Sunday, 24 March 2013

First RLI Graduate Class Held in New Zealand

Today Sun 24th Mar I attended the first RLI Graduate class held in NZ. There were 7 of us, each of us having completed the earlier 3 days of RLI.

As always RLI is very inspiring with both Ingrid Waugh & Beryl Robinson our wonderful facilitators for the day.

It was amazing learning different skills in how to make our own Rotary Clubs get a ranking of 10 out of 10 and become an EXTRAORDINARY Club, not just an ordinary club.  We ranked our own clubs an average 8 out of 10, which is really quite impressive, but we all wanted to do something new and exciting to lead our clubs into the future, and we have agreed to make sure we,

1. Make our clubs a vibrant community service organization.
2. Make sure we making an impact in our local communities
3. Are we following our motto ‘Service Above Self’
4. Make sure we grow and expand our membership of our Clubs.


The graduate class with facilitators Beryl and Ingrid.

To all Rotary Club members – if you get the chance do go on the 3 day RLI Course,  now a 4 day RLI course – you will never regret it.

Submitted by Dyann Calverley, Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki Inc, Auckland, District 9920

Low Down

The Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is a series of fast-paced, interactive, one-day courses

Biz is Awesome encourages business entrepreneurship instead of a career in the professions

15 Years ago Remuera Rotary Started Biz Is Awesome For Year 12 and 13 Students to encourage business entrepreneurship instead of a career in the professions.
Simple objective, with some great outcomes over the years.

This year with promotional support from District and Rotary trusts the number of Schools in our District was expanded to 14.

120 Students attended this year's Workshop on Friday 15th February, Early in the school year to encourage their Goals/ambitions with their Biz Plans at school.

Students are split from their schools and mixed in Teams of 10 for the day.

They develop a Business take it to a Market place to test it then present their plans to Angel investors.

A Quote from a Teacher.

" Wonderful learning experience as they were put outside their comfort zone having to work with students from other schools, different cultures and different knowledge base backgrounds. It took a a while for some students to feel confident enough to actively participate, after the barriers broke down nothing seem to hold back certain students. They learnt so much, found out their weak areas and discovered that they could achieve success when working as a team. The school van was totally abuzz on the Journey home.."
"Really enjoyed the vibe, the way the sessions flowed and added challenges to keep the students engaged throughout the day."

Where to next....well it can't get much bigger but other districts/clubs can observe next years and run the day themselves, wonderful opportunity...

Submitted by Brett Murray, Vocational Director, Rotary Club of Remuera Inc.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Supporting elite athletes to become international stars

The World and Olympic single sculls Champion Mahe Drysdale and partner, bronze medallist Juliette Haigh, were guest speakers at  a large breakfast gathering recently. Rotary Browns Bay  along with North Harbour promoted Rotary at the function and Westlake Girls High School won the oar promoted on Trade Me with the proceeds going to Harbour Sport for assisting elite athletes on the verge of becoming international stars.

It wasn't so much about making dollars but promoting Rotary in the area and the 2 breakfast Clubs made sure of a capacity audience of over 160 at the Fairway Lodge.

Three Vanuatu schools delighted

In Operation Castor, conducted annually by the French Army of New Caledonia and the services of the Embassy of France, we were asked to provide schools with French books, school supplies, small sports equipment on the island of Tongoa in the north-northeast of Port Vila.

The Embassy has generously invited a member of Rotary (me in this case, as I have conducted this action since 2 years, last year was in Melsisi) during the inauguration ceremony of the clinic rehabilitated by the FANC to enable us to deliver our parcels to our recipients.

The Army supported the movement and it is in a military aircraft, a small troop transport (CASA), the official delegation consisting of the Staff of the FANC, a News reporter, a member of the association Pikini and myself flew to Port Vila where we expect a Puma helicopter that will take us to Tongoa island in the village of Silimauri.

The weather is beautiful and the helicopter flight, doors opened, above the islands of Vanuatu is beautiful. The village children around our helicopter from landing on the football field with shouts of joy and peals of laughter.

