Sunday, 11 August 2013

“Building a Foundation “ – People & Relationships, Starting with you

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 2913.

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                                                                                                                                                  

Friday, 9 August 2013

Christchurch Migrants Earthquake Respite Camp

The Otago Youth Adventure Trust / Rotary Club of Milton Tramping Club
Christchurch Migrants Earthquake Respite Camp
– by Peter Vollweiler, Rotary Club of Milton, NZ

For over 30 years, the Rotary Club of Milton in NZ has had a close liaison with the Otago Youth Adventure Trust, a voluntary organization that owns three excellent Outdoor Education Camps in Otago. Milton Rotary has provided labour and finance on many occasions to help construct and maintain facilities at these camps.

The two organisations combined to form a Tramping Club, and since 1986 have taken over 16,000 people on low cost tramping and other trips on some of NZ’s most famous tracks and venues.

The Tramping Club wanted to do something for the people of Christchurch, so they offered a free (including transport) five day stay at the OYAT Berwick Forest Camp near Dunedin for earthquake traumatized families. Social Services Christchurch were approached, and the offer was enthusiastically accepted for migrant families who were more seriously affected by the continual disruptions. We were informed that a party of 39 would be coming down.

Imagine our surprise when the 45-seater bus that we had sent to Christchurch, disgorged 50 people on January 29, 2012, including families from Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Bhutan, China and Japan. 

The plan was to give these people a good time while at Berwick, involve them in some Outdoor Education Camp activities, show them some Otago highlights, and above all have fun! During the next four days most had a go of the flying fox, rifle shooting, archery, abseiling, kayaking, cart racing, a bush tramp and other games.  On the  picnic at Lake Waihola, Rotarians provided boat trips and towed screaming visitors on “biscuits” even though some were in full customary regalia. The afternoon concluded with a good Kiwi BBQ.
One morning was spent on the Taieri Gorge excursion train, and in the afternoon they enjoyed Dunedin’s Moana heated swimming pool, which the Dunedin City Council gave free of charge. That hydro slide sure got a good work out!

Meals were exciting times, as there were so many different cuisines, and numerous trips to local stores had to be made to cater for the different tastes. Milton Rotarian and Berwick Camp Warden for 20 years Jenny Scott stated, “The week was the most rewarding project that I have ever been involved with. I loved every second of it”. All of the members of the Tramping Club who helped at Berwick would echo her sentiments, as it was a very special occasion, witnessing the melding of so many cultures and beliefs into a group that accepted their differences.

The group was extremely well managed by Christchurch Migrants Centre Community Liaison Manager Kevin Park, from Korea.  His ability to relate to the different cultures made our job easier. In a Christchurch publication Migrants Down Under Kevin wrote, “The programme, in fact, has also built confidence within families and individuals, and developed relationships and friendships between attendees despite their great diversity. The migrants and refugees participating in the programme made the most of every opportunity to understand different cultures and respect each other on all aspects of their lives. 

To express their gratitude to the camp organizers, each ethnic group prepared their own national meals on several occasions. The last night’s gathering, before returning to Christchurch, was the highlight of the camp for many. The attendees showed their appreciation to the sponsors and volunteers in words , songs, dancing and cultural performances. Above all, the camp gave both participants, and the Kiwi volunteers, a perspective on the diverse cultural environment in NZ’s society today.”

In a thank you letter from Christchurch Migrant Centre Manager Rex Gibson, QSM, he concluded, “The comments to me when they disembarked in Christchurch were along the lines of “We feel like real Kiwis now”. Many had not been outside Christchurch before.”
The whole exercise was quite a costly event, but we have received some generous donations and discounts from many of our suppliers, for which we are very grateful.

To find out more about our Tramping Club, and how you can join a trip, go to

Waiuku Primary Schools Speech Contest

8 Students from Primary Schools in West Franklin entertained a gathering of around 80 people on Wednesday evening at the Waiuku Civic Centre.

Matthew Walters, Peta Butler and Luke Frost - deserved winners!

The occasion was the Rotary Club of Waiuku annual primary school speech contest.
The contest, which is celebrating its 26th year of competition, is a showcase of young budding speech competitors.

The pupils are selected from their respective school and each contest has 2 minutes to present a speech on the subject of their choice. They are judged on content, research, information and presentation.

The winner from the Waiuku Rotary Primary School Speech Contest goes forward to represent West Franklin at the Auckland regional competition.

