Thursday, 27 March 2014

Graffiti Clean-up a Big Success in Christchurch

When the devastating earthquake struck Christchurch in February 2011, thousands of homes and businesses were damaged and had to be vacated.  These vacant buildings provided a fertile opportunity for vandals to create an explosion of tags and graffiti in the city.  Graffiti grew to such an extent that two years after the quake 82 per cent of citizens said it was a major concern, making it the number one problem of those surveyed.

With so much public concern, the Christchurch Rotary clubs decided graffiti clean-up would an excellent service project to undertake.  With the success of a small initial clean-up project last November by the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise, there was a city-wide project by seven area clubs on March 22.  The Christchurch City Council Graffiti Team quickly stepped up to the plate and donated supplies and 400 litres of paint. Club members also solicited outside volunteers from their businesses, and more than 80 volunteers turned up on a beautiful Saturday morning.

The Rotary clubs worked with TagStoppers Business Development Manager Bill Johnson who developed a website and mobile applications to photograph, upload and track tags by GPS coordinates.  Bill divided the city into areas and provided maps with tag locations to small teams of volunteers to make their efforts very efficient.  In less than two hours, the volunteers remediated over 500 tags in 16 different neighbourhoods. 

Afterwards, numerous volunteers expressed an interest in a follow up event.  The enthusiasm was such that Christchurch newspaper The Press wrote an article about the tagging being identified by TagStoppers’ smartphone app.  Read their online story at: This in turn prompted the donation of an additional 400 litres of paint by Addington Action via Habitat for Humanity for future clean-ups.

Rotary leaders agreed post-event that graffiti clean-up was a great service project because it’s a highly visible activity, fixing the number one concern of citizens in Christchurch, and it’s a great outreach tool for new members.

More information:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Easy to Use App for You to Use

You do not need to be Tech Savvy to get this very useful Rotary App.  Once you have downloaded it you can find out interesting news about what’s new in Rotary and read some awe-inspiring stories about Rotary.  The portability mean that whether you are in your living room or on the bus to work or waiting in an airport lounge or the doctor’s rooms you will find out interesting things about Rotary you never knew before.  It is also a very useful visual aid when talking about Rotary to others … a great club development tool.  The App is available for anyone to download and is a great introduction to Rotary for newcomers.

The steps are simple and will take less than 2 minutes to complete:

On your mobile device –such as a Smart-phone or Tablet …

1.       DOWNLOAD “Rotary Down Under” from the relevant App store (on most phones these are under Apps where you can just click on the appropriate icon):

Or for Android:

2.       OPEN the RDU App on your device 

3.       SIGN IN to use the RDU App – you should only need to do this once.

Then spend a few minutes flicking through what the App can do  

4.       SHARE Rotary success stories from the RDU App by email, Facebook and Twitter

5.       In the unlikely event you have problems or just wish to comment please email or call +62 2 9633 4888 and ask for Ellissa Nolan

Your feedback would be appreciated to 

More information: or as detailed above

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


President Warwick Lewis (on left) and Otahuhu Rotarians cooking the gluten free sausages with guest chef District 9920 Governor Willard Martin (turning the sausages on the BBQ)
Over 1000 people attended the inaugural Otahuhu Health Expo, held at the Otahuhu Town Hall on Saturday March 1. 
This South Auckland event was as a result of a partnership formed between the Otahuhu Mainstreet Commercial Association and the Rotary Club of Otahuhu to bring health information to the Otahuhu community. It featured 35 health care providers who exhibited on the day.
The Otahuhu Health Expo was officially opened by former professional heavyweight boxer, David Tua, who fought for 21 years until his retirement from boxing in November 2013
The event was free to all thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Otahuhu Mainstreet Commercial Association. 
The Mad Butchers’ BBQ sausages were gluten free, the popcorn was butter free, and the gala apples donated by Turners & Growers were delicious. 
Patrons were entertained with items by local schools, including St Josephs, Fairburn Road and King’s College, together with Zumba and Swiss ball demonstrations.

