newsletter direct to your Inbox, please e-mail Noel Trevaskis requesting to be added to the circulation list (likewise to unsubscribe contact Noel on this email).

Please let other Rotarians know about the newsletter and promote it as being available via the web page at (e.g. publicise in your club bulletin, district newsletter and membership training)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tauranga Heritage Walk

Kevin Manville + Josh Stewart of Traffic Signs
Visitors to Tauranga, New Zealand can discover the city’s historic gems, thanks to 30 direction signs along the 3km Tauranga CBD heritage walk from the i-Site in Willow Street.

The heritage walk was established three years ago, and had only been promoted with brochures. Now brown signs in the international tourism colour point visitors in the right direction to 18 points of interest, including leading them to the old Post Office, Te Awanui Waka, the old Bond Store, Monmouth Redoubt, Robbins Park and Elms Mission Station, which is the jewel in the crown of this walk, then the Mission Cemetery, before returning along Dive Crescent.

The Rotary Club of Tauranga organised and funded this project which included website development of

Tauranga Rotary project coordinator Neil Goodwin hopes that a lot more people will discover the walk by following the signs or using latest technology on smart devices.

Activity and commitment to the community abound at Wanaka Rotary Club

It has been another busy few months at the Rotary Club of Wanaka as members undertook a number of projects for the community and fundraising for community activities.

A lot of the focus this year has been on raising funds for the CT Scanner Suite Appeal for Dunstan Hospital. December 2012 saw the Annual Duck Race, a Buck Shelford Night promoting men’s health, and the Rotary Book Sale which have raised over $30,000. The community hasn’t been forgotten in all this fund raising with the addition of the roof on the BBQ area to finish off Wanaka Rotary Club children’s playground at the western end of the lake front.

Wanaka Rotary Club Book Sale
Christmas you would think brings a well-earned rest from club activities, but a 4WD trip fund raiser early in the New Year, and catering for 1,200 hungry competitors at the Wanaka Challenge prize giving, kept members on their toes. Fundraising for the CT Scanner Suite Appeal will continue with a Monster Charity Auction and Garage Sale in February throughout Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra in conjunction with all local Rotary and Lions Clubs.

The club still has time and energy left for fun and fellowship, including fishing trips, BBQs and their club Foundation Auction Night.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Making a difference in Vanuatu

Fencing: Rotary Club of Takapuna North International Director
Stuart Kendon with two local helpers, working on fencing
the Centre for the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People. 
Two Australian volunteers working with people with disabilities found a little girl sitting in the dirt in a village on Efate. Her legs, severely burnt from a candle lit under a mosquito net which caught fire, were deformed by scar tissue. Lack of treatment has tightened the scars. Her legs have become badly infected because she sits in the dirt, unable to move.

This is one of many sad cases in Vanuatu, where a lack of funding sees young and old with disabilities in life-threatening situations.

Men at work: The Rotary Club of Takapuna North NZ working
party (from left) International Director Stuart Kendon, Murray
Pearson and President Elect Phil Brosnan worked for a week
with Port Vila expat Derek Hodder (second from right) on the
first stage of upgrading the Centre for the Vanuatu
Society for Disabled People. 
A skeleton staff hangs on to keep the Centre for the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People (VSDP) open. Every day they turn up to work with little hope of remuneration, to a building that has been condemned in parts as unfit for public use.

Last July, the centre was humming with the sound of weed-eaters, electric drills and saws, and the smell of fresh paint permeated the air. The working bee on Children's Day was a statement to all: our centre is going tobe something our people can be proud of, and there are people who will make
this happen.

The Rotary Club of Port Vila, a new NGO called Friends of People with Special Needs, and the Rotary Club of Takapuna North from Auckland, NZ are working together to rebuild the centre.

This will provide premises from which field workers and volunteers can operate from, a centre where those with disabilities can come for workshops and help with healing, and a centre for building a team of people who will give support and hope to those who can't help themselves, through no fault of their own.

Three Kiwi Rotarians from Takapuna North Rotary, International Director Stuart Kendon, Murray Pearson and President Elect Phil Brosnan, worked the entire week to complete Stage 1 of four stages. They fixed up holes and did a lot of maintenance work, so the centre could keep functioning.

