Monday, 30 September 2013

Lake side clean up readies area for summer visitors

On Saturday the 21st September, people who had already spent a nervous time watching the two America’s Cup races early in the day now had the chance to spend some of that pent up nervous energy at the Cromwell Rotary annual ‘Lake-side Clean-up’ on Lake Dunstan. 

This event  smarten-ups the lake shore in time for the start of the summer holiday visitor season.  Rotarians with loppers, saws and brush-cutters, attack the annual growth of weeds and collect the fallen willow debris. They also collect the general rubbish left by a few uncaring visitors to our beautiful lakeside. The Lions and other local groups also get together and help perform this annual task. Luckily this year the weather was kind and many, many trailer loads were carted off to the local tip for recycling.

The Greatest Amateur Racing Event in the World!

On Sunday, April 7, Dylan Smith from Orewa College, Auckland, became New Zealand’s National Soap Box Derby Champion. Following his win Dylan went on to compete in the grand finals in Akron, Ohio, US, in July and has just returned after a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.

It’s been called “The Greatest Amateur Racing Event in the World”, “The Gravity Grand Prix” and many other names, but to the Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa, NZ, and thousands of kids across the globe, it is known simply as the “Soap Box Derby”. The event was inaugurated in 1933 in Dayton, Ohio, and has since become one of those traditional annual American spectaculars.  Soap Box Derbies started in New Zealand 11 years ago with a council initiative in Northcote, supported by the local Rotary club. Terry Clarkson from the Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa became involved in the New Zealand organisation nine years ago as a member of the Waitakere Club. Today, a series of five area races take place each year with this year’s grand final hosted by the Whangaparaoa club in Stanmore Bay, Auckland. The winner, 13-year-old Dylan Smith from Orewa College, drove one of 16 trolleys provided by the Whangaparaoa club.

Currently, five New Zealand Rotary clubs are involved; Whangaparaoa, Waitakere, Auckland East, Northcote and Whangarei.  New Zealand’s Soap Box Derby Race Director, Terry Clarkson, is really encouraged by the way the competition is developing. “It gives young people the opportunity to work closely as a team, be competitive and help make a contribution to good causes,” Terry said. Following this year’s competition, the Whangaparaoa club also donated $6500 to Hibiscus Coast Hospice.  “This is now the Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa’s major event and I would love to see the Trolley Derby developin New Zealand and Australia with more Rotary clubs participating,” Terry said. “It would provide the opportunity for many more young people to compete and maybe mount a real challenge to the Americans!” The All American Soap Box Derby Headquarters was established in 1992 in Akron, Ohio. Each year more than 120 teams from across the US and eight other countries take part in the July championships. Like all things American, the championships are spectacular.  Racing is split into World championships and the International Category of New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada and Panama.

New Zealand has won the International Section three times, last year with 10-year-old Gemma McDougall, New Zealand’s first ever female champion. This year Dylan Smith was not successful, but he carries his experience forward to next year.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Carisbrook Fundraiser Stripped Rugby Ground Bare!

A multi-club project for Rotarians in southern New Zealand has proved a great way to bring people together, while raising more than $100,000 for good causes.
When Dunedin's iconic Carisbrook rugby ground was dis-established and sold to local construction firm Calder Stewart, a fantastic opportunity arose for the city's 500 Rotarians.
Rather than simply bulldozing the stadium, the owners of Calder Stewart agreed to allow Rotary Clubs to remove the seats, turnstyles, goal posts, turf and other fittings from the ground to sell. Time was tight, with everything having to be removed in just three weeks before demolition got underway in August.
The nine Rotary Clubs in Dunedin and Mosgiel, Rotaractors, and the Rotary Club of Milton got stuck in with a will, working together over three weekends to complete the mammoth task.
Dunedin-based District Governor 9980 Gary Williams was delighted at the response from local Rotarians to the project.
``This is a great opportunity for Rotarians across the city to work together on a project that will benefit everyone,'' Gary emphasised.
Carisbrook Rotary Project Chairman Brendon Bearman, of the Rotary Club of Milton, was also pleased with the high profile of the project and the eagerness of clubs to be involved.
``This is the project of a lifetime - we will never see it's like again,'' Brendon commented. ``It has brought a lot of Rotarians from various clubs together - a lot of excellent contacts have been made''.
Now that the deconstruction phase of the project is complete, the sale of seats and memorabilia items from the historic rugby ground - known across New Zealand as ``The House of Pain'' - continues. The goal posts went very quickly, for $5,000 each, and the seats have been sold to schools and sports grounds across the country.
Other items, such as monogrammed chopping boards made from some of Carisbrook's rimu seats, continue to sell well through internet auction site TradeMe.
So far, the Carisbrook Rotary Project has raised more than $100,000 for club projects and organisers have their sights set on a $200,000 target.
Brendon thanked Calder Stewart for their generosity in allowing the clubs to use the dismantling of Carisbrook as ``a fantastic fundraising opportunity''.
Article by Brenda Harwood, Rotary Club of Dunedin, New Zealand

