Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Woman’s Worth – celebrating women in Rotary

The March Rotary Down Under magazine is dedicated to the wonderful work of women in Rotary.

When Paul Harris and his mates formed Rotary back in 1905, there was no mention of Rotary as an organisation for men to the exclusion of women.  Women have always played an important role in Rotary yet they comprise only 16% of Rotarians world-wide.  Some clubs in New Zealand-based districts (although still the exception) have 50% or more women ... often driven around couples joining the club.

Read The Winning Edge on page 12 of this issue and you will be insisting your club increases its gender diversity to ensure your club performs as well as it can as that increased diversity is likely to yield better outcomes as women bring their special touch … it simply makes sense. 

As one woman Rotarian said “Have we made a difference? You bet we have!” 

Read this exciting issue and pass on your magazine to other women in your community who would make good Rotarians so they might consider joining your club, or send them the link to read on-line (this issue from 1 March) at  

Related Links:

Rotary contacts via 0800 4 ROTARY (in New Zealand), or

23 years old and having a fantastic time as a Rotarian

Connor Phipps is 23 years old and proud to be a member of the Rotary Club of Drury. 

The following is a letter from Connor Phipps to District Governor Ron Seeto (9920) about his experience with RYLA as published on

I am 23 years old and I am a member of the Rotary club of Drury. I recently had the privilege of attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) in Queensland, Australia. I went to the RYLA course held in the Rotary District 9640, where the course was run in a beautiful area called Tyalgum Ridge Retreat. Tyalgum is approximately one and a half hours drive from the Gold Coast and upon arriving at the destination it is officially in the state of New South Wales.

My Rotary Club of Drury has a sister club being the Rotary Club of Surfers Paradise and a way in which to bring our two clubs closer together we have agreed to send a person from NZ to attend RYLA in Australia and then a person in Australia will be sent to attend RYLA in our District each year. I was privileged to be selected by my club to go and attend the RYLA course in Australia.

RYLA was an incredible experience for me, I was not sure what to expect or what I would gain and learn from the experience. There is a huge amount of secrecy leading into the course so even before you get there the nerves are definitely running high! I look back on all the experiences that I had during my week at RYLA and am constantly amazed by how quickly we went from being strangers to becoming great friends. I cannot think of many courses in which you go from being complete strangers to knowing each other better than what some of your friends and family you have known your whole life do in just one week.

During the course we had varying activities, the days were always full on and nonstop. We had great speakers come along, all with different stories and messages that really inspire you. We also had plenty of outdoor activities which involved getting very muddy at times which was great fun and filled with plenty of laughs.

Since RYLA I have been asked many times what I gained from this course and I seem to find that words cannot truly describe the experience that I went through. I like to think of it as a transformation process in which RYLA is just the beginning. It gives you the confidence, skills and friends to be able to go back to the outside world and know what you may need to change and how to change it. For me personally it put many things into perspective and showed me the tools needed to improve and achieve my goals in life. One of the biggest things I walked away with was how proud I am to be a Rotarian, to know that there are these courses but to also see how majorly this course impacted on peoples’ lives reinforced why I joined Rotary.

Connor Phipps Rotarian ROTARY DRURY

Rotary Club of Parnell achieves $1 million of cumulative donations to Alzheimer’s Auckland

Three hundred golfers helped the Rotary Club of Parnell and Countdown achieve their goal of raising $150 000 for Alzheimers Auckland at the annual Countdown Charity Golf tournament at Titirangi Golf Club.  The achievement brings the total raised for Alzheimers Auckland to $1.1 million .

Parnell Club’s 38 members turned up at 5.45am on the day to start preparing the course and then run the tournament. Most worked until early evening and some did not leave until 10.30pm. Behind the scenes, and for months leading up to the tournament, a small committee of the club had worked closely with Countdown and Alzheimers to make the event so successful.

Countdown management and its suppliers sponsor holes, donate food and prizes, set up food and beverage stations around the course and enter corporate teams to play on the day. The first round tees off at 7.15am and the second tees off early afternoon. The 300 players are provided with branded player shirts, caps and goodie bags and following their round of golf they return to the club house for lunch (or dinner) and to participate in an auction. Every player receives a prize but the winners get the biggest ones

Alzheimer’s Auckland supports dementia sufferers and their families across the wider Auckland region.  There are already approximately 48 000 people living in New Zealand with dementia, and the number is expected to double over the next twenty years.  The $150 000 from the tournament goes towards the society’s operating costs



Monday, 25 February 2013

2013 Maketu Kaimoana Festival - a fantastic event with a record setting crowd

Eight centuries ago when the great Maori navigator, Tametekapua, beached his waka (canoe) on the shores of Aotearoa he could have never envisioned the future of his new home.  And most certainly, he could not have pictured a festival taking place, virtually on the spot where he landed, which celebrated the abundant  kaimoana (seafood)  in that place which today is aptly called the Bay of Plenty.