At the Children's Day working bee, local expats who included many Rotarians and their families, came to lend a hand. Friends of People with Special Needs provided lunch and also helped with the clean-up. There were a few special activities at the centre while some of the local Rotarians' children grabbed paintbrushes and spruced up a couple of rooms with the help of theirparents.

VSDP Director Elison Bovu organised the cutting down of trees to make way for a fence to define the boundary and prevent people from using the property as a right-of-way. During the week, Stuart and a couple of local helpers dug fence post holes in the heavy coral strata and rebuilt thefence.

Stage 2 at the end of last year involved 12 NZ Rotarians. It included the construction of an undercover play area for the early intervention programme - the Pikinini Group.

Stage 3 is the construction of a new office, kitchen and bathrooms, and Stage 4 is the demolition of the older section of the building. It is hoped that Stages 3 and 4 will be completed by the end of this year, according to the NZ Rotarians.

If anyone wishes to help on this project, please contact Marg Smith on

There are no reliable recent figures for the number of people with disabilities in Vanuatu, but as estimated by the World Health Organisation,10% of the global population has a disability. Given Vanuatu's currentestimated population of 243,034, it is likely that 24,303 people living in
Vanuatu have a disability.

- by Marg Smith who runs the NGO, Friends of People with Special Needs, in
Port Vila

Matamata Skateboard Park Six Way Partnership

Eli Hughes of Matamata performing skateboard tricks
 during a demonstration at the opening of the park
Matamata youth have upgraded skateboard park facilities, thanks to the efforts of their local Rotary club plus many businesses and organisations in the New Zealand Waikato town.

Originally built in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Matamata in the late 1980s, the area was in need of an upgrade, so after several years of planning and facilitating, an ambitious $94,000 upgrade was undertaken over three months which culminated in the official opening of the area in early November 2012.

Concrete work being undertaken to form
the skateboard park bowl during construction.
The local Matamata-Piako District Council contributed $50,000 to the upgrade with Rotary putting in $20,000 while local businesses, trusts, Kiwanis and Lions clubs came up with the balance of the funding.

Matamata Rotary President Graeme Guilford told a crowd of about 200 at the opening that the project was a shining example of what could be achieved if community groups worked together towards a common goal.

The ribbon was cut by Joyce Wheadon, widow of late Rotarian Jim Wheadon (PHF), who was a leading light in the original skateboard park construction in Matamata.

Matamata Rotary also took the opportunity at the event to award a Paul Harris Fellow to Rotarian Ross Bay, who was the driving force behind ensuring the upgrade was completed on time, below budget and to a very high standard. Ross put his heart and soul into the project, spending countless hours assisting the paid contractor to complete the work.

The proof of the upgrade success is seen in the numbers of young people enjoying the facility, and the crowd at the opening was treated to some highflying aerobatics by several of the more accomplished Matamata teenagers before more than 70 youngsters also took to the concrete to conclude the opening.

Canterbury Rotary clubs combined to bring a bit of colour to Christchurch

From this

The brainchild of District 9970 Ashburton Rotarian Walter Van Der Kley, ColourMe Christchurch was born on November 4, 2012 because, since the devastating earthquakes, parts of Christchurch had become an unattractive city of vacant land and dust.

Step in 15 local Rotary clubs and 15 vacant lots plus hundreds of volunteers, and by the end of December this landscape had changed to one of beauty.

To this
ColourMe Christchurch set out to plant wild flowers with attractive borders around each plot.  The borders were designed using large truck tyres painted terra cotta, each emblazoned with the Rotary logo.  They were placed around the edge of each plot and filled with Petunias. 

In all more than 100 truck tyres were donated and used.  Behind these, liberal quantities of wild flower seeds were sown (totalling more than 30 kgs).

Done by these Rotarians
Each participating club was involved in the watering and maintenance of their plot.  In most cases, this meant members arriving with various containers of water, and in some instances members of the public emptying their water bottles as they went to work.

