Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What a welcome

Kids from Rata Street and Pomare schools joined together to form a Kapa Haka group to perform with a Powhiri followed by entertainment at the recent Rotary International Zone 7b and 8 Institute and District 9940 Conference at the Michael Fowler Centre on Friday 5th December.

We (Rotary and the two schools led by Kaumatua Kura Moeahu) welcomed Rotary’s World President Elect Ravi Ravindran and his wife Varanathy, Rotary Director Guiller Tamanga, Rotary Trustee Jackson Hsieh and Rotary Past World President Bill Boyd and Lorna to the Conference.  There almost 600 attendees from Sri Lanka, Philippines, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.  Senior Rotary leaders, past, present and future Governors and their partners and the public were invited.  
It was a moving occasion.  Kids arrived in a red double decker bus and then did what they do best – entertain and endear.  They made sure our visitors got to their feet to dance with them.  Memorable for both kids and visitors.

Monday, 15 December 2014

More Far North schools to roll out digital classrooms

Chromebook Day. Students at Tautoro School unwrap their
Chromebooks and log in to a whole new way of learning.
A $130,000 Rotary grant has enabled a Far North education trust to expand a revolutionary internet-based teaching system across the region. Paihia School, Kawakawa School and Northland College will join a group of low-decile schools leading the introduction of ‘digital classrooms’ when they open at the start of the 2015 school year in February.  

The initiative, led by the Kaikohekohe Educational Trust, seeks to improve academic results and reduce truancy. The founding principals are Jane Lindsay, principal of Paihia School, Lee Whitelaw, principal at Ohaeawai Primary, and Meralyn Te Hira of Kaikohe West School.

It gives children from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to embrace the wealth of learning resources available on the Internet and to learn anywhere, any time and at any pace. At its heart is the concept of learning by sharing, something the internet has made much more possible than before.

The grant from the international Rotary Foundation is being administered by the Rotary Club of Kerikeri. It will enable hundreds of Chromebooks to be introduced into many more schools now and in the future, and will fund the implementation of the project and the training involved.

Chromebooks are laptop computers with limited offline capability, designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet. They are the face of the ‘digital classroom’ system and provide access to a closed and secure environment where sharing, pivotal to this new approach to learning, can take place.

The digital classroom concept was introduced to New Zealand by the Manaiakalani Education Programme, an initiative promoting new learning approaches across a growing cluster of decile 1a schools in the low income, predominantly Māori and Pacific communities of East Auckland.

The Kaikohekohe Educational Trust has already introduced the new system in three Far North schools; Kaikohe West, Ohaeawai Primary and Tautoro. It has been in place here for a year.



chromebooks - 2

Mrs Lindsay says students at these three flagship schools have already demonstrated higher levels of engagement with their studies and a greater willingness to talk about what they are learning and what it means to them. Parents are more engaged, too, and truancy levels have dropped substantially.

Students say their Chromebooks keep all their work in one place, it keeps their work neat and tidy (unlike their desks used to be), and they are digital citizens so they love them. Students are reading more, writing more and far more engaged – this is resulting in improved outcomes in all curriculum areas. Students are sharing their work and learning from one another. Furthermore, parents and whānau have access anywhere, anytime so they can be involved in their child’s learning and support them.

“It’s not a replacement for old-fashioned education values,” Mrs Lindsay said. “It is a replacement for old-fashioned education techniques which have been failing our children for far too long.”

Kaikohe East School, Bay of Islands College and Okaihau College have expressed interest in the Kaikohekohe Learning and Change Network. It is anticipated that numerous other local schools will join in the next few years.

Any school can apply to join the network but its approach is geared to be of greatest benefit to lower-decile schools.

The $547 Chromebooks come loaded with all the software and teacher management tools needed for students to share their work with their peers, pupils in other schools in the network and with their teachers. They also come with a three-year warranty and a robust case. They will belong to the Kaikohekohe Educational Trust until they have been paid for by the students’ parents. The parents of every child signed up to the programme must agree to make repayments of at least $3.75 a week.

The scheme is not mandatory but Mrs Lindsay said take-up had been “close to 100 percent” in the three Far North schools in the network so far.

She said many of the students’ families had no access to computers or the internet.

“If a large proportion of them had devices at home we’d have followed the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, but the single-device Chromebook model is the best model for these schools in this community. By reducing choice we have increased opportunity,” she said.