Keenan/Brosnahan Rotary Family History

In the 1973-1974 Rotary year James (Jim) Keenan of the Rotary Club of Hokitika was District Governor for the then District 998. At that time, the District covered the whole of the South Island of New Zealand. He was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by his District in 1975. Jim also received his Sapphire Pin. Now aged 91, Jim is the oldest living Past District Governor for the current South Island Districts 9970 and 9980.

Jim and Aileen Keenan, John Keenan and Ray Brosnahan
In 1988 the Rotary Club of Timaru South awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship to Jim’s brother-in-law, Ray Brosnahan, and in the following year 1989, the Rotary Club of Timaru awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship to his other brother-in-law, Verdon Brosnahan (deceased 2010).
In 2008 the Rotary Club of Timaru South awarded Ray Brosnahan his Sapphire Pin.
In July 2013 to honour Jim Keenan’s sixty years in Rotary, the Hokitika Rotary Club awarded him a second Sapphire pin. This year, the Hokitika Rotary Club also awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship to Jim’s wife Aileen Keenan (nee Brosnahan) to recognize her 60 years of support to her husband in his Rotary work.
Also in July 2013 Jim and Aileen’s eldest son John Keenan and his wife Shirley were both inducted as members of the Rotary Club of Timaru South.
This history over sixty years of Jim Keenan, his two brothers-in-law and his wife (their sister) all being awarded Paul Harris Fellowships, and now with the next generation joining Rotary, may be unique in the Rotary world.

Te Ara Piko Pathway Award a Natural!

The Te Ara Piko Pathway around the Pauatahanui Inlet is rapidly becoming a highly awarded project, In November 2011 both Plimmerton Rotary and the Porirua City Council won the Recreation Volunteers Award in the Encore Awards.

In 2012 Porirua City Council received a Highly Commended Award for Excellence in Compliance for Te Ara Piko. This award recognised Greater Wellington consent holders who exceeded their compliance requirements to reduce or avoid adverse effects on the environment.

On Monday 19 August 2013, Plimmerton Rotary won the Heritage and Environment Category of the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for Te Ara Piko Pathway at a prestigious awards ceremony held at Pataka in Porirua.
The idea of having a pathway around the Pauatahanui Inlet was first mooted in 2000.  It was not until 2005 that any visible work was evident and the vision became a project known as the Te Ara Piko Pathway.

The project has been developed jointly between Plimmerton Rotary and the Porirua City Council with both partners being enthusiastic supporters from the start.

Ron Lucas, President of Plimmerton Rotary noted how special it was to have been nominated for this award by Porirua City and that, by receiving it, the work of both project partners was recognised.

Around the world, Rotary is involved in projects that are designed to make a difference to people’s lives in all sorts of ways. This project is unique in that it is jointly undertaken by a territorial authority and Rotary with the objective of giving everyone access to a beautiful part of Porirua City for generations to come.

There is a long way to go on this project as it works its way around the Pauatahanui Inlet but already the completed sections are proving to be well used and as the Pathway mellows, the attention paid to heritage and environmental values as recognised by the Wellington Airport Regional Community Award 2013 is becoming increasingly evident.

To celebrate, several Rotarians, Inner Wheelers and even a small person, gathered at the project’s Ration Creek nursery for the final planting of the year. Several were deployed to Ration Point to plant more Oi-Oi grasses and release those already planted.

While others busied themselves at the nursery itself, weeding around the young plants that will be ready for planting out next autumn.

Hard work like this deserves its reward so a morning tea break was very welcome.

And although it was tea and coffee and not champagne, there was a moment of celebration when mugs were raised to the extraordinary vision of having the Te Ara Piko Pathway completed around the Pauatahanui Inlet.

Written by Phillip Reidy

The Building Business Continues to thrive

Many of the longer-serving members of the Plimmerton Rotary Club will remember Randall Shaw as an achiever and genial member, known to greet each day with a welcoming smile.

He was a well-respected Rotarian, a Past President, a Paul Harris Fellow, and a recipient of The Four Avenues of Service award.  And he was a builder with a reputation for building quality well-crafted homes.

Randall was known to be enthusiastic in supporting the development of future skilled tradesmen in the Building Trade. When he passed away some 5 years ago the Randall Shaw Memorial Award was set up in his memory to endorse the values he held dear, and lived by, all his life.