Eight years ago, when a fledging Maketu Rotary club was establishing itself in the small village where Tamatekapua landed, little could they have imagined that the Kaimoana Festival  they had created as their first major fundraising project would become one of the Bay of Plenty’s most popular annual summer events.

The Kaimoana Festival, now in its sixth year, was the vision of the club’s second president, Julie Crossley.   She notes that “the first festival started with a roar and ended with a splash”.  Ticket pre-sales had resulted in a “Sold Out” sign going up a few days before the event.  And then on the day of the event, the heavens opened to deliver one of the heaviest rainstorms the village had seen.  Nonetheless, many hearty Kiwi festival goers showed up and some had to have their cars pulled out of the mud before they could go home.

Undaunted, the Maketu Rotarians soon launched into planning the next year’s festival, and the next, and the next.  And this February the Maketu Kaimoana Festival delivered its sixth “Celebration of Seafood”, this time to record crowds. 

Locals often refer to their community as “Magic Maketu”, and with good reason.  With a population of just 1,000 it is the home of several outstanding volunteer organisations.  These include a fire brigade that was recently named New Zealand’s number one brigade, a sea rescue unit that operates  under the New Zealand Coastguard umbrella and has responsibility for hundreds of square kilometers of the bay, and a surf lifesaving club that engages many local youth and provides  vital beach patrols during the summer months.  

These, and other community organisations become part of the Kaimoana Festival from assisting with set-up, to providing first aid on the day, to staffing  the event, to running stalls that generate funds for their own group.  In the end they, and many other community projects, share in the rewards.

Charles Peni, this year’s Kaimoana Festival chairman and past club president, says that Maketu is filled with people who embody Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self ”.   He added, “so it is no surprise that this tiny village can support a vibrant Rotary club of 30 members”.

But the magic of Maketu Rotary’s Kaimoana Festival doesn’t stop with supporting the local community.   The club has a policy that commits 10% of every fundraising effort to The Rotary Foundation.  This policy has resulted in making the club one of the top annual Foundation contributors in District 9930.  And, it has also inspired personal giving to The Rotary Foundation by its members.

The 2013 Maketu Kaimoana Festival closed on a high note with the crowd getting to its feet and dancing to the pulsating music of the “Sunrise Rockers”.  What made this especially sweet was that the “Sunrise Rockers” are a top band composed of members of the Rotorua Sunrise Rotary Club,  just an hour down the road from Maketu. 

On the surface the Maketu Kaimoana Festival appears to be all about seafood.  But in reality it’s all about people.   It’s about building a community  and supporting people who serve that community in a variety of ways.  It’s about Rotarians who really rock, from collecting tickets to belting it out on stage.
Related Links:

Click here to read about the behind-scenes aspects of promoting this event.

Porirua Sundown Rotary’s Visit to Takapuwahia Marae

Rotary Club of Porirua Sundown members attended the Waitangi Day February 6 celebration at Takapuwahia Marae, in Porirua, New Zealand. The group was there as guests of the Mayor of Porirua Nick Leggett, who also invited new migrant families who have moved to the area from overseas.

The ceremony started with a welcome (or powhiri in Maori) on to the marae. Rotarian Pania Houkamau-Ngaheu began with the exchange of calls (karanga) which clears the spiritual pathway for the ancestors of the host and visitors to meet. We were then challenged by a warrior who laid a leaf on the ground. The leader of the menfolk picked the leaf up to show that we came in peace. The women were led into the wharenui (meeting house) first, followed by the men. There were a series of speeches and waiata (songs) in Maori, followed by the traditional greeting (hongi) for the hosts (tangata whenua) to greet their special guests. Then there was a welcome in English and an interesting history of the Ngatitoa tribe.

The interior of the whare was decorated with traditional carvings with woven wall coverings.

It was a very interesting visit and a great opportunity to experience the local Maori culture. All of the visitors really appreciated the opportunity to visit the marae on such a significant day.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

District 9920 Rotary Day Flashmob

Also watch the flashmobs by Apia Rotaract, Samoa (very polished) and Rotary in Bora Bora, French Polynesia  .


The Peace Dance held at Mission Bay early afternoon on Sat 23 February (Rotary Day and World Peace Day) was an outstanding publicity event for Rotary and heaps of fun for all. This video shows some of the 100+ Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors, friends and fans involved.

The day was bright and sunny and Mission Bay was chock-full of people enjoying a summer day at the seaside so it takes little imagination to understand their surprise when suddenly a large group start a dance! Fantastic!  Similar Flashmob events were also held in 4 Pacific Island nation locations.

One group from the Rotary Club of Alfriston described the event this way:

It was a dark & stormy night.  No! It was a bright & sunny day, when we found themselves picnicking at Mission Bay.

We had found a shady table & spread out the lunchtime fare.  At that point we noticed some furtive activity.

Some sort of gathering of people, slightly older than the “bright young things” that usually inhabit the beach, were seen loitering with intent.