The Rotary grant will be used primarily to fund the implementation of the project, the extensive training and professional development of the many teachers involved, and the salary of a facilitator and a part-time administrator identified as essential to its success.




chromebooks - 3

The money has been raised by Kerikeri Rotarian Keith Day, using a Rotary Foundation project-funding mechanism which draws on various ‘pots’ established by various Rotary administrative zones around the world. The Rotary clubs of Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Bay of Islands have all contributed to the project, as has the Harold Thomas Trust and several other community Trusts across the region.

 “This is a classic example of the power of the international Rotary network being accessed in support of a worthwhile community project,” said Kerikeri club President Bruce Mathieson. “There is absolutely no way our various Far North clubs could have made this happen on our own. Not a chance.

“What Keith has done is to focus the attention of the massively influential Rotary Foundation on our little corner of the planet – and our children have emerged as winners. Big time.”   

Mrs Lindsay said the Rotary grant had given the Kaikohekohe Learning and Change Network “traction” which otherwise would have taken many more years to achieve.
“What Rotary have done for us borders on unbelievable,” she said. “They’ve allowed us to fast-track the implementation. Without them we would have been really struggling.”

For enquiries please contact:
Peter Heath, Due North
09-4074695 / 021-45635

Monday, 1 December 2014

A selection of exciting projects

Read about the many exciting projects featured in the December-January issue of the Rotary Down Under magazine at http://tinyurl.com/n8anyw5 

Local and effective

A local dog walker's favourite route past the Tuatara Classroom
at Rotary Park in Otorohanga
Rotary Club of Otorohanga members wanted a project that would make a significant contribution to their community, but one that was driven by Rotary and involved help from many sectors of the town in a way that ensured the club was a relevant contributor to their community.  The cause they have been proud to support is the iconic Otorohanga Kiwi House which provides a truly authentic New Zealand nature experience while contributing to the conservation of the country’s native wildlife.

During the past three years, the club has been involved in several projects at the Kiwi House as it goes through its program of refurbishment that has brought this back to its former glory, much to the delight of locals and the many visitors. These projects included: building the deck and access ramp for the "Tuatara Room", an educational facility for visiting school children and other groups to learn about the Kiwi House programs, including New Zealand’s fauna; the cleaning and refurbishment of the "Kakapo Aviary"; cleaning out the pond where the large native eels live; and the construction of the "Morepork Aviary".

The latest development involves the club using $25,000 from its Charitable Trust to purchase a toilet block which will complete the Tuatara Room.  This building project comprised a partnership between the Rotary Club of Otorohanga, Otorohanga Kiwi House Trust, and Otorohanga Development Board, plus local tradespeople and businesses.

Rotary in Otorohanga now uses the Tuatara Room as their base and visitors admire both the room and its surrounds – 60 year old Redwood trees (which were a Rotary project) and a beautiful park surrounded by the Kiwi House breeding and recovery pens. The Tuatara Room is in "Rotary Park" opposite the main Kiwi House area and alongside the breeding and rehabilitation aviaries. Rotary Park was also developed over the past 50 years by hard working Rotarians and it is used by many for lunches and picnicking. 

Adjacent to the Kiwi House is the domain where cricket and soccer are played. With help from the local Rotary club, the cricket fraternity have built a double wicket all weather practice facility, again helped by local tradespeople.  There are Rotary signs throughout all of these projects because Rotary is proud of its achievements helping develop these much valued town amenities.

Two local Otorohanga College students chilling out at Rotary Park
between end of year exams

 More: www.oto-rotary.org/  

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pedal pushers

100km peloton around Maungatautari Mountain
The Rotary Club of Te Awamutu, NZ,  is proud to present the Maunga Cycle Challenge, an event for the community, which promotes the Waipa District and the wider Waikato, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust and provides a challenge of riding around the majestic Maungatautari Mountain. The event start and finish on the second Sunday in November is at Albert Park in Te Awamutu and it has attracted over 500 riders.

Rotarian organizer Elizabeth Wright says the Maunga Cycle Challenge is open to a diverse range of riders, attracting everyone from families keen for a bit of fun and family time, to professionals looking to stretch their legs in the 100km ride around Maungatautari Mountain.

Other distances are the Livingston 3 person relay, 30km or 12km family ride. Other popular events have been the Battle of Champions between elite rowers and cyclists, a school team competition and the Sport Waikato Energizes running a programme for children on the park.

The charity of choice is the Trusts Education Facility. Five dollars from the 30km and 100km entries assists with purchase of resources for visiting school groups of children and visitors to learn about the flora and fauna of the mountain. All further profits are directed straight back into the community. 

