Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Every child deserves to play

Latisha Freemantle (aged 7) wondered why she only saw healthy children with no disabilities playing in playgrounds. She asked her grandmother, “why?” So began a search. She sent a letter to the Mayor of Porirua Nick Leggett.
Latisha and her grandmother then came to the Rotary Club of Plimmerton to talk to the club and research began.
The Variety Club in conjunction with various charities have put a Liberty Swing which holds a wheelchair in many cities throughout New Zealand. Other Liberty Swings can be found around the world, many thanks to the help of local Rotary Clubs.
The Exeter Mencap Society worked with their local Exeter Rotary Clubs and other charity organisations to develop an “all inclusive playground”. Local Trustee Miriam Guard said that the Rotary clubs have been very helpful, including planting purple crocuses which they donated as part of the international campaign to eradicate polio.
In New Zealand there are only 26 of these wheelchair swings. Many have a $10 charge for use, whereas others are only available for special occasions.
It’s almost impossible for a child in a wheelchair to negotiate the bark chips that are in many playgrounds in order to reach, or even touch, some of the play equipment.
Plimmerton Rotary also researched other playgrounds overseas. In Dothan, Alabama the local Rotary Clubs teamed with business, council and the community to build ‘The Rotary Miracle Playground’.
In Tallahassee, Florida a similar type of partnering resulted in a huge park called Tom Brown Park and playground. It’s size is outside our wildest dreams in Porirua, however we believe that a start should be made.
Latishia, her mother and representatives of both Rotary Clubs of Porirua Sundown and Plimmerton visited the Mayor who told them that Porirua City Council is very supportive and has already started work on revitalising playgrounds around the city because 25% of Porirua citizens are children, and just over 20% of people in the city have some sort of disability.
Undertaking improvements is very expensive so it will take some time.
The two Rotary Clubs are currently working together and see this project as potentially a cluster-wide opportunity as well as a long-term partnership with the council and other interested groups. We all want to achieve the best outcome for Porirua city.
 By Adrienne Murray, Rotary Club of Plimmerton

Sunday, 12 January 2014


With Jim and Aileen is L to R PDG Rex Morris PDG Peter Roselli,
President Elect Kamaya Crawford DG Gordon Hooper and PDG Pat Clay 
PDG JAMES KEENAN. 60 years of Rotary Service

On 3rd January 1954 James (Jim) Keenan joined the Rotary Club of Hokitika in D298 now D9970.

At the time Jim was Deputy Mayor of Hokitika. He served his community in this role from 1948 to 1955

He had recently returned from the war where he saw service in North Africa and Italy. He was at the battle of Monte Cassino where he served as a member of the 23rd battalion Second NZEF. His battalion was mainly made up of West Coasters most of whom grew up with Jim and they shared many happy memories of growing up on what was then one of the most colourful communities in New Zealand.
He later was wounded by shrapnel in the battle to cross the Rubicon River and after the war finished he was shipped back to New Zealand and spent time recuperating at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs. Most of the West Coast contingent returned to the Coast although a number of them like Jim were injured.
He was honoured by the Queen with a DSO for services to the community and later the 1990 Commemoration Medal for his service to conservation. Jim is a JP and an Honorary  Life Member of the RSA .
Jim was born in 1922 at Woodstock in the famous Royal Mail Hotel which was built by his Grandfather in 1870. It remained in their family for the next 82 years and it is still operating today.
Jim is a published author and is considered an authority on early West Coast history. His book “The Coasts Colourful Characters” is a record in humour of the early characters and life, collected over a lifetime living and working on the “Coast” .

Jim,s service to his community is unquestionable as is his service and dedication to Rotary.
He served as District Governor in 1973-1974 and although his health “ ain’t what it used to be” he still regularly attends Hokitika’s weekly meetings.
Both Jim and his wife Aileen where recently honoured by then D9970 Governor Gordon Hooper acknowledging his 90th birthday and his Rotary service of 60 years to Hokitika and District. 
He has been a mentor to many DGs and his hospitality of taking each visiting Governor for a mornings tour of his beloved Hokitika is legendary. He is a great raconteur and loves to talk about his early Rotary service and share his stories of the people and the many colourful events that have embellished his life. In West Coast vernacular he is what they call a “Good Bugger”.
Submitted by: PDG Gordon Hooper 2012-2013       