They seemed to have the fountain surrounded, & their motives were unclear.  Some bore strange circular insignias upon their clothing.

The sound of the Nation Anthem emanating from a huge speaker seemed to be a signal, & a level of alertness went through the group. Suddenly some moved in unison & started to wave their arms around. This seemed a strange ritual dance, with the fountain as it’s focus.

A banner was unfurled & all was revealed.

It was Rock ‘N’ Rotary: Ends Polio Builds Peace.

The word was out. This was not a mid-summer Druid ritual, but sober Rotarians risking their dignity to promote polio eradication & world peace.

Once the inhibitions were loosened then they did it all again, as an ensemble, for the waiting paparazzi.
MORE ...  


"District 9920" is a Rotary Interantional administrative area that includes half of Auckland from Queen Street in Auckland's CBD to the Bombay Hills to the south and American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kirimati, Samoa, Tonga

Contact Rotary via 0800 4 ROTARY (in NZ) or


The Rotary Club of Milford has successfully completed a project to construct six hand-pump fresh water wells for impoverished families and their children in rural Cambodia.

Two of the wells were constructed in Preydong and four in Rokayear – these villages are both around 20 kms from Siem Reap.

Approximately 150 people get to share each well.   Prior to construction of the wells they were required to walk long distances to obtain water from a similar source.

This project developed following a talk to our club by Dr John Tan who is a lecturer at Massey University.   John has an interest in the provision of wells to Cambodia and visits the area regularly.   Subsequent discussions with Dr Tan lead to his help with implementing the project.

With zero Cambodian administration and management fees we were able to install these wells at a cost of only US$161.00 each!

Clean water in rural Cambodia remains a precious commodity as most villages still have no clean drinking water.   Water borne disease such as typhoid and chronic diarrhea contribute hugely to the high child mortality rate in that country.

With the success of the management and construction of these initial six wells the club is considering extending the project to construct further wells and inviting other clubs to participate.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Peace Dance Swoops on Mission Bay

Around 100 Rotarians, family and friends are tripped the light fantastic in a Dance for Peace, at Mission Bay today.

“District 9920 Rock’N’Rotary Ends Polio Builds Peace”

They formed a flash mob making a big statement about world peace at the Mission Bay Fountain on saturday 23 February 12.30pm. Check-out
The dance was specially choreographed and rehearsed. Music was written by Sons of Zion, a hip New Zealand group.

The flash mob celebrated Rotary’s leadership in this year’s international theme “Peace through Service” as well as the international organisation’s success in coming within a hair’s breadth of wiping out polio worldwide so far.

For decades, Rotary has been the major funder of vaccination programmes internationally for polio in affected nations. Recently, the organisation was joined by the Gates Foundation, creating a fund of US$450 million to continue the fight against the disease.

23 February also marks the day, 108 years ago, that Rotary was founded (in 1905). (Rotary came to New Zealand in 1921)

Saturday’s flash mob has been brought together by District 9920, which includes clubs in New Zealand (mainly in Auckland) and a Peace Dance also occurred in this maritime District’s seven Pacific Island countries.

“This event also marks our clubs’ involvement in fundraising and service in New Zealand – which continues to be very, very significant,” says District 9920 Governor Ron Seeto (who was dancing).

Rotary’s achievements in New Zealand thus far include:
- Rotary brought defensive driving courses to New Zealand.

Rotary was instrumental in establishing Outward Bound in New Zealand.

Rotary established and funded the first Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland.

Rotary initiated Cure Kids (under the banner of the National Child Health Research Foundation) in 1971, and provided foundation funding for the chair of paediatrics at Auckland Medical School.

Planting on Motutapu. Rotary was the initiator of native tree planting schemes on Motutapu Island, that have since seen much of the island become thickly forested – attracting back native birds.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, given annually to students to recognise their potential. They include a one week residential course to build leadership.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Rotary Day - ShelterBox

ShelterBox Response Team in Jordan
Rotary and ShelterBox work together to bring 'service above self' in disaster areas

'Thanks so much for your time, efforts and great initiative. It was a great pleasure to meet you and discuss such a noble cause. You have all the Rotarians in Jordan as your family so whatever you need please let us know.' Ola Almasri, President of Amman Cosmopolitan Rotary Club, Jordan.

Rotarians around the world have continued to support ShelterBox since the international disaster relief charity was founded over a decade ago. Not only do they raise vital funds but they also continue to provide essential logistical support during ShelterBox's deployments worldwide.

Cementing this is the Rotary International (RI) project partnership that was signed in 2012 by RI and ShelterBox. It has built on both organisations' strengths in responding to disasters globally and provides service opportunities for Rotarian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members and Rotarians in country.

An SRT has recently returned from Jordan where an average of 2,000 Syrians have been crossing the border every day over the past month,

'Fantastic support'

'We had fantastic support from the Rotary Clubs of Jordan which enabled us to find the most suitable way to distribute ShelterBox tents that would benefit the refugees the most,' said SRT member Ian Neal (UK).