The Maunga is a growing community event and draws volunteers from local clubs and businesses, with the latter providing product and cash prizes. Waikato businesses also assist with advertising, web design and the Waipa Council with advice and financial support.

On the day, the local cycle club helps with registrations and other Rotarians from Kihikihi and Otorohanga assist the committee with the many jobs to ensure the smooth running of the event. Up to 60 volunteers assist annually with the Maunga.

A short video on the website themaungachallenge.co.nz showcases the beautiful surrounds of the mountain and river.

The tenth Maunga Cycle Challenge will be on November 8 [2015]. Online registrations will open in September to save your slot. 


Wide-eyed and amazed describes the audience attending the fifth Rotary Club of Mangere Showtime extravaganza at the Mangere Arts Centre over four days on September 10-13. 

The spectacular opening act by the Mangere College’s Kapa Haka group set the pace and tone of energy and excitement for the showcase of youth talent in the performing arts in New Zealand’s Mangere community.  Mangere Showtime has become entrenched into the local community calendar with a strong support from all of the local schools, and has the community’s gratitude for taking the raw talent of their youth while providing a platform for refinement, which in turn opens up new opportunities for these performers to progress their artistic talents. 

One evening was specifically set aside for students needing to perform in front of a live audience as part of their National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) exam assessment.  This produced a variety show with all sorts of instruments and types of performances to a high standard that kept the audience fully attentive throughout the show and provided performers with  a real audience’s reaction. This was the dream of former president Des Johnson and he drove Showtime in its formative years.  In 2014 this musical showcase was grown further with the introduction of “The Next Step Project”, a new initiative that will enable eight selected performers to be mentored as they develop in their chosen performing arts.    

The modern state of the art facility used for the performances was indicative of the quality of the event for every aspect of the showcase that was incredibly well promoted, including social media and a very “hard hitting” promotional video using images from past shows.  This resulted in very strong community support and full houses for each of the performance.  The club’s secondary objective to promote Rotary in the local and wider community was also achieved. 

Performances were videoed and placed onto vimeo.com/user7025957, so they have been played around the world.
More: www.mangere.rotarysouthpacific.org

Ethnicity, gender balance and family membership growth opportunities

New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, recognised the Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside, on October 21, 2014 for 20 years of community service & fellowship. The recognition certificate states, “the club is distinct in that members represent many different ethnicities and is the most culturally diverse club in Auckland”.

If when the club was chartered in 1994 there was a need for a club to lead the way by representing the ethnic diversity of Auckland at that time, then what would those visionaries, in particular charter President Mike Jaduram (who went on to be District 9920 Governor in 1998-1999) make of the super-diverse category that Auckland city now falls into?  When the club chartered, they had equal numbers of Chinese, Indian and European members, but Auckland now has over 200 ethnicities which again brings to the fore the long debated issue of how, and when, will Rotary make serious inroads into club membership reflecting the diversity of their local community, or at least build lasting relationships or partnerships with these communities.

The Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside started with the principal that prospective members had to first and foremost have the characteristics that make a good Rotarian, as well as being able to mix well and have the willingness to dedicate their time and energy to adhere to the Rotary principle of “Service above Self”.  The fact that they were able to apply Indian, Chinese and Kiwi culture made the club more diverse and interesting.

The multicultural membership brought strong links to these different ethnic communities, necessitating innovation, new ways to fundraise and create service projects appropriate for these communities, but still also relevant to the Auckland community as a whole.  Former president Shefali Mehta emphasises that there are some great examples in their three signature fundraising events each year, involving Chinese New Year, Diwali and Best of British, that typically each attract more than 500 guests annually to support organizations such as Starship Children Hospital, St John Ambulance, Leukemia & Blood Foundation, Totara Hospice South Auckland and many more.

Cultural diversity adds strength to the club and its activities because of the diverse talent pool.

In addition to cultural diversity, the club also has a good gender balance, not by restricting one gender, but making the extra effort to encourage women to see the club as vibrant place, respectful of their needs and this works well with 43% of the club being women.  

Family values and participation are also very strong within this club that has couples plus parents and children as members, and the inclusion of partners at everything the club does is a given.   

This success formula is unbeatable!  

More: www.aucklandharbourside.rotarysouthpacific.org

Featured article
February 2015 edition of
Rotary Down Under magazine


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Rotary spreads knowledge to island children

Waiheke Rotary President Greg Davenport and member Sherryl El Bakary visited both the Te Huruhi and Waiheke Promart schools to present to their Year 4 students their personal copy of the Usborne Pictorial Dictionary.  All 113 students were delighted to receive these as part of the club's on-going commitment to the youth of Waiheke Island.
For more understanding about this project view this video via YouTube:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Want a new house - Rotorua Sunrise Rotary have an auction for you

7 December with proceeds going to the Rotary Rotorua Sunrise Charitable Trust for distribution to the community.

Go to www.mcdowell.co.nz - then ID#PRT12405 for more information.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

That’s the night of the big game!

