Monday, 22 July 2013

Rotary takes care of children

Amongst the rubble, the boarded up windows, weeds growing wild in abandoned gardens, the dust of dried liquefaction in cracked and broken streets, there is an oasis - a haven where parents can sit in the sun and watch their children play in the recently redeveloped children’s playground at Woodham Park in the eastern side of Christchurch, New Zealand.

This major upgrade project was made possible following the February earthquake through the generosity of the 9910 Rotary Club of North Harbour with a donation of $14,000, 9920 Rotary Club of Mt. Eden’s donation of $10,000 and a donation of $6000 from District 9920.

The project was undertaken by the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise, with members Murray Ellis and Brian Phillips overseeing the work and obtaining further support with discounted pricing from Adam Stride at the equipment suppliers and installers, Park Supplies Ltd, Matta Products Ltd, and project assistance and site preparation from the Christchurch City Council.  Radio Station More FM provided free advertising in a search for sponsors, with District 9970 Project Earthquake Support Rotarian Lindsay Crossen also very helpful in sourcing funds.

This park in Woodham Road was originally opened in November 1942 and the major upgrade needed in the children’s playground was hastened by the earthquake event. Children can now enjoy a host of outdoor play equipment including swings, seesaws, paddling pool and climbing frames in the safety of their local park.

Members from the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise, the local Community Boards and the City Council were there on February 4 to officially reopen this fantastic facility for the children of Christchurch.

On their behalf, we thank you all for your generosity and kindness in making this project possible.

RYLA - Building a Foundation

The Rotary Club of Auckland had the opportunity of organising RYLA 2013 for District 9920 and it was once again centred on Willow Park at Eastern Beach in Auckland, plus Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands, during the period 29th June to 6th July 2013.

A District RYLA Mini Assembly was held in November 2012 and Clubs were provided with a complete ‘Information Guide’ and after working closely with RYLA Club coordinators a total of 118 Awardees participated, supported from 23 Auckland-based Rotary Clubs, including 4 Awardees from Fiji and 1 from the Cook Island under the ROTA PACIFIC scheme.

RYLA 2013 was an-eight day residential programme involving Leadership Themes of “Building a Foundation “ – People & Relationships, Starting with you, Getting Inspired ; all over 3 days.  Next it was “Leadership in Practice” – Commercial Perspectives, Managing Teams, Working under Pressure. This section included a two-day Island Experience on Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands which was once again expertly managed by the NZ Army under the control of Lt Col Jon Atkinson with the Rotary Club of Auckland providing all the logistical support. The Awardees in teams were able to test their leadership skills during a non-stop 26 hour period under difficult conditions with ample support of NZ Army Officers. This once again proved a unique and challenging experience and a highlight for many Awardees.

The final two days incorporated further “Leadership in Practice” – In the Community, where Awardees went to three different Community Projects and got physically involved in practical projects to make a difference. The final night featured a Graduation Dinner at Willow Park which 280 people attended including the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key, DG Willard Martin, the NZ Army Officers  involved  and Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs sponsoring Awardees.

Rotaract took the opportunity to showcase their activities on the final morning and a feedback session produced valuable information with which to improve future RYLA programmes.

Overall the feedback was extremely positive which reflected the huge effort put into the organisation of the 2013 event by Rotary Club of Auckland members supported by other District Rotarians. We all gained enormous satisfaction and proved once again how valuable RYLA is in developing leadership skills in our talented young people.

Jim Johnston
Chair RYLA 2013 Operating Committee
Past President, Rotary Club of Auckland Inc

Rotary Sponsored Trip to Sister City

The Wanganui Rotary Club recently sent five students from different Secondary Schools to spend 11 days in Nagaizumi, our sister city in Japan.

They were chaperoned by Rotarian Lei Graham.  Rotarian Dot McKinnon and Lei selected students recommended by the local schools.

The students selected had limited opportunities to travel outside of New Zealand.

Our itinerary was a collaborative effort between the Nagaizumi Rotary Club in conjunction with the town hall and Education Superintendent.

We spent a day at different schools who invited us to either address the whole school or do a presentation to different classes. We spoke about N.Z. and taught some students how to do a Maori greeting, waiata and games. In return we observed them in a classroom situation, participated in activities they had organised and enjoyed the school lunches provided.