'One key contact is Rtn Mushen R. Mufleh from Amman West Rotary Club. Thanks to his hard work and extensive network of connections we have been able to position ourselves effectively to respond to the growing refugee crisis. Through him, we were able to distribute transit shelters with the border guards along the Syria/Jordan border providing a rest area for newly arriving Syrian families before they continue their long journey to their destination in Jordan.'

Rtn Mushen R. Mufleh is a proud family man who has semi-retired from business and assisted the SRT with logistics and translation:

'My work with ShelterBox has enabled me to raise awareness of the organisation amongst fellow Rotarians and other contacts here who share the common interest of helping others. Promoting the partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary International has inspired others to help Syrian people fleeing to Jordan, whether that's through the offer of assistance to pitch tents or fundraising amongst their own networks.'

The Jordanian Rotary Committee also agreed to purchase 3,000 mattresses, 3,000 coats and 3,000 shoes to augment the ShelterBox gear to help Syrian families with the harsh cold conditions.

Hurricane Sandy

After Hurricane Sandy hit Northeast USA last October, ShelterBox reached out to the most impacted districts to check on Rotarians and learn what their communities were experiencing in the wake of the disaster. Rotarians joined forces with ShelterBox with the 'service above self' ethos very much in their hearts to help bring assistance and blankets to over 6,000 people.

Rotarians also have service opportunities by being SRT members, such as Rtn Sonny Ongkiko (PH), who has recently been helping typhoon survivors in the Philippines. ShelterBox was able to respond immediately to the disaster by having in country Response Teams assessing the need within 24 hours. At the same time, through Sonny's local Rotary club contacts, he has been able to raise vital funds and awareness for ShelterBox through his Rotary club.

These are just some of the many examples of how Rotary benefits ShelterBox's disaster relief work; together they help more communities in need around the world at the time they need it the most.

ShelterBox would like to thank the global Rotary networks for all of your continuous support at times of disaster and efforts in raising awareness and funds for families affected by disaster.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Disaster Strikes Samoa and Rotary Responds

After a natural disaster, citizens and friends far and wide have a natural feeling of urgency to help those affected. Our cyclone battered country was no exception.  However, many are stuck to know exactly ‘how’ to help.  Do you send money? Clothes? Food? If so then, who do we send it to and how can you be sure it gets to those who are in need?  Taking a step back, how do communities and families prepare to help themselves after unprecedented flooding and gale winds?  History will have us anticipate a cyclone every so often as a pacific island prone to such events.  Logically, locals should be able to know on the top of their head what to do and what is needed during and after the cyclone. 

For Rotary Club of Apia, one of Samoa’s small but more active charitable clubs, the rally of Rotary Emergency Recover Kits or ERK’s as it is called by members, arrived as soon as the flights were allowed back into Faleolo Airport.  Over 200 ERK’s from Rotary NZ have been distributed to the devastated areas of Upolu affected by the worse flooding ever recorded in Samoa’s history.  The first shipment of 100 ERKs were delivered on the 22nd December 2012 by volunteers to Ma’agao, Lelata, Fa’atoia all the way through to Aai o Niue, Levili and Mo’ataa.  This was the area where some fourteen lives were taken and over 100 homes were destroyed.  The second shipment of another 100 ERK’s were delivered to the southern rural region of Upolu to Siumu, Maninoa, Mulivai and all along the coast.

What many wanted to know was the ERKs contained. Each box had supplies for ten people and was well suited to meet the needs of the average Samoan family.  Open one up and you would find some amazing things that even the most prepared could not have thought of. Filled to the brim with: a first aid kit, machete to remove fallen branches and trees; gumboots to walk through waist deep mud from flood remnants; large tarpaulin and rope; cutlery set of ten cups, plates, pots and pans; a birthing kit with disinfectant, birthing scissors, gloves, stitching needles and bandages; waterproof matches and candles; flash light and batteries; clothing; bathroom kit with soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste; panadols; buckets to carry water; and addition to this, the box itself was built to store about a gallon of water once the supplies were empty – Rotarians educated each family of the use of water purifier tablets to be dropped into the box making it safe to drink should they suspect the water contained was unsafe.  There were fifty purifier tablets in each box.

While handing the boxes to a family of seventeen who had lost everything including their home, the father was amazed that all the supplies were brand new.  He was humbled at the donation and was upset that he didn’t have any food to offer as was expected in Samoan hospitality.  The resilience and strong spirit of the locals came through as they smiled amidst their loss and greeted us with good humour cheerfully accepting our donations and sending us off with blessings. 