What do you do when, four months out, you discover that the only booking available for your fundraiser on August 16 clashes with a major Rugby Championship 2014 game between the New Zealand All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies? 

Well you create a themed supporting event too good to be missed, invite Rotarians and members of the public, and promise to get everyone home in time for the live TV broadcast from ANZ Stadium in Sydney.  That was the Rotary Club of Pakuranga’s solution to the problem, and it resulted in their trivia quiz and auction evening being a huge success. The event was noisy, loud and colourful in a room filled with laughter and happy banter.

With Variety, the Children’s Charity as their chosen charity partner, the Rotary club had secured a wide range of auction items, ranging from working a Ports of Auckland straddle crane to a Gold Coast apartment holiday. Eighty five percent of the 250 tickets sold were to non-Rotarians, with the tables of 10 asked to dress in a theme. There were sporting teams, pirates, trollops, tramps, biker gangs, road workers, election parties and many more.
Television celebrity Shane Cortese shares a moment with Philippa and her mum Denise Loseby.

Several television celebrities joined in with actor, comedian, entertainer and raconteur Mark Wright, who was dressed as former rugby union footballer and coach Alex "Grizz" Wyllie, officiating as both quiz master and auctioneer. His first task was to auction actor Shane Cortese, who is known for his television roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Nothing Trivial, and his dancing prowess on Dancing With the Stars (NZ), to join a table to assist with a quiz round. With a whistle, yellow cards, stock whip and smoking hand gun, Mark kept the fans in order while he extracted valuable dollars for a local decile one school (that is in the 10 per cent of schools with the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic communities) and other youth initiatives in the area.  A profit of over $20,000 was made, with many tables asking to be contacted for next year’s event.
So, don’t let a clash with another function put you off.  You know the old saying… “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”


Rotary Club of Waiheke Island, NZ, members are immersed in preparing for the 24th annual Fullers Waiheke Wharf2Wharf fun run & walking event on Saturday January 17, 2015.   There’s still time before the start gun to get into training for this infamous hilly course across Waiheke Island and join with hundreds of others on a fun filled day for the entire family.  

New events have been added, courtesy of Sport Auckland, to allow even the youngest athletes to participate at Matiatia including: a Kid’s Dash for 6 to 8 year olds; a Family Bear Hunt for 3 to 9 year olds who have to take Mum or Dad along to help solve the clues;  and a Fun Fair Playground to help young children develop balance and cognitive skills.  Chairperson of the organising committee Marcus Mackenzie says that children should expect to see Bobby Banana having fun on the cooling water slide, or a paw paw mascot sharing water and fruit at the finish line, provided by new sponsor Dole NZ.   Every finisher will get to take home a pineapple too.

Also new this year is the switch from a 7 km to a 5 km race, starting at Surfdale beach which will allow the young guns to get in a good sprint with Mum or Dad working hard to keep up with them on the flat start to the course.  The hilly 13 km from Orapiu to Onetangi and the slightly flatter 12 km from Onetangi to Matiatia offer enough challenge for the majority, and may be the perfect opportunity to fundraise for one of the two official charities associated with the event.  The Fred Hollows Foundation is well known to Rotarians for the work they perform in the Pacific region restoring sight.  Locally based charity, the Jassy Dean Trust, is perhaps better known for its annual Garden Safari in November. This year their efforts are focussed on supporting Melana House which provides services to differently-abled children and their families.

For the serious runners, the signature 25 km will see fast and furious pace being set in the men’s race.  Race Director Ann Brown expects that there will be strong competition for that coveted first place cash prize.  Ann is also looking forward to a fast paced ladies race this year, led by Ironman and Marathon runner, Lesley Turner Hall.  With 37 marathons and 7 Ironman events completed in the past 12 years, Lesley will be using the Wharf2Wharf course as a training outing for her 2015 ambitions.

Every distance offers walk options, and 2015 sees the return of cousins Ken and Steve Leitch in 2015 competing once more for champion bragging rights against nephew Sven.  Whether or not your aim is to be in to win, walking the courses showcase superb views of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and it is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Waiheke Island at its summertime best.