It was great to see how conscientious they were in terms of conservation and using recycling methods to reduce rubbish.

We were treated like celebrities. An aspect that will remain in our memories is the fact that they couldn’t do enough for us. Our host families were extremely generous and some took us to places that they had never visited before e.g. going to Tokyo, visiting the Sky Tree, and Venetian Glass complex.

Students were invited to visit again and the invitation for reciprocation was extended to the host families.

Everyone who had input into the program evaluated the experience. The feedback will be invaluable for exchanges in the future. This visit has strengthened the ties between the two cities.

The students can’t say enough about how life changing the experience was and all stated “The memory will last a life time.”

Any Rotary Club wanting to arrange a student exchange program should contact the Rotary Club in Nagaizumi.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Rotary Moment: Rotary Rebuilding Communities in Christchurch

- By District 9970 Governor John Rickard

Rotarians along with all the other residents of Christchurch suffered much disruption to their lives and businesses since the first earthquake on September 4, 2010.

These disruptions will continue for many years yet as Christchurch rebuilds its infrastructure including roads, water, sewers and electricity, while it repairs and rebuilds houses. The rebuild cost has now climbed to $40 billion and this estimate is still rising.

I am continually amazed at the good work that Rotary continues to do around the city. Some Christchurch Rotarians have had to either vacate their houses while rebuilds are carried out, or else wait for a complete demolition and rebuild of their homes.

While there has been a loss of some Rotarians in the 16 clubs in Christchurch since the earthquake, these losses have been almost entirely from members moving out of the city for work opportunities or health reasons.

Since the February 2011 earthquake our Rotary District 9970 has received and distributed nearly $2 million through its charitable trust so this trust is now winding down.

However many needs still remain so Rotary is active throughout the city in many ways.

All of the city clubs managed to continue their normal fundraising activities and support of many organisations and groups, either financially or with hands-on input.

The combined clubs of the city last year also joined an initiative started by Ashburton Rotarian Walter Van Der Kley, called “Colour Me Christchurch”. It involved planting bedding plants and wildflowers on empty building sites around the central city with signage at each site identifying it as a Rotary project. This project will continue next spring.

In November last year Rotary District 9970 was approached by the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to become a partner in an exciting new project, aimed at supporting communities in the city, named the “Rotary Neighbourhood Project.” It will involve developing locally initiated projects that contribute towards improving wellbeing and building resilient communities and neighbourhoods.

CERA recognises that local communities in Christchurch need access to help and finance to rebuild the communities that have been badly affected by the earthquakes. They see Rotary as an organisation with the knowledge and ability to assist.

We have set up a project committee, accessed funding, set up a charitable trust, and developed advertising material, and application criteria. With applications being accepted for grants ranging from $100 up to $4000, it is anticipated that the cost of the project over the four to five year expected life of the project could be in the vicinity of $300,000 to $400,000.

We hope that as other funders involved in the Christchurch rebuild see the results of the work we are doing, they will assist with funding.

The opportunity for me to work alongside these Rotarians in Christchurch as they develop these projects, while at the same time, working and living in a city under massive structural development, has certainly shown to me that the core values of Rotary are alive and well in our city.

These projects are also giving our Rotary clubs in Christchurch a great opportunity to promote Rotary as an organisation that is actively rebuilding our communities, hopefully leading to an increasing awareness of the role of Rotary clubs in our communities and an increase in membership numbers.

We are already seeing the first signs of this happening.

Rotary helps theatre upgrade

From the Opoitiki News, Thurs 4 July 2013

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

St Johns Rotary Changeover ... going viral?

Certainly a club going places ... changes being implemented:

  • First meeting of the month is now an evening meeting for members, family and friends with a keynote speaker
  • Local community focus
  • Leadership from younger members - a few more younger members and the targeted average age of 45 will be realised
  • Service through Fellowship
  • Family focus

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Rotary Moment: You Need to Ask

- By 9920 DG 2013-2014 Willard Martin

Why did I join the Rotary Club of Ellerslie Sunrise in Auckland, NZ 25 years ago in 1988? 