“Samoans are unbreakable, not a single person was wallowing in self-pity or waiting for help – they just go on with it and started cleaning up and clearing trees and logs out to rebuild.  They’re so resourceful and everyone came together to help each other get back on their feet”, reported one Rotarian.  The devastation caused was heartbreaking.  Behind the Apia Park stadium we saw a group of about twelve people including young ones of around nine to ten years old all lined up behind an enormous tree log trying to push and roll it onto smaller logs off of their tunoa (traditional cooking fale) so they can rebuild it.  Households with babies were thankful for the purifying tablets to allow them to prepare baby bottles and drink safe water.  Others gleamed as they put on their boots to protect their feet from the mud and debris allowing them to finally walk through their yard without getting cut up.

Rotary Club of Apia has come a long way in terms of experience and skill in dealing with disasters.  The 2009 tsunami saw it mobilizing hundreds of Shelter Boxes to the southern coast only two days after it hit.  At that same time Rotary immediately instigated its medical outreach programme (Rotary 5000) in partnership with the Oceania University of Medicine to provide medical care to victims.  “When our country is in need, we’ll be there and help wherever and however we can.  This is what Rotary is about – our members are loyal and motivated because we provide them the opportunity to help; to give back.  There are only a few of us and we have a workload of a hundred people but we strive to get things done despite our limitations.  We don’t let obstacles get in our way and the support from our people has always been the reward”, said President Toleafoa Douglas Creevey.  

President Toleafoa says there is and always has been enormous support from partner clubs of Rotary International for decades.  Samoa is the darling of the Pacific and for Rotary there is no exception – they love Samoa and want to help.  Dozens of clubs from New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa, Fiji and others all rushed in to send us aid and assistance.  We were privileged to have been sent the 200 ERKs from Rotary NZ.  Almost 2,000 people are now better off than they were when Cyclone Evan hit.

Rotary Club of Apia was established in 1971 and remains one of Samoa’s more active and longest serving charitable service clubs. It is recognized by DMO and the government of Samoa as one of their NGO partners in times of disaster.  More information can be obtained on

Submitted by: Phaedra Moors

Related Links:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

How long would you last without a lifejacket?

In Rotary we have many members who enjoy their boating, not just personally with their family and friends but also quite a number of clubs run fishing competitions or sailing days to fundraise or host students out for an on-water experience and of course there are many who are members of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians. 

Therefore, a question we could all ask when we do go boating is:

How long would you last without a lifejacket?  If you missed it, look at this short video about an experiment done on this topic in association with Auckland Coastguard:

Where Rotary is involved in an on-water project, safety is of course paramount and part of the usual risk management procedures that all districts have in place and should be used by clubs ... are you familiar with this .. and your district insurance cover?

Related Links:

Yachting Fellowship: (there are NZ & French Polynesian fleets)

Note that even if there is not a local branch of a Fellowship you can still join

Written by Colin Robinson

District 9940 makes significant contribution to The Rotary Foundation

Through the strong commitment of Rotarians Simon Manning and Brad McAneney, prominent Funeral Director partners in Wellington, New Zealand and owners of Martinborough House Vineyard in the Wairarapa, The Rotary Foundation has benefitted to the tune of $17,510 in 2012 from proceeds of wine sales in District 9940. A further $17,510 has been made available for community projects in the District.

“This is a very significant contribution to Rotary. All the money from wine sales to Rotarians and friends has been given directly to The Rotary Foundation and local communities”, says PDG David Watt, District 9940 Rotary Down Under Promotions Representative. Simon Manning, owner of Harbour City Funeral Home Ltd is a Past President of Hutt City Rotary and he is 9940 District Governor Nominee for 2015-2016.

Money from wine sales through Rotarians from Martinborough House Vineyard will continue to be available to The Rotary Foundation and other community causes. As Simon comments, “For us, it’s not about the money; it’s about the gift.”

Submitted by:  PDG David Watt, Rotary District 9940

Related Link:

The Rotary Foundation

Rotary Wine Appreciation Fellowship:

There is much more to Rotary than just the club

New Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Fellowships recognized

Learn more about getting involved with these new Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Fellowships that recently were recognized by the RI Board of Directors:

•   Rotarian Action Group for Peace:
•   Rotarian Action Group Against Child Slavery: Click here
•   Rotarians for Hearing Rotarian Action Group: contact 
•   The International Fellowship of Geocaching Rotarians:
•   Fellowship of Rotarian PDGs (and Friends):
•   Honorary Consuls’ Fellowship of Rotarians: contact  

Source: Rotary Service Update, February 2013.

Rotary Fellowships are autonomous, international groups of Rotarians, Rotarian spouses, and Rotaractors who join together to:

•   Share a common interest in worthwhile recreational activities (sports, hobbies, etc.)
•   Further their vocational development through acquaintance with others of the same profession
•   Make new friends around the world
•   Explore new opportunities for service
•   Have fun and enhance their Rotary experience

In New Zealand the Fellowships many Rotarians belong to are: Yachting, Flying, Caravanning, Motorcycling, Home Hosting, Cricket plus the many that members belong to without the need for a NZ branch such as computer users, social media, magicians, amateur radio and more ... about 90+ more. 