Keeping the race affordable is a priority for the organisers, with discounted ferry fares, low cost junior entry fees and early bird deals for those who like to save a few dollars.  No matter when you sign up, know that your dollars help the Rotary Club of Waiheke Island continue its support of invaluable community groups and projects and the Dolphins Netball club sustain its programmes.  Both organisations invest a lot of time and effort in offering the event, so that what goes around comes around, in true Waiheke spirit.

For more information or to enter visit www.wharf2wharf.co.nz.  

Community supports Rotary’s fun event

A milestone of 12 years fund raising for the community from the one event has so far raised a grand total of $349,000. 

The Brightwater Wine and Food Festival (BWFF) run by the Rotary Club of Richmond, New Zealand, is a successful event enabling the club to return the profits back to the community.  This year another $29,000 was given to recipients including, Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust, St John Ambulance, Brightwater Rural Fire Force and many more.  At the presentation of donations to this year’s recipients, Chairman of the BWFF Committee Peter Glue announced,  “Thanks to the encouragement of sponsors, the fair will be continuing for another year on Sunday February 15”. 

BWFF is successful because it is a fun day for all the community, bringing a variety of food, wine and beer for enjoyment, while the beat of splendid local music sets the mood in the vineyard venue.  Rotarians use their management skills bringing it all together, even providing buses or the option of Taste Nelson Cycle Trail to get to the venue.

Peter highlighted the ongoing success of the fair and said, “The committee is intending not to expand to any great degree, but to simply tweak the existing event to make it a better, brighter and happier festival in 2015.  Landscaping is taking place, and the emphasis will be more children orientated.  Effort will also be put into expanding cycling to the event”. 

Rotorua cyclists ride to rid the world of polio

A Rotary Club of Rotorua, NZ, cycling team has completed a gruelling ride to raise $2000 to help the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.

Six Kwik Kiwis riding 210 kilometres only had one puncture. Josh Pederson fixing Janine Speedy’s puncture

The six-member “Kwik Kiwis” team, led by president Russell Dale, competed in the 210 kilometre Round the Bay cycling event in Melbourne on Sunday October 19 in the run-up to World Polio Day on October 24.

The Kwik Kiwis team consisted of Russell Dale, his daughters Jodi and Anna Dale, son-in-law Josh Pederson, and friends David Russell and Janine Speedy.

The team finished Australia’s largest cycling event in nine hours, and team members and sponsors raised the $2000 contribution that, with 2:1 matching funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is enough to vaccinate 10,000 children in the last few countries where polio still exists.

Rotary around the world began a campaign, called Polio Plus, in 1985 to try and eradicate the disease. Rotarians have raised more than $300 million since then and have also joined vaccination teams to fight the disease. The World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Centres for Disease Control, many countries and private funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have joined the campaign as partners.

Polio cases have been reduced by 99 per cent and total eradication now depends on eliminating the disease from the last three countries where it is endemic - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria - where there have been 182 new cases in 2014, up until 24 September. A further 19 cases in seven countries have been caused by “imported” virus strains from the endemic areas.

“From an estimated 387,000 polio cases in 1985 when Polio Plus began, the world is now so close to being polio-free,” Russell said. “The Kwik Kiwis’ contribution and donations from many others will help to eliminate the last one per cent of cases and ensure no child anywhere will be disabled by this crippling disease.”

World Polio Day information: www.endpolio.org

Rotary offers options

Getting stuck in. Kerikeri Rotarians including (from left) John Graham, Pete Roffey, Owen Smith (on roof), John Toms, Dale Simkin and Mel Messenger built the public barbecues in the town’s Stone Store Basin. The Rotary Club of Kerikeri’s new website gives non-members the chance to suggest other projects or volunteer their services.
The Rotary Club of Kerikeri is pulling out all the stops to engage with the local community. It has launched a new website outlining its work, encouraging membership enquiries and creating new ways for people to get involved without needing to become members.

Residents of the town can use www.kerikerirotaryclub.org either to suggest community projects for Rotary to get involved with or to volunteer their own services for Rotary initiatives.

“Rather than dream up random community projects on our own, we thought it would be good to seek suggestions from the community,” said Bruce Mathieson, the club’s President. “And because we suspect there are quite a few people out there who would like to become involved in community projects, but don’t want to become formally involved with Rotary, we’re making it easy for them to do so.”  

Bruce (36) is the youngest President of the club to date. He promised a year of change with a focus on local projects. Bruce said the 37-strong club was one of the most active and healthy in the region, but he wanted to encourage more professionals and parents of young families to join its ranks. For this to happen the club would need to evolve and adapt.