The Ambassador of France, The High Commissioner from NZ and local authorities are waiting us for welcome cocktail before the start of the ceremony. Some village women in traditional dress showing us the way to the clinic in singing, General Parlenti is leading our parade.

Arrived at the clinic refurbished, General Parlenti gives the honors to the detachment of Jacques Cartier, RIMAP and SMA. Official speeches begin for about 2:30, in French, English and Bislama. During the speech, Rotary is thanked for its action by all speakers, Ambassador, High Commissioner, Vanuatu ministers, chefs ...

At the end of the ceremony, a buffet of local dishes prepared by the villagers was erected on the land adjoining the church where our parcels were stored. Laure Chabrolle, attaché of the Embassy matches school officials to make a official presentation of our packages. I then met the teachers and principals of these schools from the end of the world. They thank us very warmly for what we did. Not enough time to unpack all the boxes, but Laure remains in place to ensure itself an equitable sharing between the three schools of the island. The inevitable picture freezes this emotional moment.

On the way brings us back to the helicopter, part of the crew of Jacques Cartier was a huge success in making the distribution to young mothers clothes we sent. At this moment, I am proud of our work and can testify that the modest work we have done provides immediate results and upsetting. I know that everything we have given will go where the needs are.

This is only a drop in an ocean of nothing ... Nothing summarizes all.

Submitted by Assistant Governor Noel Buttin, District 9910

Dans le cadre de l'opération Castor, réalisée tous les ans par les Forces Armée de Nouvelle Calédonie et les services de l'Ambassade de France, nous avons été sollicité pour fournir aux écoles francophones des livres, du matériel scolaire, des petits équipements sportifs sur l'ile de Tongoa au Nord-Nord Est de Port Vila.

L'ambassade a généreusement invité un membre du Rotary (votre serviteur en
l'occurrence) lors de la cérémonie d'inauguration du dispensaire réhabilité par les FANC pour nous permettre de remettre nos colis à nos destinataires.

L'Armée a pris en charge le déplacement et c'est en avion militaire, un petit transport de troupe (CASA), que la délégation officielle composée de l'Etat Major des FANC, une journaliste des Nouvelles, un membre de l'association Pikini et moi-même s'envole pour Port Vila où nous attend un hélicoptère Puma qui nous emmènera sur l'ile de Tongoa au village de Silimauri.

Le temps est magnifique et le survol en hélicoptère, portes ouvertes, au-dessus des ilots du Vanuatu est de toute beauté. L'atterrissage dans une clairière servant habituellement de terrain de football déclenche la joie des enfants du village qui entourent notre aéronef avec joie et éclats de rire dès l'arrêt des moteurs.

L'ambassadeur de France, le Ht Commissaire NZ et les autorités locales nous attendent pour un pot de l'amitié avant le début de la cérémonie. Quelques femmes du village en habit traditionnel nous ouvrent la route vers le dispensaire en chantant, le général Parlenti prend la tête de notre défilé.

Arrivés au dispensaire remis à neuf, Le général rend les honneurs au détachement du jacques Cartier, du Rimap et du SMA. Les discours officiels commencent pour près de 2h30, en français, en anglais et en bichlamar. Au cours de ces discours, le Rotary est remercié pour son action par tous les orateurs, Ambassadeur, Ht Commissaire, ministres vanuatais, grands chefs...

A la fin de la cérémonie, un buffet de plats locaux élaborés par les villageois a été dressé sur le terrain jouxtant l'église où ont été entreposés nos cartons. Laure Chabrolle, l'attachée de l'Ambassade rassemble alors les responsables des écoles pour faire une remise officielle de nos colis. Je rencontre alors des instituteurs et directeurs de ces écoles du bout du monde qui nous remercient très chaleureusement pour ce que nous avons fait. Le temps nous manque pour déballer tous les cartons, mais Laure reste sur place pour assurer elle-même un partage équitable entre les 3 écoles de l'ile. L'inévitable photo fige cet instant touchant.