The largest plot was nearly 2000 square metres, and it was planted out with more than 1000 Sunflower and 3200 Petunia plants, plus more than 4kgs of wild flowers. On this site we were able to tap into the local water supply and some makeshift irrigation was installed. 
and letting the commuity know who their supporters are

ColourMe Christchurch signage was erected at each site that listed our major sponsors and the contact phone number for enquiries about membership.  We have received a lot of good publicity from the written media, and also a couple of spots on both local and national television. 

Our goal to make a difference has been achieved. Christchurch can be proud once again to call itself “the Garden City”.

-          By Gordon Hooper, District 9970 Governor 2012-13

Related links: 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

District Conferences 2013 a huge draw-card

This post is to illustrate that Rotary conferences in the New Zealand-based districts are varied and a packed full of Rotary, social and recreational activity.  Rotarians and partners will have a lot of fun at their district's 2013 conference!

District 9910 - Norfolk Island
This isn’t actually a conference. With only four mornings of Rotary business scheduled over the course of a full week on Norfolk Island, it’s really a fabulous holiday in the company of good friends with some conference-like activity thrown in.  Let’s call it a ‘holiconfriday’.

Joint Districts 9920 and 9940 - Rotorua
The conference theme is “Pushing Boundaries” creating an atmosphere of action and achievement to make Rotary relevant in today’s changing world, and make real change with an emphasis on Family and Youth.
District 9930 - Napier
The international Family of Rotary conference.
District 9970 - Methven
District 9980 - Invercargill

The theme of the Conference, “Wild 45 South” has been chosen with many thoughts in mind:
· ...wild southern food;
· ...wild southern weather (possibly);
· ...and some wild (but also warm and friendly) southern people
· ...our District straddles the 45th Parallel

These conferences are a small illustration of the social aspect of Rotary. 

Members usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which is a social event as well as an opportunity to organize work on their service goals. 

Then there are the specific social events organised for members and their families that a club might have during the year with an amazing variety and level of innovation going into these.  Rotary International holds an annual Convention, next in Lisbon, which is open to any Rotarian with their family plus there are over 99 vocational and recreational "fellowships" that Rotarians and their families can belong to - examples of popular recreational Fellowships in NZ-based districts are Caravanning, Yachting, Cricket, Flying, Motorcycling etc.  And there are many more social opportunities for Rotarians.


Keep success to the forefront

The Rotary brand is who we are, what Rotary does, and why it matters. Enhancing public image and awareness is one of Rotary International’s three strategic priorities and strengthening Rotary’s brand is a critical part of this. Rotary Down Under has the goal of promoting the Rotary brand as described above. The stories of successful projects and events told through articles and pictures contribute significantly to promoting the Rotary brand with direct benefits back to the clubs and projects.  

The wider the distribution of such articles the better and the positive contribution towards achieving district and club goals around membership and publicity and their flow-on effects is significant. The Rotary Down Under magazine and the Rotary success stories blog at   are a significant part of keeping success to the forefront.

RDU continues to welcome articles specifically created for the Rotary Down Under magazine but it is also appropriate for those sending articles to other media such as the local newspaper or the district newsletter to simply add   to that email’s CC. line so that Rotary Down Under can support the club or project through additional publicity. It is good practice to have the best quality you can for all articles and picture and for the magazine this is no more than 300 well written words and attached pictures of at least 300dpi in jpeg format (ie. attach the picture as it was taken by the camera).

The current issue of the Rotary Down Under magazine is packed full of useful Rotary information and Rotary success stories. The on-line version is available via  and subscribers can choose to receive their magazine digitally if they wish – this is as simple as requesting the change via the club Secretary.

Related links:
RI Strategic Plan Update

Monday, 21 January 2013

Rotary extends into Highbrook with new club chartered

In District 9920, the Rotary Club of Pakuranga in Auckland, NZ hosted the official charter on December 17, 2012 of a new Rotary club based at nearby Highbrook. 

DG Ron Seeto presenting the framed Charter
to new Highbrook President Richard Myhre.
District Governor Ron Seeto welcomed 21 new Highbrook Rotarians into the first new Rotary club formed in central, east and south Auckland for nine years, with the challenge to “take risks rather than limit your vision, think globally, cultivate empathy, and stay amazed at what can be achieved through Rotary International”.