More information:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Help Rotarians Save Even More Children's Lives

No funny handshakes

No funny handshakes, no archaic rituals ... really?  Most clubs will have the weekly Sergeant’s Session and in most clubs this is utterly cringe-worthy.  The intent is good but is it actually performing? 

The Sergeant’s role itself is to ensure the meetings are well-run to time, something some President’s choose to ignore to their detriment.  The Sergeant’s Session should be short, fun, informational and motivational.  Far too often it is packed with inane ‘rituals’ week after week like how far did I walk the dog last night (who actually cares) and appalling jokes that are far too often borderline offensive and can in some cases utterly ruin the good work of the membership committee at getting along prospective members, now never to return.  Almost always it is a money grab where instead of actually getting meaningful facts about members activities they deteriorate into group fines that really only have a place on the rare occasion.  The excuse is that funds are used for those small worthy applications that do not fall under normal service committee support and that is fine in itself but where does it say you have to have a fund target to reach or even that you have to have members dipping into their pockets much at all ... don’t they contribute enough anyway, not the least with their valuable time.

OK, you ask.  What might a good Sergeant’s Session look like?  A thoughtful joke or quote.  Recognition of member anniversaries and notable successes. A piece of Rotary information from RDU magazine or the district newsletter that will actually add to their useful Rotary knowledge.  A reminder about some aspect of club administration, particularly where it relates to better meetings, can be included as needed but with sensitivity as embarrassing people is not an option (even if they deserve it).  What about, occasionally theming the session around an event, time of year or just something ordinary like gardening.  The opportunity to surprise and be creative is endless.

And finally, not every Rotary event needs a Sergeant’s Session.  Can club changeovers and similar events be about the event without the distraction of the Sergeant collecting money ... if you just have to have a fun session leave the Sunshine Fund out of it for once because even though you have lots of partners and others along you can be assured, they have already paid enough to be there!

The Thing About Acronyms

Acronyms are great.  They are a superb aid to speed reading and a wonderful aid to a lazy sod like me who just wants to dash of a letter or read a speech just that little bit quicker and who really cares if people know what the heck I am talking about or not ...  I seem really knowledgeable and they’ll get the gist I’m sure.  Or will they?

After all what we write and speak is often read or heard by non-Rotarians and new Rotarians not yet versed in how Rotary works and what Rotary does.  We are probably trying to get these very people to join in with what we do but how can they if we are incomprehensible?  Even when no acronyms are used they have enough on their plate to try and understand the depth of meaning and detail behind our terminology and programmes anyway without making it impossible to reach first base.

RYLA is a great programme but Rotary Youth Leadership Awards at least gives people some initial idea what is being talked about.  Likewise RLI is a must for all new Rotarians but was that the Redeemers Leadership Institute?  ... oh, you mean ROTARY Leadership Institute! ... now I sort of get that I might be able to learn more about Rotary.  LETS! Lets what?  SPPETS ... is that a speaker from the SPCA at our next club meeting?

The reality in not using acronyms is that it does not slow reading.  It only micro-marginally increases the time it takes to deliver a speech.  It does mean your text and talk make sense to those on the receiving end and their increased understanding about the topic encourages further enquiry from them and motivates them to become involved.  Strangely, THAT is why we slaved for hours writing our delivery anyway and even in casual conversation by studiously avoiding the use of acronyms we achieve better results, every time.
"BTW" - for the uninitiated LETS is Leaders Elect Training Seminar otherwise known as a District Assembly and SPPETS is the New Zealand-based districts South Pacific Presidents Elect Training Seminar. 

It is also acknowledged that many other organisations have the same issues, the difference is we are doing something about improving how we communicate.