Sur le chemin qui nous ramène à l'hélicoptère, une partie de l'équipage du Jacques Cartier connait un énorme succès en procédant à la distribution aux jeunes mamans des habits que nous avons envoyés. A cet instant, je suis fier de notre action et témoin que le travail modeste que nous avons réalisé procure un résultat immédiat et bouleversant. Je sais que tout ce que nous avons donné ira là où sont les besoins. Ce n'est qu'une goutte d'eau dans un océan de rien... Rien, ces 4 lettres résument tout.

Merci donc, chers amis, au nom des habitants de Tongoa pour votre implication et votre générosité.

Sachez que nous sommes attendus pour la prochaine opération Castor 2014.


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Helping kids like Taylor, helping to cure kids

When you have 10 siblings, it’s quite natural to have a nurturing, mothering instinct.
So it was no surprise when Cure Kids visited our ambassador Taylor, 15, in hospital this month, to see her entertaining all the younger children on her ward.

She had insisted on her parents Irene and Tau bringing in the big TV they had, so all the kids could watch DVDs in her half-full room. Taylor was even sharing her treats and reading books to younger patients.

Had you visited a few days earlier, it would have been far more obvious how unwell Taylor is.
After suffering a major seizure at school, she was rushed to hospital, where she had three more episodes, and the exhausted teen was then having ‘ticks’ that, coupled with the pain from a growth on her spine, kept her awake despite being heavily sedated.

Specialists adjusted her medication and she was able to go home after being in hospital for five days, where she is now playing ‘mum’ to her younger brothers and sisters and trying half days back at school.

Taylor was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2008, after waking up blind. She has a rare cancer occurring in puberty-aged children. Damage from the tumour on her pituitary gland caused her to get diabetes and epilepsy.

But when you meet her, she is incredibly polite and appreciative of all she has and – like she was in hospital – is always willing to share.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Cure Kids research includes a potential brain tumour vaccine, breakthroughs in Type-1 diabetes and epilelpsy. For more information on our research and ways to support us, go to

Support Cure Kids on Red Nose Day Friday 23 August 2013  - 

Low Down

Cure Kids was founded as the Child Health Research Foundation by Rotary.  Rotary and Rotarians still make an important contribution to Cure Kids.  Find out how at:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Smiles all round

It was smiles all round when the senior pupils at Whangaruru Primary School were each presented with a beautifully illustrated dictionary from the Rotary Club of Whangarei City.

President Sandra Leonard explained that the dictionaries are gifted as part of Rotary’s ‘Dictionaries in Schools’ Project and the students at Whangaruru School were specially selected to be part of the programme. Also at the presentation were Assistant District Governor Peter Smith who fielded questions from the class about Rotary, and Claire Furlong,  fellow Rotarian and the schools Project Manager.

The presentation ended with thanks from pupil Dylan Wrathall-Epiha and the song: “The Court of King Caractacus” performed by all the senior students and accompanied by Principal Julie Thelwell on guitar.

The next event organised by the Whangarei City Club is Bike Glenbervie 13 on 31st March, part of Whangarei’s Endless Summer Festival. As Peter explained to the Whangaruru pupils; ‘ Rotary is just a group of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things’.

If you think Rotary might be for you, please contact Sandra Leonard on 027 2939 119 or

Rotary Saved The Largest Pohutukawa Forest In The World

In 1990 the then International President of Rotary, Paulo Costa, called upon Rotarians throughout the world to “Preserve Planet Earth”. At the same time there was a real danger that the iconic pohutukawa forest on Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf would become extinct through the voracious appetites of wallabies and possums. Rotary District 9920 responded by funding a poison drop which successfully eradicated those pests and saved the largest pohutukawa forest in the world.

A community project was set up in 1994 and the Motutapu Restoration Trust established to restore the cultural and natural landscape of Motutapu which had been destroyed with the eruption of Rangitoto about 600 years earlier. The Rotary Club of Newmarket spearheaded support for the Trust and other clubs in the District have participated in a variety of tree planting, weeding and maintenance projects. Half a million trees have been planted in about 80 hectares and the long term plan is to restore native vegetation to 500 of Motutapu’s 1508 hectares.