DG’s Special Representative Ken Holmes, who is a Pakuranga Past President, led the establishment of the new Rotary club centred on the new 108 hectare Highbrook industrial park.  He introduced the new members with a reminder of the important Rotary emphasis on ethics and integrity in behaviour and activities, and each new Rotarian was given a framed Four-Way Test.

The Highbrook Rotary Club has already completed one service project assisting Habitat for Humanity on the upgrade of a local property.  Charter President Richard Myhre is very optimistic for further membership growth of Highbrook Rotary, considering the values of fellowship, vocational networking and good humanitarian contribution that can be achieved by further motivating businesses located in and around Highbrook.          

New Highbrook Rotarians celebrating
their charter occasion with
9920 DG Ron Seeto and Sharon.  
One additional highlight arranged by Pakuranga was a live Skype meeting with the 100th President of the Rotary Club of Edinburgh in Scotland, who welcomed Highbrook’s Richard into the international fraternity of 2012-13 Rotary Club Presidents.

The charter proceedings concluded with official recognition from Past Rotary International President Bill Boyd, who emphasised the on-going service vision of Rotary that should take its own local shape in each unique club.

This is the second new club extension project fostered by Pakuranga Rotary in its 43 year history, and both were headed by Ken.  In this case, Pakuranga incorporated the charter at their own club’s Christmas function, which was also attended by partners and many visiting Rotarians.

The Rotary Club of Highbrook meets over breakfast on Tuesdays from 7:00am for 7:15 am to 8.30am at the RSM Prince boardroom at 86 Highbrook Drive. 


Rotary Community Corps ... in NZ communities?

A Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is a group of non-Rotarian men and women who share Rotary’s values and commitment to service. With the guidance and support of their sponsor Rotary clubs, RCCs plan and implement projects that address issues affecting their communities such as health, literacy, safety, employment, and the environment. They may also help support Rotary club service efforts. Currently there are more than 7,000 Community Corps in over 80 countries.

Across the six New Zealand-based districts there is at present only one RCC … within District 9940. Within District 9920 (the southern half of Auckland, New Zealand and 7 Pacific Island nations), there is interest by several clubs in establishing RCC in Auckland, particularly the Pacific Island communities, and in the Pacific.  There is a target for this Rotary year of one in Auckland and one in the Pacific Islands.

The major goals of the Rotary Community Corps programs are to:

·         To encourage individuals to take responsibility for the improvement of their community

·         To mobilise self help activities and collective work to improve the quality of life

More specifically in Auckland, examples of the sort of things Rotary-RCCs can do include: 

1.      Linking with South Auckland Pacific Island community leaders on community support
2.      Environmental projects, clean ups, planting/ weeding – developing from existing interest groups
3.      Teen parent education support
4.      Homeless support network
5.      Empowering low income with budgeting and options
6.      Engage businesses to contribute to Pacific disaster aid (eg. Emergency Response Kits - ERKS)

And the examples based on Pacific needs would be even longer.

RCCs empower community members to initiate and implement their own service projects and facilitate collaboration between Rotarians and non-Rotarians in their community development endeavors. RCCs can flourish anywhere in the world where Rotary exists.

This is its main strength as it encourages Rotary clubs to get involved with real & substantial community issues. People who only want to help in specific areas can join with likeminded others and have the backing of a Rotary Club – and possible grant opportunities.

There are other ancillary benefits in that this would also be a tool to engage more people with Rotary to assist small & struggling clubs.   Many clubs have ad hoc helpers who come and go but few have a well organised system for including non-Rotarians and the structure surrounding RCC would create this providing an almost unlimited opportunity for non-Rotarians to be associated with Rotary through service.  With their exposure and growing understanding of Rotary, some RCC members may wish to join Rotary.

The concept seems to be one where the use of Social Media may be a powerful support tool.

The District 9920 development of RCC is being overseen by Roger Harvey, District 9920 WCS Committee (Contact for Rotarians:  Click Here)
Link for more information:

There is a discussion around this new initiative on the District 9920 LinkedIn page that those with comments can join - all contributions welcome.