The purpose of the Award is to reward a first year Building Apprentice from Whitireia Training Centre who demonstrates a clearly recognised ‘total package of value’. These values were to be shown by a first year Building Apprentice, recommended by the Trade Tutors. The Award includes a $1000 voucher to purchase trade tools from Brights Mitre 10. Bright’s have been a supporter and co-sponsor of this award since the outset. 
In life, significant goals of achievement are assisted by teamwork and good organisation. This year it was decided to make two separate Awards as the standard of the applicants was so high that it proved too difficult to choose between them. One Award went to Raydon Moore-Feuu from Titahi Bay and one went to Mitch Jago from Tawa, pictured above. These two men have a strong personal drive and ability and have embraced the apprenticeship system. They will never forget their opportunity to work in established, competent businesses where they can gain real hands-on experience. The dedicated team from Whitireia has supported them throughout, passing on the all-important technical trade knowledge over the length of their apprenticeships.

In making these Awards, Plimmerton Rotary said that it was right to acknowledge the drive and discipline of Rayden and Mitch that has brought them this distinction at the start of their working lives. The Club wishes them well and trusts that the tools will be put to good use in the years ahead.
By Michael Parker

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Rotary Club Brings World Press Photo Exhibition Back to Auckland

The Rotary Club of Auckland bought the internationally -renowned World Press Photo Exhibition back to New Zealand for the fourth consecutive year. The exhibition, which ran from 6 – 28 July, featured the best images from over 100,000 entries of photographers around the world. The prize-winning photographs are assembled into a travelling exhibition that is viewed by over a million people in 40 countries.

The event has become part of the Club’s annual fundraising activities with proceeds going to the Rotary Foundation. Club President, Craig Dealey says, “The exhibition is a fundraising initiative that fits with Rotary International’s values around health, education, poverty and harmony, with one of the Club’s guiding principles being the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace.”

“The exhibition itself gives New Zealanders the chance to see the calibre of photography from the world stage and serves as a vivid reminder of how precious the relative peace and prosperity we get to enjoy in New Zealand really is,” Dealey says. This year, 5,666 photographers from 124 nationalities submitted 103,481 photographs into the competition. An international jury of 21 photography professionals judged the exhibition, which has been running for 56 years.

The winning picture shot by photojournalist Paul Hansen from the daily Swedish newspaper The Daegens Nyheter, shows a group of men carrying the bodies of two dead children through a street in Gaza City.

The exhibition had around 9,500 visitors again this year and provided great profiling for Rotary. The Club also held its changeover function at the exhibition, which included invitations to prospective members through its Rotary young Professionals initiative. This has resulted in at least one new member being inducted along with others who are keen to find out more about Rotary.


Magic Man Makes Money Appear in Suva

Jonathan the Magician arrived and just like magic, he delivered 18 smile and fun-filled shows in just four days as part of the excitement around South Pacific PETS. Sponsored by the RC of Suva, Jonathan toured the east of Viti Levu and visited schools, nursing homes, special needs facilities and villages during his action packed days.  His trip culminated in a special Variety Night performance before a sold out audience at USP’s Japan Pacific ICT Centre for many of Suva’s prominent leaders and their families.

This single Rotary Club of Suva event raised more than $20,000 for charity. The crowds everywhere were, to put it mildly - raucous. Most in the audience had never have seen a live performing magician before and there was plenty of comedy and just the right amount of innuendo to make the adults laugh out loud as well.

The Day Job 
DGE9980 Jonathan (yes he’s a DGE!) has another job back in New Zealand where he owns and operates six petrol stations and is a long-time Rotarian. While watching Jonathan perform at a Rotary gathering in New Zealand, Suva Rotary Club President Adrian Hughes was convinced that Jonathan’s brand of humour and magic would work wonders in Fiji so he created a new event  especially for the funny man with the magic wand.   “In all my years of performing, I have never seen anything remotely like Fiji.  Every place I went, people just erupted!  It truly was magic”, said Jonathan. “I love performing for kids, and the Fiji kids made this the trip of a lifetime for me”.

The Main Event
More than 300  tickets were sold for the Variety Night at $60 each. Laisa Vulakuro and her band warmed up the crowd followed by a cocktail hour and short charity auction.   President Hughes highlighted some of the club’s recent charitable projects and announced that the RC of Suva was on a mission to raise more than ever before while honouring this year’s Rotary mantra of ‘Changing Lives’ by supporting efforts to address Non-Communicable Diseases in Fiji.  Special Guest, Dr Neil Sharma, the Fiji Minister for Health, thanked the RC of Suva for its long time partnership in addressing the medical woes faced in Fiji including their support this year against rheumatoid heart disease.