“We’re looking at a heap of new membership options,” Bruce said, “from introducing ‘couples’ membership through to adding breakfast or lunch gatherings to our existing meetings format. Rotary is an important part of the fabric of our community, but for this to continue, we need to remain relevant to, and in touch with, all parts of our community. Our new website is the first step towards this goal.”

Friday, 31 October 2014

A double celebration

Rotary Club of Whakatane Sunrise Charter President Tony Bonne, Rotary Whakatane West President Kevin Richardson, and District 9930 Governor Paul Wright handing over the Charter
A great example of Lighting Up Rotary was celebrated on October 11 when a Rotary Club and an Interact Club were chartered together at the same time, which is a first for New Zealand. This means one more Rotary club to complement the two already in Whakatane, the Rotary Club of Whakatane West and the Rotary Club of Whakatane, plus another Interact Club to complement the Trident High School Interact Club.

It started with a vision. Sunrise clubs are increasing in popularity and meeting a need for people who want to join Rotary, but for whom evenings and lunchtimes are unsuitable. In the 1990s, Whakatane had two Rotary Clubs, and both still met in the evenings.

In 2011 Tony Bonne was President of the Rotary Club of Whakatane West and he, along with District 9930 then Governor Raewyn Kirkman, re-visited the sunrise idea. On October 11 this year, their vision became a reality when the Rotary Club of Whakatane Sunrise was chartered alongside the Interact Club of Whakatane High School.

The 2014 journey for both new clubs has been swift, professional, and managed efficiently by their sponsoring club, the Rotary Club of Whakatane West, with five very experienced Rotarians as the core of the new Rotary club: Tony Bonne, Linda Bonne, Roger Angell, Douglas McLean all previously from the Rotary Club of Whakatane West, and Peter Watt a very sound Rotarian who has recently retired to Ohope Beach. Whilst these experienced Rotarians, who have well over one hundred years of Rotary service between them and two Paul Harris Fellows, have taken the lead role in the Board for the first year, they will all stand aside in the 2015-2016 year to mentor new Board members taking on leadership roles.

The charter dinner was the culmination of many hours work, searching for merchandise, asking for donations that were willingly given after a wedding-type register sent to clubs to help supply what was needed, getting the constitution correct, and most importantly, attracting suitable members. 33 people became charter members of the Rotary club, plus more are eager to join.

The new Rotary Club of Whakatane Sunrise has already had a successful fundraiser, raising $1500 for Whakatane Coastguard.

The establishment of the Sunrise club has had a positive effect on the other Rotary clubs in Whakatane as they have been increasing their memberships too. 

The Whakatane High School Interact Club President Annalees Craig and their Vice President attended the charter dinner. The remaining 25 students received their charter pins at the school assembly for more appropriate recognition amongst their peers. Trident High School and John Paul College in Rotorua had two members each attend the dinner, along with District 9930 Interact Chair Deb Bell. Both schools’ Interact clubs work well together and they have begun fundraising for a Rotary ShelterBox with $800 already in the bank.


Enabling learning

 Coolidge Kindy pupils delighted with their new Rotary school desks.
A better learning environment is the outcome for 1200 pupils in rural schools in Vanuatu from a pan-Pacific Rotary initiative that has wide support from Rotary clubs north of Auckland, NZ, and from as far afield as Tasmania, Australia, and Canada. 

The project was initiated by former District Governor Lindsay Ford, Chairman of Vanuatu Projects, and it is one of the first Global Grants to be implemented in Vanuatu, along with the renovation of Lolowai Hospital in Ambae and Napangasale School in Tongoa.

It was considered important for the project to have as wide a benefit as possible, so practical experience to trainees was included through getting the desks manufactured at local tertiary Institutes.   The first school desks are being manufactured in Luganville at Alistair Advent Training Institute, with the first five desks given to the delighted children and staff from Coolidge Kindy at Banban, where Headmistress Rosy thanked Rotary for its ongoing support over the past few years.   Also assisting in the manufacture of the desks is the Vanuatu Institute of Technology in Port Vila, so educational outcomes are involved throughout the process.

Each robust galvanised steel, treated NZ Pine and plywood school desk accommodates two students. 

Achieving a primary school in Nepal

From Rotary District 9930 New Zealand, Rotarians have physically made a difference to the lives of school children in a small village, in the small country of Nepal, in the foot hills of the world’s largest mountains, the Himalayas.