Bay of Islands 50th Anniversary

Members of the Rotary Club of Bay of Islands wanted to mark the milestone of their club’s 50th birthday in February 2013 in their home town of Paihia, New Zealand. So when local group, Focus Paihia, announced that they would run a Community Chair competition, it seemed the perfect answer.

Members had only three weeks to design and construct a seat that would be quirky, colourful and eye-catching whilst promoting both Rotary and the Bay of Islands Rotary Club.

Displaying great creative flair, the design team drew up plans which would incorporate the club’s mascot - a marlin - and the Rotary wheel. Luckily the team could also draw on the technical expertise of a member who constructed and built the chair to be a permanent outdoor fixture. The Paihia Memorial Hall was chosen as the site for the Rotary Community Chair because of the close connection to the club, through community service projects which have seen the gardens rejuvenated and the outside of the building repainted.

The chair was judged by Focus Paihia and awarded third prize of $100, which will be used by the club for further community projects. The judges commented, “it is a well-executed and beautifully painted chair celebrating 50 years of service to the Bay of Islands”. So if you are holidaying in the Bay of Islands, take a break, and have a rest on the Rotary chair.


8 year-old Family of Rotary member a Christmas wrapping star

Rotary Club of Porirua Sundown President Gordon Beattie’s grand-daughter Sophie Beattie, from Cyprus Point, Lytham, UK visited Porirura city (north of Wellington, NZ) on her Christmas holiday. This eight year old helped raise over $8,000 (4,200 pounds) at the Rotary Club of Porirua Sundown’s Christmas gift wrapping fundraiser in the local shopping mall at North City. The money will help local causes.

Sophie Beattie wearing her grandfather Gordon Beattie’s Rotary Club of Porirua Sundown presidential chain of office and cap.


New Zealander Carole Young is this year President of International Inner Wheel.  She leads one of the largest voluntary women's organisations in the world with a membership of over 100,000 in 103 countries.

Carole joined Inner Wheel in the small mid-North Island town of Opotiki in 1986.  She was National Representative/ President of Inner Wheel NZ from 2004-2006, which culminated in hosting the International Inner Wheel Convention in Christchurch in 2006. 

After serving as an International Board director for two years, Carole was elected International Inner Wheel Vice-President, and this year she became only the third woman from NZ to hold the position of International President. 

Carole Young with Jocelyn
Smith and John Gardner
from the Salvation Army
Carole visits many countries in her current role, and recently celebrated the 80th birthday of the Inner Wheel Club of North Sydney, the oldest club outside Great Britain where Inner Wheel was founded in 1924.  This was followed by a visit to Bali where Carole chartered the Inner Wheel Club of Bali Seminyak, the first club in Indonesia. 

Within NZ, Carole has visited all five districts, encouraging members to follow her simple theme for the year Be A Friend, and to support the International Inner Wheel social project Happier Futures - helping children around the world now.   Clubs and districts throughout the world are working on projects within their communities from which thousands of children will benefit.  A more poignant moment was a visit to Christchurch where Carole presented cheques to the Salvation Army and the Earthquake Survivors’ Trust.  Inner Wheel members within NZ and around the world were very generous in supporting those in need after the ongoing earthquakes.
Carole Young with Summer Oliver
and members of the
Christchurch Earthquake Survivors' Trust

Carole also works within the community as a Justice of Peace, and regularly presides in the local Criminal Court.  She is a Funeral Celebrant, and has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal in recognition of her community work. 


The world’s their oyster

Maddie with the Brazilian exchange student, Alexandra Flores,
living in the same town in Germany at the language camp
organised by District 1860 for the exchange students
who arrived in August 2012.
Two International Youth Exchange students sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Plimmerton and Porirua Sundown in Wellington, NZ have just returned from their year overseas.
Madeleine White returned from Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.  Maddie had a wonderful time enjoying the many sights of Germany and further afield around Europe whilst studying at a German secondary school.  ‘While it is great to be home, I am hoping to get back to Germany soon and travel more abroad in the future’ she says. 
Learning to live with other families who speak a different language can be interesting and sometimes testing, but the chance to be immersed in the language helped Maddie to develop her German. She is now fluent in both the spoken and written language, and has grown to love Germany, the culture and people there.
Maddie is keen to stay in touch with the new friends she has made, not only those from Germany but also the other exchange students she met from around the world and also her host families.  ‘It was a special feeling to be an ambassador for New Zealand, which is the furthest country from Germany on earth’, said Maddie.