I was involved in motorsport, and Ellerslie Sunrise Rotary had a fundraiser called Drive a Dream.  It was the chance to visit the Pukekohe Race Track and drive bendy buses, trucks and forklifts to compete in a Motorkhana, and have a ride in a race car around the track, that was good fun and a great fundraiser. 
Rally New Zealand leader S├ębastien Loeb in flying form during one of the special stages held in Northland. 
Photo credit: Alan McDonald

I can still remember my friend Grahame Knight asking me to join Rotary.  He had to ask me several times before I got my ass into gear!  I enjoyed the speakers at meetings, served on committees, was the club Treasurer, and became President in 2005-2006. 

In 2011, I was privileged to attend the inaugural South Pacific Presidents Elect Training Seminar (SPPETS) as an Assistant Governor for then District 9920 Governor Alan Eyes when my eyes were opened to the world of Rotary.

Rotary International President Ron Burton when presenting his theme for 2013-2014 Engage Rotary and Change Lives at International Assembly in San Diego made the point that you have to ask. You - not the person sitting next to you, or the person in charge of the Membership Committee, or someone else who you might think would be better at it, or who maybe has more time. Membership is not someone else’s job - it’s my job, it’s your job, it’s every Rotarian’s opportunity.

So you have to ask. You need to find those people who are waiting to be asked, find the people who never thought about Rotary, and let them know that you’d like to have them in your club. If you do a good job, and they say yes, and they become members, your job isn’t over. It’s only just beginning, because you need to mentor them, make sure that they find a meaningful role in your club so they get satisfaction out of Rotary.

What you go out and achieve this Rotary year is in your hands, because all the good things that we achieve in Rotary depends on our clubs, but it is your leadership, your members, how well you choose your projects, how you work with The Rotary Foundation and polio eradication, new generations and every other programme of Rotary that will make the difference. 

My club has its own theme which I have adopted for District 9920 this Rotary year - Feel Good while Doing Good. This is what Rotary is all about. 

Who will you invite to join Rotary in August Membership Extension Month? 

Club Changeovers are Exciting Times

Rotary Rotorua Sunrise has had a tradition of celebrating its Change Over with a formal evening dinner and this year was the same but different. We went formal with all the glitz and glamour of the Roaring 20s and everyone got into the swing of it wearing their boas, bling, beads and bowties while sipping on bubbles and beer!

Our Change Over was held at The Monarch, Princes Gate Hotel, Rotorua on Saturday, 22 June. After the formalities, presentation of awards and dinner Rosie, Anne and Sue performed the Charleston, which was hilarious and got a standing ovation.

Here’s the link to our Facebook page, it’s been uploaded to YouTube and we would love you to click on it so we increase our hits:

After the Charleston our very own Sunrise Rockers performed late into the night. Everyone went home with big smiles on their faces and couldn’t wait to see the photos on Facebook.

The Welcome party – Left to Right: Evelyn Gunn, President Elect Susan Gunn and Rosanna Gunn

The Rotary Rotorua Sunrise mission this year is:

Our mission is to be an engaged, action orientated, vibrant club with passionate members that shine and have fun!

Come dance with me! Members will dance if they are engaged and having fun. We have got to have the music to dance to – that’s where fellowship is important. “Let’s feel good, doing good.”

Guests sitting down to dinner at The Monarch, Princes Gate Hotel, Rotorua
With the Rotary year ending on 30 June and a new year commencing on 1 July, the weeks either side are a time where all clubs hold Changeover events to celebrate the achievements of the past year, recognise the contribution of members, especially those who help leadership positions during the year, and welcome in the new team.  These are events in themselves attended by members, their partners and often the wider family and guests from the community, particularly those with a close association with the club.
Rotarians know how to party!  This means the themes that are adopted by clubs around the country for their Changeovers are as varied as there are clubs. 

Fun and Funds

Rotary Club of Cromwell members and partners at their changeover dinner held at Northburn Station in New Zealand on June 21 joined the world fight against Polio by making the End Polio Now ‘this close’ sign (see and raised funds to help eradicate Polio.  Cromwell Rotary will also help local schools to organise their own ‘this close’ Polio fundraising days and add their images to the world’s biggest commercial.         

Outgoing President John Angus (in the centre wearing the chain of office) and on his left is current President Murray Kennedy.  Photo credits: Keith Morgan

The annual fun social event concluded with magical dexterity from comedian District 9980 Governor Elect Jonathan Usher.