Any Rotarian can join and fees are usually minimal - an example is the Auckland Fleet of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians where the fee is $30, you do not need a boat to joing - just an interest in boating, and there next activity is a weekend on an island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Rotarian Action Groups provide assistance and support to Rotary clubs and districts in planning and implementing service projects in their respective areas of expertise. They are autonomous, international groups organized by committed Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, and Rotaractors who have expertise in and a passion for a particular type of service.


To view and subscribe to a range of Rotary newsletters

Sunday, 10 February 2013

ShelterBox responds to Solomon’s tsunami

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) from New Zealand is being deployed to the Solomon Islands in response to the  undersea earthquake and subsequent 1.5 metres (5ft) high tsunami that hit Temotu Province in the Solomon Islands on the 6th February 2013.

ShelterBox Response Team members Lyndon Tamblyn (Bulls) and Owen Smith (Kerikeri) both experienced response team leaders will leave as soon as flights become available. The ShelterBox SRT will work alongside staff from World Vision, our partner in the Solomon Islands who are currently assessing the damage and the need for shelter. Pre-positioned stocks of tents and ShelterBoxes have been made available for the disaster hit families.

A New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 is scheduled to leave this morning [11 February] for the Pacific. It will be carrying relief supplies into Honiara, donated to World Vision by The Warehouse and ShelterBox. Stocks include shelter, sanitation kits, tarpaulins, water containers, and chainsaw packs from the New Zealand Government.

According to George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister, some 100 homes and properties had been either damaged or destroyed.
Sipuru Rove, a spokesperson from the National Disaster Management Office in Honiara, said the relief effort was being hindered by debris at Lata airport. Planes are not yet able to bring relief supplies to the Islands because of damage to an airport that had been inundated by tsunami surges.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley said that his officers in Lata were helping to assess the damage and prepare for evacuation in the nearby villages. "Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives," he said. "Latest reports have indicated that the death toll has risen to thirteen, but there may of course be more."

More than 50 people were killed and thousands lost their homes in April 2007 when a magnitude-8.1 quake hit the western Solomon Islands, sending waves crashing into coastal villages.
The Solomon’s comprise more than 200 islands with a population of about 552,000 people. The islands lie on the "Ring of Fire" – an arc that stretches around the Pacific rim and where about 90% of the world's quakes occur.


The TEN will make a difference

THE most consistent comments made by those who attend any of the Rotary Leadership Institute courses is that they met some great new friends who they can continue to learn and share Rotary ideas and experiences with in the years ahead. 

The TEN plus trainers

And last weekend reinforced this as 10 Rotarians from 3 districts (including Cathy from French Polynesia) got together to become trained as RLI facilitators.  They had a great time.  Some were already experienced trainers in their professional lives and it is an endorsement of the quality of RLI that they learned from the training and are very keen to now help Rotarians learn more about Rotary through taking part in the courses that are run regularly in all NZ-based districts.  The weekend was hosted by district 9930 in Rotorua and with true Rotary hospitality those from out of town were home hosted.  Training was done by RLI Trainer Beryl Robinson and District 9930 Trainer Libby Gairdner, and across the districts there are now 95 trained facilitators. 

RLI is open to all Rotarians wanting to learn more about Rotary and improving their leadership skills, particularly in the volunteer environment.  The Rotary Leadership Institute course provides a practical mix of Rotary knowledge together with new leadership skills to prepare Rotarians for (hopefully, but not required to be) leadership positions in their clubs and their district.  The discussion-based learning structure of the course is the best method of adult learning and it allows the exchange of ideas with Rotarians from across a wide range of clubs and Rotary experiences. 

Course content is interactive in a number of ways

The course is over three one-day sessions taken at the Rotarian's pace but hopefully within an 18 month time frame and are:

Part 1: The Rotarian
Insights into Leadership
My Rotary World
Engaging Members
Our Foundation
Ethics – Vocational Service
Service Projects

Part 2: The Club
Strategic Planning & Analysis
(double module)
Targeted Service (Foundation)
Club Communications
Team Building
Attracting Members

Part 3: Your Rotary Journey
International Service
Effective Leadership Strategies
Rotary Opportunities
Public Image and Public Relations
Making a Difference

Please go to for:

• Description of RLI
• Overview of the RLI Division’s developments to date
• Links to the RLI curriculum
• RLI, New Zealand & Pacific Islands Division contacts etc

Monday, 4 February 2013

Emergency Response Kits

The supply of Emergency Response Kits in the Pacific has been depleted due to recent emergencies (cyclones) and more stocks are being assembled.  If you are interested in supporting this essential project go to

Ten kids with a better life thanks to Rotary and volunteer medical assistance

The following are photos of ten children from the Pacific Islands who have received lifesaving treatment in the last six months as the result of Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) and the kindness of medical staff in New Zealand who have donated their time to do the operations.