Large sum invested for local disadvantaged people

In 2006, Rotarian Rod Lingard and Carol of Raumati Beach in NZ along with four other residents founded ‘The Kapiti Community Enterprises Trust’, the purpose of which was to provide opportunities for people with mental health and developmental disabilities to have training for future employment.
$170,000 is presented by Rod Lingard of the Kapiti Community Enterprises Trust
to Liz Koh, Trustee of the Nikau Foundation.
In consultation with Dr Frances Hughes, who is a well-known psychiatric professional, and now an associate professor at Auckland and Sydney universities, the Lingards created a plan to assist the needs of local Kapiti disadvantaged people.
A block of poorly drained land on Poplar Avenue was leased. The Rotary Club of Kapiti provided the initial seed capital for the erection of a potting shed and shade house to grow native plants for sale.
Arrangements were made for the project participants to study horticulture to Level 2 NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) standards. Rod also augmented his chartered accountant qualification with a qualification in horticulture, and secured a contract to supply plants to the Kapiti Coast District Council and Lower Hutt City Council, both of whom were most helpful from the outset, along with local restoration groups.
A further major step was developing a relationship with the locally owned and operated Mitre 10 Mega Kapiti store, whose garden department has purchased stock for re-sale in their store. The Managing Director of Mitre 10 Vince Indo has also become a Trustee, so he works alongside Rod.
The acquired land on Poplar Avenue was gradually improved through landfill from local contractors. A grant from the Lotteries Board allowed for the building of staff facilities and the nursery growing area. A large vegetable garden was planted in addition to the native plant operation. Vegetables and potatoes were donated by the Trust to the Kapiti Foodbank and other worthy causes.
The trainees who worked on the property were paid the full adult rate. They required constant supervision, including learning techniques and safe working practices. The preparation of personal CVs and the understanding of job descriptions was also a syllabus item. New recruits were brought into the system on the understanding that they could be employed for six months, and then the Trust with the assistance of Work and Income NZ (WINZ) and Workbridge assisted them in seeking permanent employment.
“While the task of educating and supervising the trainees has been difficult and demanding at times, we have been excited and very pleased with the results that have been accomplished,” commented Rod. “Most of the recruits to our staff have been relocated into full-time or part-time employment elsewhere, with one now being in business and another in full-time employment looking to buy a home”, he added.
This very successful and notable local project has necessarily come to an end due various factors beyond the control of the Trust. Through the prudent financial management of the Trust’s activities, a substantial sum of cash has been accumulated. Following long and careful deliberation, it was decided that the work of the Trust should be perpetuated through the distribution of investment returns to aid people with mental health and developmental disabilities in the Kapiti District. The selected investment vehicle is the Nikau Foundation who have agreed to the establishment of ‘The Kapiti Community Enterprises Endowment Fund’.
At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Kapiti, Rod Lingard presented a cheque for $170,000 to Liz Koh who is a Trustee of the Nikau Foundation, and Rotary Club of Kapiti President Elect.
“This is the largest single sum placed with the Nikau Foundation from the Kapiti District, and the objects and requirements of the Kapiti Community Enterprises Trust will be carried out for the benefit of local disadvantaged people. We at the Foundation are indeed honoured to have been selected as the managers of a fund with such worthy objectives,” emphasised Liz.

- Graeme Barrell, Director, Communications, Rotary Club of Kapiti

Keeping up with technology, the Rotary Rotorua Sunrise way!

After months of planning and preparation the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise has celebrated the launch of their new website. This new site focuses on telling stories of the members and beneficiaries of projects as a way to encourage and inspire with the Rotary story.
The decision to re-do the website was to ensure that Rotary Rotorua Sunrise stays relevant with changing technology and the new Rotary brand guidelines. The new website is responsive which means it automatically resizes for mobile and tablet devices. It also integrates with the Facebook page and YouTube Channel of Rotary Rotorua Sunrise, keeping communication channels open.
The site was sponsored and developed by one of the youngest Rotorua Sunrise members Rachel Warrender and her web design company Dubzz Digital Marketing. "It was created with the new Rotary branding in mind, and as a way to inspire both members and the general public. We saw this as a great opportunity to not only support Rotary Rotorua Sunrise, but to support the wider local and global community that is touched by the work of Rotary Rotorua Sunrise every year," explained Rachel.
A major component of the new website is the ability for all members to be able to contribute and update the website. Each committee is responsible for updating information about their projects and upcoming events. Special features include a segment on ‘Our Stories’, highlighting the Rotary story of some of our Rotarians and what drives them. It also has a calendar of all club events, a member list, project information, links to learn more about Rotary, and plenty of pictures of the fun that Rotary Rotorua Sunrise enjoys.
Training sessions are scheduled to teach the members how to make changes on the site, as a full team effort will ensure the most up to date and relevant information appears on the site. It is also a great chance for members to learn and develop their skills in the online space.
You can visit the new website at and visit the Facebook page at

Editor note:  Even with separate web sites, clubs still maintain a presence within where main club contacts are held - this supports a cohesive Rotary administration and communications system across Rotary in NZ and the Pacific.  Links are used betwee the two to prevent duplication and make best use of the strengths of both sites.