3500 breads make all the difference

For the last 18 months , the "Rotary E-Club 9920 Francophone" has been to 3
bakeries to get free bread from those 3 bakeries twice a week , and then
distribute it through one of its members who is very active in 2 NGOs which
help the poor people in great need in the area of Salon de Provence , France
During the 2012-2013 Rotary year , more than 3500 breads have been
distributed by the "Rotary E-Club 9920 Francophone", and since July 1rst
2013 , more than 1000 breads have already been collected and distributed.
This is the living proof that a Rotary E-Club can participate in Community
Service Projects even though all of its members are around the World .
On the pictures , you can see one of the "Rotary E-Club 9920 Francophone"
members along with the other people working in the NGO.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Money Tree

New honorary member of Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise,
Mayor Steve Chadwick, with Abigayle Martin of Kawaha Point and
President Sue Gunn in front of the Christmas Money Tree.
The Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise held its annual Christmas breakfast on December 17, 2013 at the Novotel Lakeside Rotorua. All members and guests were asked to bring along money notes to peg onto the Christmas money tree, with proceeds to the Salvation Army.
After breakfast the money was removed from the tree and counted. It totalled $345 plus a cheque for $500 was also on the tree which was proceeds from the Charity’s Shop Christmas Gingerbread House Raffle.
During the breakfast meeting Mayor Steve Chadwick was formally welcomed as a new honorary member of Rotary Rotorua Sunrise. She plans to be an active and engaging honorary member of the club, sharing in fellowship, providing leadership, inspiration and assistance to club projects for the purpose of making our community, our country and the world a better place to live in.
Mayor Steve replied “I am a morning person and would like to be involved in Rotary projects that are good for our community.” She was very impressed with the positive energy of the club and the contribution members make to the community.
By Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise President Sue Gunn

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Rotary 4WD

0n Sunday 5 January 2014, 21 trucks gathered at the Golden Gate for the annual Cromwell Rotary 4WD trip.

This year’s trip traversed both the Hawksburn and Cairnmuir Stations, allowing drivers access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. Along the way we learnt about ancient Moa hunting sites and had a picnic-lunch at an historic homestead (Hawksburn). The day ended with a bbq at Bannockburn inlet. Rotary thanks go to; DOC. Phillip McElroy (Hawksburn) and Alistair Hamilton (Cairnmuir), Webb’s Fruit, Murray Dennison and Bill Wilson (organisers) and all those who helped make this day great success.

Funds raised will assist Rotary with their local and international community works. We will do it all again next year; don’t miss it!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Rotary PR event with a fellowship spinoff

For the past 15 years, the Otahuhu shopping area in South Auckland, NZ has not had a Santa parade, as during that time it was deemed culturally insensitive. However, in 2013 the Otahuhu Mainstreet Association decided that it was time to bring back the parade which turned out to be a magnificent event with 25 groups putting in entries or floats.
The Rotary Club of Otahuhu decided to support this celebration event, using it as a PR exercise to inform the local community that Rotary is still alive and well in Otahuhu. We were indeed a colourful group in our new hi-viz vests, and our usual Panama hats, plus we had fun and fellowship filling the blue and yellow Rotary balloons with helium so that they could be handed out to the children lining the route.
The Rotary entry was fronted by Adrienne Davies and Sue Fitzpatrick who carried the Rotary banner, followed by Rotarians Alex Rohde who drove his magnificent homemade MG replica, and Merv Ah Chee who towed the Rotary Wheel trailer.
The turn out from the public on December 7 was most encouraging. New murals added a refreshing look to the town and there appeared to be a real sense of community and revival.
The Otahuhu Santa Parade was a great community event, enjoyable for our 20 members and partners who were there on the day, and it resulted in excellent Rotary PR.
By DGN Jennie Herring, Rotary Club of Otahuhu

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Rotarians receive New Year's Honours

Congratulations to the following Rotarians who have been awarded NZ Royal Honours in the New Year Honours 2014:
Companion of The NZ Order of Merit (CNZM)
Don McKenzie, OBE, of the Rotary Club of Waiheke Island, for services to physiotherapy and the blind.
Officer of The NZ Order of Merit (ONZM)
Elizabeth Chesterman, of the Rotary Club of Christchurch, for services to the Cancer Society of NZ.
Member of The NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)
Ian Mills, of the Rotary Club of Hutt City, for services to civil engineering.
The Queen’s Service Medal (QSM)
Merv Ah Chee, of the Rotary Club of Otahuhu, for services to hospitality and the community.
PDG Stuart Batty, JP, of the Rotary Club of Papanui in Christchurch, for services to the community.
Stephen Poole, JP, of the Rotary Club of Auckland East, for services to the community.
The above list is as complete as is known - if there are additions to this list please email berylrobinson@rotarydownunder.co.nz with details as illustrated above.