School children receiving hygiene kits and stationary packs
by Rotary Club of Dhulikhel
The local Nepalese community and District Education Office established Bhubaneshwori Primary School. The parents of this school were very poor, with their average income of $US2 a week, so they did not have money to contribute to the school.  The chairman of School Management Committee asked Rotary for assistance.

New Zealand Rotarians Ann Owen, Jim Carroll, Vivian Edgar and others visited the school.  With financial support from the Rotary Clubs of Tauranga, Papamoa, Matamata, Tauranga Te Papa and a Rotary 9930 District Grant, the project was commenced to help the school and the children. However only half of the eligible children could be accommodated.

Working alongside members of District 3292 Rotary Club of Dhulikhel, Nepal, and in particular Past President Ashok Kumar Shrestha, they started to build a second school.  The foundations were laid during the New Zealand Rotarians’ visit.  Later the Rotary Club of Tauranga funded a roof and eventually the building was completed. 

No electricity is available for lighting, so the classroom walls needed to be painted. A 9930 District Grant, secured by Tauranga Rotary, provided the paint and the project was completed. 

Following the completion of this international project, the school now has 307 students (124 male and 183 female). With the help of Rotary, the new school building is providing better and quality education.

Following the Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia, Past President Ashok Kumar Shrestha visited all of the New Zealand clubs involved and brought expressions of thanks from the school and the Rotary Club of Dhulikhel for supporting education by completion of this very special international cooperation project that fulfils one of The Rotary Foundation six Areas of Focus, Basic Education and Literacy. 

Click on the link to read the report of this project and view more photographs www.rotarysouthpacific.org/_show_doc.cfm?id=4884&doc=A05E2CCA-9D95-4849-9FA5-2DDFA3B1C9BF

Serendipity Saves a Young Life

Tarabou and her father.
Dr John Wright a paediatric cardiologist from Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital, was one of 24 members of a cardiac surgical team who with support from the Friends of Fiji and the Rotary Club of New Lynn, NZ, had been in Lautoka Hospital for ten days, performing heart surgery on twelve children. On September 12 he was urgently summoned to attend an emergency situation at Nadi Airport where a child from Kiribati had arrived cyanosed and unconscious.

Seven year-old Tarabou Raubane was one of six children with heart problems, all from Kiribati, on route to India for open heart surgery, accompanied by a nurse and their parents. With Tarabou in no condition to travel further, the group resumed their journey, leaving Tarabou and her father at Nadi.

With no medical documentation, or diagnosis other than the reported “heart murmur”, Dr John administered oxygen and then drove Tarabou to Lautoka Hospital to revive her and stabilise her condition. An ultrasound showed that Tarabou had Tetralogy of Fallot (a congenital heart malformation that affects the route the blood takes around the heart) and was in need of urgent surgical help.

There was concern that the facilities in Fiji were insufficient to undertake the necessary complex surgery, and Tarabou was of course in no position to travel onward to India. The Starship medical team also felt it impossible ethically to leave the child in Lautoka when they had already been obliged to start medical treatment.

An urgent request was made to Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children NZ for acceptance of Tarabou as an emergency ROMAC patient, and to underwrite travel and medical costs for emergency treatment at Starship Children’s Hospital.

The Rotary network acted fast to approve this unusual case with Board acceptance within three days. Just one week later after visas and flights had been arranged, Tarabou and her father arrived in Auckland, to be met by the ROMAC NZ team, and members of the host Rotary Club of New Lynn.

Open heart surgery was performed by Dr Kirsten Finicure just three days later, and very quickly Tarabou was sufficiently recovered to be walking, laughing and smiling for a photograph.  

Fate also smiled when it put Tarabou, a NZ paediatric cardiology team, and ROMAC together to save a young life!

Tarabou now has opportunity to share her beautiful smile and live a full life as she grows up in Kiribati.

This story can only encourage us to put a hand on our own healthy heart, and know the life-saving difference we make as Rotarians, supporting the ROMAC programme.

Saving Lives

Opera singer Dame Malvina Major has her blood pressure taken by a St John Ambulance officer, accompanied by Diane Whitehead of the Rotary Club of Fairfield.
“It can be hard to make the time for something as simple as a blood pressure check, or we just don’t think about it, and yet, it could end up saving our lives.  So many people with high blood pressure probably don’t even know they have it, so these free checks are invaluable” - Rotary Club of Fairfield President Mike Cahill’s comments encapsulate why the national Blood Pressure Awareness campaign held on Saturday October 4 was so important, considering that there is a very strong association between high blood pressure and strokes, with strokes being the third largest killer in New Zealand and a major cause of disability. 