ROMAC Mission Statement:

“To provide within Australia and New Zealand, medical treatment for children 15 years and under, who are from developing countries, for life saving and/or dignity restoring surgery not available to them in their own country”
For more information go to
Related links:

Sunday, 3 February 2013

BABIES + BOOZE – A Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Youth Social Media Awareness Campaign

The risk to unborn babies from alcohol has been making headlines for decades but Kiwis don’t seem to be heeding the warnings.  At least 50 percent of women think that drinking some alcohol during pregnancy is safe and 80 percent of teen pregnancies are alcohol exposed, according to New Zealand surveys. 

Determined to do something about this, the Rotary Club of Parnell teamed up with two community organisations, Well Women’s & Family Trust and Alcohol Healthwatch Trust to turn this situation around. 

“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a hidden and very misunderstood disability and it can be difficult for young women to make the link between social drinking and future harm to their child”, says Christine Rogan from Alcohol Healthwatch’s Fetal Alcohol Network, who worked on the project.  Not to drink during pregnancy is an important message that needs to spread far and wide,” she says.

After consulting with communities and young people, the BABIES + BOOZE Youth Social Media Awareness Campaign was born.  Youth were involved in the design and production of a social media resource, filming and performing in the videos.  Their video material is accompanied on You-tube by discussion of the risk of drinking alcohol during pregnancy by Auckland Neonatologist Dr Simon Rowley as wells as poignant recollections of two birth mothers, whose drinking during pregnancy had an adverse effect on their children. 

“There is still a long way to go to reduce the risk of FASD, but our hope is that this campaign will start to get the message across to the future parents of this country”, says Ms Rogan.

Wallet-sized cards with key prevention messages and links to the You-Tube videos can be accessed from   

 The Campaign was launched at Ruapotaka Marae in Glen Innes on Thursday 18th October.

For further information contact:

Ms Ruth Davy, Rotary Club of Parnell Representative, Mob: 027 273 7033
Ms Christine Rogan, Fetal Alcohol Network NZ Coordinator   0274467371

--------------------------  Project and Project PR Synopsis ------------------------

This project received the December 2012 District 9920 PR Award

The purpose of the project was to:

•   to seek to educate potential parents of the risk of the mother drinking while pregnant
•   target teenage girls, initially in low socio economic groups since
    o    research has shown a high incidence of ‘binge drinking’ in this group and
    o    80% of all teenage pregnancies are unplanned. 

Since this group has little exposure to traditional mass media channels but is an intensive user of social media, we decided that the primary channel for communicating our education message would be social media and use relevant community groups and services to reinforce the message.


The education programme was launched on October 18 at Ruapotaka Marae and its uptake to date has been very satisfactory.

Social Media Coverage:

•   You tube “Babies and Booze” with 1,178 hits on 3 December 2012.
• or

Public Image Coverage:

•   Launch of the campaign at Ruapotaka Marae, Glen Innes, with significant media coverage including TVNZ Breakfast Show, radio interviews, Maori TV and promotion in public health media across New Zealand.
•   Medical and public health publications and websites have either profiled the campaign or created a link to the FASD website.

Other coverage:

•   A DVD resource to compliment the social media.
•   Business card promotion with key messages matching the graphics of the above.
•   Filming included to birth mothers’ experiences, two female actors (Pacific and Maori) relating a short version of birth mothers’ experiences, paediatrician Dr Simon Rowley discussing FASD, three plays performed by Maori and Pacific youth based on supporting your peers who are pregnant and how to get help.
•   The DVDs are being circulated throughout the community to education providers and service providers working with young pregnant women.

Educating the future leaders of Tanzania

The School of St Jude recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary by continuing to fight poverty through education. St Jude’s provides a free, high quality primary and secondary education to over 1,600 of the poorest, brightest students from Arusha, Tanzania. Its success and growth is not only a testament to the hardworking people on the ground, but to the unyielding support provided by individual Rotarians as well as Rotary clubs from around the world. Within ten years, St Jude’s has expanded to three beautifully manicured campuses, two boarding houses for over 1,000 students and a fleet of over 20 buses. The students are thriving beyond anybody’s wildest expectations. They continue to score tremendous results on national exams, garner top place finishes at sporting events, and impress teachers and community members with their maturity, ambition and intellect.

Rotarians and partners from Australia and New Zealand visit St Jude’s every year. Not only do they meet the students, some of which they sponsor, they also immerse themselves in Tanzanian culture by dancing with Maasai tribe choirs, dining on East African food and sharpening their bargaining skills at the second-hand markets. Some even travel on safari to admire the extensive wildlife, while others soak up sun on the beaches of Zanzibar.