The judges for the evening Natalie Hewitt and Wendy Turner-Wright commented on the very high standard of presentation from all of the contestants.  In deciding the winners it came down to the minute details in presentation of the subject material

1st prize went to Peta Butler from Sandspit School and her subject was I Am Old Enough to Be Home Alone

2nd prize went to Luke Frost from Glenbrook School and his subject was Techno Teachers.

3rd prize went to Matthew Walters from Pukeoware School and his subject was The Hobbit.

Waiuku Rotary & Waiuku College Hockey team working together for an outstanding outcome

The Waiuku College Hockey team applied to Waiuku Rotary for financial assistance to enable the team to attend the National Hockey Tournament held earlier this year.  A grant was made by the Waiuku Rotary Charitable Trust to the team. They in return offered to assist in a community project.

An approach was made to Waiuku Rotary from the Glenbrook Vintage Railway for the beautification of the bank at the Victoria Street Station behind the Cossie Club.

This was seen as a good opportunity to involve the Waiuku College Hockey team in a community project.

An approach was made to the Waiuku Mud Larks for the provision of chip mulch for spreading on the bank before planting.  The Mud Larks where most happy to provide the chip.

The shrubs for planting have been raised by Fiona McDonald’s nursery and Fiona has supervised the planting of the shrubs.

A most satisfactory outcome for the Waiuku College, Waiuku Mud Larks, Fiona McDonald, Waiuku Rotary, Glenbrook Vintage Railway working together to assist in the beautification of another spot in the community. No doubt as the shrubs grow and flower visitors to the town well admire them.

Waiuku College Support of Survival Kits Will Prove a Lifesaver When Needed

Waiuku Rotary and Waiuku College worked hand in hand to assist in the packing of Emergency Response Kits.

On Tuesday 14th May 10 Year 12 Waiuku College students travelled to Penrose with their Dean Mrs Patricia Whitehead to a warehouse in Penrose to pack Emergency Response Survival containers to be used in cases of disaster in the Pacific Islands. The aim of these kits is to provide items to be used on site after a disaster hits the country. Hundreds of these kits are dispatched each year to countries in the South Pacific islands by Rotary.

Bradley Hagan, Zoe Mackenzie, Leetisha Atfield, Nicolleta Braun, Joanna Moeller, Chealsea Marshall, Julian De Villiers Jody Porter, Jody Gibson and Gemma Flood happily completed the final batch of containers giving a total of 420 which will be transported when Rotary can secure a container for transport to the Islands.

Many College students have benefited through Rotary funding over the past years participating in leadership or subject related training including Zoe and Jody who organised this group  to pack items including shovels, fishing tackle, torches, machetes, gum boots, birthing packs and clothing.

Waiuku College students would like to thank Rotary for their continued support of students and are keen to continue to contribute in any way to their local or the wider community. 

Service to the Community is recognized

At the Waiuku Rotary Club  meeting on Wednesday, 31 July Ken Letcher was designated a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of his services to his community , his vocation, and whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of The Rotary Foundation.

The Paul Harris Fellow is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary over 100 years ago.
The Rotary Foundation is one of the largest and most important programs of Rotary. Without the Foundation Rotary could not continue its many humanitarian programs and its efforts to promote world understanding and peace.

Ken who moved to Waiuku in 1970 has been involved in teaching as a career and is now retired from the profession

He has set an example for many by his contributions to his community in many ways.
Ken was instrumental setting up the Rotary Primary School speech contest which has been operating now for 26 years. Another of Ken’s achievements is the Waiuku Primary School Music festival which is held each year. His personal involvement makes our community a better place in which to live.

The Probus Club of Waiuku is another example of the way Ken works quietly in the community. This was an initiative of Kens and is now over 100 members. The Rotary club of Waiuku recognizes these efforts and has made a contribution to the Rotary Foundation in Ken’s name. This contribution could provide educational opportunities, food for the poor, potable water in a village in Africa or India, health care, shelter, schools and books for thousands of children. It can buy cows to supply milk to an entire village or supply sewing machines to widows so they may become self sufficient.

Ken is regularly seen out walking of a morning with his wife Noeline.

President Don Wills presented Ken with the two emblems of a Paul Harris Fellow a certificate and a lapel pin. The symbolism in this recognition is to say “Thank You Ken for making a difference in your community”.