Georgina (centre) with Shaylin (Canada) a
nd Renwick (America),
two other Exchange students,
 trying on kimonos at a textile store
Georgina Paskell also just returned from a year in Aichi in Japan. She spent her year living with several different host families in Nagoya, Japan whilst she attended Aichi High School, a private Buddhist school. ‘I really enjoyed making many friends, both at school and through Rotary’, said Georgina. ‘My highlights were my school trip to Hokkaido, taking part in my school festival and attending a popular fireworks festival with the other Rotary exchange students’.

‘It will be hard to find a better experience than this exchange’, she Georgina.  She wants Japan to be a part of her future. Whether she lives in New Zealand or Japan, she expects the Japanese language to be an important part of her career.
And one student sponsored by the Rotary Club of Plimmerton just left for her year abroad.
Mihi Gardiner-Parata left Wellington to make her way to Doullens (two hours north of Paris) where she’ll spend the next twelve months. The area where Mihi will be living is in the heart of the cemeteries around the Somme where so many battles took place during the First World War.

Mihi, centre, being farewelled by her mother,
Hekia and sister, Rakai.
At the airport, Mihi said, ‘I am very excited but haven’t thought much yet past the two days I’ll be spending in Los Angeles with the other exchange students’. Mihi’s sister, Rakai was at the airport to farewell her sister and to give her some last-minute tips. She came back to New Zealand in January 2012 after spending a year in Araraquara in Brazil.

-      By Wendy Betteridge, Rotary Club of Plimmerton, Wellington, NZ

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Makino Rotary and Solomon Islands Book Project

Books leaving Feilding, NZ
on route to Whenuapai Air Force Base
Makino Rotarian Nigel Ramsden’s son Mark is the New Zealand High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands.  Mark approached his father for assistance for Gizo School which has 1000 primary and secondary students, a new library, but few books.  There was a need at this school for school reference books.  It led to a project by Makino Rotary in Fielding, NZ to find and ship books up to the Solomon Islands.


Books at Henderson Airfield in Honiara, Solomon Islands
being unloaded from the Royal NZ Air Force
63 boxes of books have been sent to the Gizo Area School which is in the Western Province of Solomon Islands, to begin stocking their empty new library. With magnificent assistance from the NZ High Commissioner in the Solomons, NZ Defence staff and Makino Rotarians, this project was completed at little cost to Rotary through a generous charity freight grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The total cost to the club was only $396 for freight to Whenuapai Air Force Base in Auckland. 

This will be an ongoing project, with the next shipment due to go in March 2013, with books, pencils and stationery being collected now.

From small requests great things can happen through Rotary partnerships.


We are absolutely unique in New Zealand and the Pacific in that all our six districts and all their clubs own a website  that it is a primary administration, communication and resource tool for all Rotarians, clubs, districts and district committees. Nowhere else is this unity available to join us together in a way that improves the eectiveness of our clubs and districts in providing service to the community, and to have a single place that the public can go to understand Rotary in our area and contact the clubs local to them. The website is promoted by all the regular national Rotary advertsing. Most clubs in New Zealand and the Pacific understand the strength of this collective website association.

The website is secure with no direct cost to clubs and is for Rotarians, clubs, district and district committees to use – every Rotarian member of a club has the right to and should have member-only access. The website is suitable for use with PCs, Tablets and Smartphones. Every club and district committee has a web presence with full access to the functionality of the site which is fully html editable and has unlimited pages for text, pictures, inserting videos, linking to Social Media plus many more valuable features. It is fair to say that this site, that you own, is most likely to be able to do what you want of a website and does not need a “techo” in the club to keep it looking great. The trick is to ask for some help in learning how to use it – for this have a look at  which includes guides and people to contact.
- from the District 9940 Newsletter, page 7.