For the sixth consecutive year, Rotarians throughout the country teamed up with The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, St John Ambulance, Wellington Free Ambulance and Foodstuffs supermarkets to raise awareness about blood pressure, its relationship to strokes, and the importance of having regular blood pressure checks.

Rotarians assisted over a four hour period at 187 sites, mostly at Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak‘nSave  supermarkets, encouraging shoppers to have their blood pressures taken, handing out information packs, gathering data, and ensuring its return to the Stroke Foundation for evaluation. They were also responsible for securing promotion coverage of the campaign by contacting local community newspapers and community radio stations. In some areas, Rotary clubs gained the support of celebrities to raise the profile of the campaign, such as in Hamilton where opera singer Dame Malvina Major kindly agreed to front their local campaign. 

In last year’s campaign, it was found that 47% of the 22,000 shoppers tested had raised blood pressure readings, with 4% of participants falling into the severe hypertension range, resulting in 13% being specifically referred to a GP or nurse for further medical advice and treatment. In follow up phone calls, 40% of respondents said that they were taking action as a result of their blood pressure reading or due to information received on Down With Blood Pressure campaign day.

The results of this year’s campaign are still being collated, and should be available to clubs by the end of the year.  It was another successful campaign, reaching more New Zealanders than ever before.  

As Rotary Club of Keikeri President Bruce Mathieson said, “If today’s exercise prevents just one premature death, it will have been four hours well spent”.
Rotary Club of Taieri President Peter Williams encourages shoppers to have their blood pressure tested.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Rotary Tauranga tackles literacy parity amongst preschoolers.

Literacy problems with pre-school children have been publicly recognised as an ongoing national problem this year. The Rotary Club of Tauranga was determined to do something about it by providing resources for local educators working with pre-school children. The club had become aware that given the resources, the educators, could make a measurable impact on these children’s literacy awareness. By teaming up with local preschool educators, Rotary clubs throughout New Zealand and Australia can make a significant impact in helping needy children get off to a good start with their education.

With the desire to assist in tackling literacy challenges facing some pockets within our local community, the Rotary Club of Tauranga provided a grant to Nga Reanga e Toru- 3 Generations Trust for their teaching and learning resources. The resources are used by the educators and children that the Trust works with. Currently the Trust works in an early education centre in one of the lowest socio-economic areas in Tauranga. The education trust runs two programmes in the centre. ‘Twos and Threes’ for children aged 2 – 3 years, and ‘School Transition’ a year-long programme for 4 year olds.

Rachel Peacocke, co-founder and chairperson of the Trust says to succeed academically with children from low-literacy families they need to start working with them from the earliest available opportunity:

“The Trust’s relationship with Rotary Tauranga and the support they have provided has been instrumental in our ability to not only teach children in the centre but send home items of educational value that might otherwise be cost prohibitive to the child’s family.”

To this effect Rotary have approved the purchase of resources for the home such as books, pencils, games, cards, and educational toys, most notably a Leapfrog fridge phonics toy for every child in the centre.

Rachel says the impact these resources can have in families is far-reaching and goes beyond anything the Trust can measure. For example, the 60 Leapfrog phonics toys Rotary purchased means that   children will now be able to develop an understanding from within the home around a letter having a name, and a sound. For some of the children, prior to this educational toy being provided, there's been little or no literacy learning-taking place in the home.

“In the past I’ve worked with 4-year-old children who had no concept of what a letter was or that it had a purpose. These resources can also serve to educate younger siblings. There have been anecdotes from parents who have told us that when a four-year-old is engaged with one of their learning toys, then the younger sibling or siblings are often right there beside them wanting to learn too.”

The ‘Nga Reanga e Toru – 3 Generations Trust’ vision of literacy parity in the Bay of Plenty region within three generations is admirable. A recent visit from a few Rotarians to the Centre that the Trust operates out of was encouraging and crystalised the value of the Rotary Club of Tauranga providing the educational resources for the pre-schoolers.

Dr Richard Speed, President of the Rotary Club of Tauranga also recognises the challenges facing children in low socio-economic areas and encourages Rotary Clubs to look at ways where they can be involved in tackling the challenges:   

“Literacy is the foundation of learning. Being properly prepared for primary schooling is essential and this program goes a long way towards achieving this in a low decile population. While it is too early to measure outcomes already we are seeing the preschoolers and their Whanau engaging enthusiastically.

I strongly encourage other Rotary clubs to get alongside in tackling the challenges facing the preschoolers in their areas.”

By - Rachel Peacocke, Nga Reanga e Toru – 3 Generations Trust’