Two of St Jude’s volunteer couples met and worked in Fiji in the early 90’s. Shean Gannon (now Acting School Director) worked as the manager of Minson Construction in Fiji for five years with his wife Carmel. There they met Australian couple Mick and Barb Muller (when Mick was working in the IT Department for an AusAid program). They all reunited as volunteers at St Jude’s. In 2012 they also had a visitor, Grace, from Christchurch who lived in Fiji around this same time. It was a memorable moment sitting at the small pub ‘The Water Hole’ outside St Jude’s when they all connected the dots and reminisced about their time in Fiji.

Since St Jude’s opened its gates in 2002, Rotary has been there every step of the way, from building the initial classroom blocks to hosting fundraisers and spreading the word. The work isn’t done yet. By 2015 the school will have a complete primary and secondary school, educating around 2,000 of the most disadvantaged students. In order to maintain the high quality of education that St Jude’s has come to represent, support is as crucial as ever.

 To learn about St Jude’s sponsorship program, make a donation or plan a visit to the school, please visit or send an email to

The low down summary:

Dare to dream …

· Gemma Sisia from a sheep farm in Australia opened a small school in Northern Tanzania in 2002 with the help of her family, friends and the local Rotary club.

· Each year 150 new prep students are invited to attend The School of St Jude, and the goal is for every student to finish primary and secondary school.

· The ripple effect of this outstanding education reaches children, families, staff and suppliers in the Arusha community and across Tanzania.


Hillcrest Primary School in Pahiatua sits on top of the hill in a beautiful setting and the pupils are enthusiastic about reading. 
Recently the Education Review Office commented on the improvement in the reading levels at the school, and the Rotary Club of Pahiatua was moved to recognise that effort.  The Rotary Club of Pahiatua celebrated this success with the staff and students at Hillcrest by presenting nearly fifty Usborne illustrated dictionaries to the school to help the budding word-smiths enjoy their reading even more.

The dictionaries were presented by Past District Governor Bill Carthew, who happens to be an old-boy of the school (when it was the district high school) and Past President Glynis De Castro, Director responsible for Youth Programmes.  Mr Carthew took the opportunity to reminisce about some of the things that had happened when he was a boy - looking to strength from the past.  Ms De Castro, on the other hand, took the opportunity to welcome the Year 8 students moving on to Tararua College next year – in essence looking to strength from the future.

The passion for books was obvious.  After the presentation of a dictionary to each student who represented Hillcrest School it was difficult to regain their attention as each youngster explored the book with interest and enthusiasm.

Principal Mrs Janie Roche expressed her appreciation to the Rotarians.  She and her staff seemed as contagiously enthusiastic about reading as the students.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Women in Rotary

The following two submissions were requested by Editor Mark Wallace for Rotary Down Under magazine:

"Being a woman in Rotary is one thing, but being a young (in the sense of Rotary) one with young kids is another. My funniest memory is attending my District Governor Elect training in San Diego January 2009. Our son Brayden was only 9 months old, who travelled with us, so first we got the strange looks of travelling with a child, & then when asking husband Mike questions on Rotary District 9920, & him advising that you had better talk to the wife, as she is the DGE, I seriously thought there would be a few heart attacks happening.
We are old school though, as remember the badges for the DGEs were rimmed with blue, while spouses were pink. Honestly, while times are changing, for Rotary sometimes not fast enough. How I dealt with this, was trying not to laugh, & have to admit, loved shocking many of my fellow DGEs. Coming home to be District Governor, I am sure there were many that wondered what our Nominating Committee had done, but did enjoy showing them in the end that age doesn’t matter. If you have the wonderful team I had, are organized & love what you do, the world is your oyster. It was the best year of my life."

- Leanne Jaggs, Past Governor of Rotary International District 9920 Inc, and member of Rotary Club of Manukau City Sunrise Inc, Auckland, New Zealand

“My husband Colin was a Charter Director of our Rotary Club of St Johns in 1989. Members at that time were perplexed to be asked “should women be invited to join or not?”, as everyone thought that women should be a part of Rotary, and that feeling remains today.

Apart from one isolated example since becoming a Rotarian in 1993, I have simply been treated as a Rotarian, so being a woman in Rotary hasn’t been an issue.

Rotary has gone from strength to strength since women were admitted to Rotary. We have added another dimension and a different perspective. One amusing memory about a then male-only club that I visited as District Governor in 2004-2005 was when kindly offered a drink, I replied “a red thanks” (meaning wine). My face obviously dropped when handed a Lion Red beer, that was quickly replaced, and undoubtedly someone else enjoyed the beer!

Rotary should represent the demographics of its surrounding community, so a logical place to start is a closer gender balance, meaning we need more women in Rotary, and while we tend to next think of ethnic groups or younger people in our community, another demographic is families – specifically more couples in Rotary.”

-  Beryl Robinson, Past Governor of Rotary International District 9920 Inc, and member of Rotary Club of St Johns Inc, Auckland, New Zealand.

Blog Editor's comment:  Beryl and Colin Robinson are members of the same Rotary club, and Leanne and Mike Jaggs are also both Rotarians, but in different clubs.

Related Links:

Rotary Video Magazine - Women in Rotary