In 2005, the year of the Rotary International Centenary, the Rotary Club of Newmarket completed a walkway through the restored forest as its centennial project and the club is now working on extending this walkway into a Home Bay Loop Track which will provide visitors with a two to three hour walk from this gateway point to the Island. Further plans include developing this Loop Track into “The Great Rangitoto-Motutapu Walk” a network of tracks whereby visitors will be able to spend two or three days exploring the islands. Those visitors will enjoy the returning bird population where about 60 species have been recently monitored and endangered birds such as the kiwi and takahe translocated.

In 2009 the Department of Conservation spent $ 3.5 million and conducted the most challenging and comprehensive pest eradication programme ever attempted in New Zealand which removed feral cats, rats, hedgehogs, rabbits mice and stoats making the 3,800 hectares combined area of Rangitoto and Motutapu the largest pest free area in New Zealand.

Another facinating aspect to Motutapu is that it is still being farmed and it is the biggest pest free farm in the world.The farm has at times sustained 3,500 sheep and 1,000 beef cattle and grazing by light stock is considered to be the most appropriate management technique available for managing the pasture covered three hundred archaeological sites on the island.

The Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp houses the largest off grid solar power installation in New Zealand and provides all of the Island’s energy requirements. The camp attracts 12,000 school children per year and provides them with a valuable and stimulating outdoor educational experience. The Rotary Club of Newmarket have been involved in provided support for the camp since 1990.

On a beautiful day on 3rd March this year District Governor Ron Seeto organised a Rotary Leadership day on Motutapu where the 9920 District Leaders discussed potential future plans for further involvement in the restoration process including a “Rotary Fire Break” area where slow burning trees will be planted to minimise the danger of fire speading rapidly throughout the now densely restored forest.

President-Elect Iain MacKenzie of the Rotary Club of Newmarket is keen to hear from Rotary Clubs outside New Zealand interested in participating in a ”Global Grant” Rotary Foundation Future Vision project for the further development of Motutapu.

What is a Rotary International Youth Exchange? A student's perspective

Exchange is change. Rapid, beautiful,  colourful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming and most of all, constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, and school, simply everything.

Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore, to being someone new, but not entirely new. You are still the person you were before but you jumped into that ice cold lake. You know how it feels like to be on your own, away from home, with no one you really know. And you find out that you can actually do it.

Exchange is learning to trust, trust people, who, at first, are only names on a piece of paper, trust that they want the best for you, that they care. Trust, that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from everything that mattered to you before. Trust that you will have friends. Trust that everything’s going to be alright. And it is seeing this trust being justified.

Exchange is thinking, all the time about everything.

Exchange is about meeting people.

Exchange is about listening to new music.

Exchange is sometimes uncomfortable.

Exchange is great. It’s feeling the connection between you and your host parents grow. It’s knowing in which cupboard the peanut butter is. Its meeting people from all over the world. It’s having a place to stay in almost every country of the world. It’s getting 5 new families. One of them being a huge group of the most awesome teenagers in the world.

It’s cooking food from your home country and not messing up. It’s seeing beautiful landscapes that you never knew existed.

Exchange is exchange students. The most amazing people in the whole wide world. Those people from everywhere who know exactly how you feel and those people who become your absolute best friends even though you only see most of them 3 or 4 times during your year. The people, who take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those people with the jackets full of pins. All over the world.

Exchange is falling in love with this amazing, wild, beautiful country and with your own home country.

Exchange is frustrating. Things you can’t do, things you don’t understand. Things you say, that mean the exact opposite of what you meant to say.

Exchange is about understanding.

Exchange is so unbelievable great.

Exchange is not a year in your life. It’s a life in one year.

Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, and everything you wanted it to be.

Exchange is the best year of your life so far without a doubt.

Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always be a part of you. It is something no one back at home will ever truly understand.

Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the same, no matter where they’re from.

That there are great people and  it only depends on you, how good or bad your day is going to be or the whole year.
It is realizing that you can be on your own, that you are an independent person and learning how to explain that to your parents.