When it all was over, Fiji had experienced its first  magical night in decades and many a person, both young and old were reminded of a time when Harry Potter, Merlin, Aladdin and so many others were more than characters in fantasy movies... and of a place in our minds where magic really can happen.

Pakuranga's Trivia Night goes to the dogs

Pakuranga Rotary Club held a trivia night in July with Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust as one of its recipients. At a presentation this month, the club’s Andrew Seeley presented a cheque for $8,000 to the Trust. Mobility Dogs Senior Canine Coordinator Natalie Ramm spoke about the Trust’s mission - to enhance the lives of people living with physical disabilities increasing independence, confidence, self-esteem and participation in New Zealand communities.

Natalie introduced mobility dog Leah which demonstrated some of the skills so beneficial to people with mobility problems. These dogs are trained to pick up items like teaspoons and car keys; they can push on lift, pedestrian crossing, and alarm buttons; and they can open doors amongst up to 90 commands which can potentially be taught depending on the recipient.  The Trust’s first Mobility Dogs working team graduated at the end of 2005; and approximately 40 trained mobility dogs have been placed since then. Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust relies on donations, so they are extremely grateful for the support of The Rotary Club of Pakuranga and other clubs like Ellerslie Sunrise.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Top School’s project allows Rotary Clubs to work together for youth

The Top Schools day sees Year 4, 5 and 6 students (seven to 10-year-olds) compete in a range of team games focusing on cooperation, challenge, skill and fun! Thirty-six teams, each with eight students compete over the day, aiming to score as many points as they can within an allotted time, in each relay and shuttle game. At the end of the day the points for each team are added up and prizes of sport vouchers, sport equipment and trophies are awarded to the top teams in each of the three grades.

Of course the announcement of the Top School, decided from the points across all grades, is always eagerly awaited by the competing students and the huge group of family followers! The Top Schools programme was introduced to Timaru after local Rotarian Ellwyn Mackie heard from friend and Past 9970 District Governor David Drake that a Top School event was successfully taking place in  Palmerston North. David shared a video of this Rotary run competition. Ellwyn was impressed the competition beni8fitted children through teamwork and did not merely focus on the individual. It met the Rotary youth challenge of giving children a chance. Being convinced of the merit in the day Ellwyn, with the support of Ron White, encouraged discussions resulting in Top Schools being established in Timaru.

Top Schools has now grown to involve the Timaru, Timaru North, Timaru South, and Temuka/Geraldine Clubs.  Every year a committee with representatives from each club involved meets several times to fi ne-tune and finalise preparations for the day. Availability of venue and equipment is checked. The safety of games is checked, and hazards identified and eliminated as much as possible. First Aid is always organised to be present on the day in case competitors become over exuberant!

Each Club organises and runs two team games. Games use a range of locally made equipment such as a wobbly wheels carts, stilts, tyre tubes blown up and tied together so a child can be rolled inside, and the ever popular water slide. The equipment made or bought for each game becomes the property of the club and after the day is stored for use the following year. A local school principal co-ordinates entries, creates the team draw and operates the microphone on the day. A quality outdoor sound system ensures all teams and all game stations can hear when each game starts and stops, and when each team should move on to the next game. This is vital to ensure the smooth running of the day.  Local Rotaract students, high school students involved in Duke of Edinburgh, and outdoor pursuit students from the local Aoraki Polytechnic also join in to help Rotarians run the games as the day is a long one, starting at 10am and finishing at 3.30pm.

Clubs set up their games at the start of the day at West End Park, before attending a helper briefing. Around the park students gather in school groups, complete with their school tents or gazebos and their school banners, before proudly joining the opening march past to the applause of all gathered. The enthusiasm shown in striding out to the stirring marching music brings a smile to the faces of all Rotarians gathered and creates a sense that all their efforts are worthwhile and rewarded!

One of the special features of Top Schools is it has a huge parent and family following. Families sit together in the shade of the trees to share lunch and compare stories of the morning’s efforts! This family engagement adds to the success of the day, and the enjoyment is evident in the smiles and laughter which echo around the park, none more so than when at the end of lunch a tug of war is held between schools. Trust Power, who sponsor the event, have a sign written vehicle in the middle of the tug of war with the rope attached at both ends. By the end of this activity, children are convinced the vehicle has been stretched by their efforts, especially when doors spring open and no longer close!

As Ellwyn Mackie concludes: “Youth is such an important part of any community. Top Schools provides a positive experience for the youth and their families of our community, highlighting good old fashion values that can be enjoyed by all who are involved. The fact high school students often volunteer to help because they have fond memories of  participating in the day in years gone by is testament to the value of the investment made by Rotarians. Nurturing our youth, gives hope to our future!”

Article courtesy of the Communities in Action book For more information about this Rotary publication go to: HERE