Exchange is dancing in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason and laughing at the same time. It’s turmoil of every emotion possible.

IYE is everything. And IYE is something you can’t understand unless you’ve part of it and been through it. Jump on board and enjoy the ride.
Notes from an Inbound IYE Exchange Student.2013

A cheer for the volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Taupō’s events and volunteering at them is a great way for clubs, groups and charities to fundraise for a never-ending range of causes that need their help. It’s a way of engaging communities in a mutually beneficial way.

Expresso Rotary members have collectively worked more than 1000 hours at events in the past year. That’s a big achievement for a small club.

“An unexpected benefit is how volunteering has actively engaged our families and gives us an opportunity to do something together,” says Expresso member, Lianne Fraser. “What started out as roping everyone in when we were short of numbers is now routine.”

Richard Patterson and his daughter’s, Mickayla, Hayley and Britaney are the teenage backbone at most Expresso volunteering events, turning up with big smiles and a willingness not always associated with their age group.

“We like that you help the community, meet new people and have fun,” they say.
It’s a sentiment echoed by many.

“I started volunteering to help my parents but found that I really enjoy interacting with the community, that sense of giving back and the feel good factor."

“Oh, and the high viz vest!” adds family volunteer, Jess Campbell.

The rewards are many, and many event participants are openly grateful to volunteers and their efforts, knowing that Taupō events would certainly suffer without them. Cheer them on at Ironman.

Additional information

Expresso Rotary meets every Wednesday at 6.45 - 8am, is involved in a range of community projects and welcomes new members.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Super Christmas for a family

The Marshall-Cook family of Wakefield (near Nelson, New Zealand) awoke on Christmas day to find a playhouse in their yard. Rosa and Enzo could not believe their good fortune in winning the Wendy house raffle.
The winning family Rosa and Enzo Marshall-Cook
with mother Emma admiring the inside.

“It’s got opening windows” said Rosa and “we have had friends in for lunch” said Enzo. Both children have also slept in bunks temporarily installed for the purpose and the children thought that was cool.

The raffle was actually won by a north American visitor who purchased and gave the ticket to the children’s mother Emma, on the understanding that if it won, the family could have the playhouse because it is a bit large to take to the US!

The principal fundraising project for the District 9970 Motueka Rotary Club, the children’s playhouse is a move away from erstwhile pigs in barrow raffles, into something having some durability in the hands of children.

Builder Neil Sturgeon rolls out the completed playhouse.
Constructed on a platform of about four square metres, the playhouse can also be accessed by adults wanting to join the tea party inside. Built by Rotarian Neil Sturgeon, the cladding is durable hardy wall while the roof is of aluminium roof tiles. Aluminium joinery is used for the windows, and the floor is covered with vinyl for comfort. The building was tastefully decorated in a sky blue colour with white trim by Rotarian Peter Holyoake. This indeed is a quality product. The simple indoor-outdoor flow appeals to any discerning occupant, and is bound to have other envious neighbourhood youngsters beating a path to the door.

Club organiser Reg Dysart explained that ticket sales were open for three weeks, and closed on December 17, 2012 with the draw being conducted on December 18, which left just the right time to arrange for Christmas delivery of the playhouse to its delighted new owners.

President Colin Eggers declared that this successful fundraiser ended with the proceeds of the raffle donated to two charities - the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust, and the Tasman Great Taste Cycle Trail.

- By Euan Grant, Rotary Club of Motueka

ShelterBox International appoints a new Chief Executive

The Board of ShelterBox is pleased to announce that Alison Wallace, will take over as its new Chief Executive from April 15, 2013. Alison is a New Zealander, a law and commerce graduate, and joins ShelterBox from Amnesty International.

Alison has over 15 years’ experience in the UK and international not-for-profit sectors, most recently working for nearly seven years as Director of International Fundraising at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. She has particular expertise in fundraising growth strategies, having delivered Amnesty International’s first Global Fundraising Strategy in 2010 and recently re-launched an ambitious global major donor fundraising programme.