Rotary Club of Wellington’s Dental Project in Papua New Guinea

- By Gerald McGhie, International Committee Chair, Rotary Club of Wellington
The back country of the South Pacific nation Papua New Guinea (PNG) has few roads and even fewer medical facilities. Dental services are almost non-existent, so villagers have come to accept tooth pain as a constant factor in their lives.

In 2013 the Rotary Club of Wellington in New Zealand, in conjunction with former club member Jenni Lean working in the Gulf Province of PNG, decided to establish a basic dental programme for the people of the Kikori district, none of whom had any idea what a dentist was!
For Jenni, and the Chair of the club’s International Committee Gerald McGhie, the success of the project depended on two fundamental aspects – the involvement of local dental expertise and the ability to be as self-sustaining as possible.
Elsie Gahanao, a PNG trained Dental Officer, arrived in Kikori in late 2013. She quickly got to grips with the task and even before the bulk of her equipment arrived began seeing patients. Some 500 visited in the first few months but regrettably, given the state of the locals’ teeth, the main treatment involved extractions. The fact is, however, that those treated say they can at last now sleep at night. Where possible Elsie has also provided temporary and permanent conservative treatment.
Part of the project includes visiting schools, not only to provide treatment, but to conduct tutorials for students about diseases of the mouth and how to adopt simple procedures to treat them. Here she emphasised the dangers of eating the ubiquitous betel nut, a locally available product that seriously affects gums and teeth. Flip charts, tooth paste and brushes provided by Colgate Palmolive greatly assist the teaching programme. The project’s success has now been further recognised by the Kikori medical facility which has given her an expanded work space.
This year an expatriate dentist will train Elsie in the techniques of managing a practice in the hope she may be able to earn a sustainable living as a dentist in PNG. If this is successful, Jenni will promote another graduate and repeat the Kikori programme.
The Kikori project has relied heavily on the personal dynamism of Jenni who has obtained important contributions of equipment and expertise from Australian sources and also from the staff of the Dental Faculty of the University of Papua New Guinea.
The Rotary Club of Wellington remains committed to continuing their involvement in this PNG dental project in 2014.

Breaking the Cycle with Oral Language Programme

Western Heights Primary School in Rotorua has seen a variety of new visitors coming and going of late – all of them repeat offenders!
Volunteer tutor Paddy Newton, with Kymaira Dawson, Year 1 student at Western Heights Primary School, Rotorua.
No, these visitors are not trouble-makers or even student parents. They are volunteer tutors who meet with some 40 five-year-olds who are part of the new oral language programme Te Wa Korero Ngā Tamariki (commonly referred to as “TKT”) launched this year.

TKT is the brainchild of Annette Stock, a speech language and literacy specialist. She was approached by Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise President Sue Gunn, who recognised that there were serious literacy issues in the local community. Education and literacy is a key focus area for Rotary International. Annette and Sue approached Western Heights Primary School to see if an oral language programme would help.

“Children need to develop a sound oral language system, which is a natural developmental process that takes place when a child is between naught and five,” says Annette. “That system will then support them when they move on with the more formal process of learning to read, write and spell.”

Many children in lower socio-economic areas do not develop strong oral language skills due to having a more transient lifestyle, not attending preschool, and experiencing limited interpersonal communication at home.

Western Heights Primary was targeted because this school has the second-highest transient rate in the country. Principal Brent Griffin is already thrilled with TKT, believing it is vital for his school. “It provides the foundation that allows the young children to access the school’s curriculum from day one,” he adds.

Volunteers spend about 30 minutes one-on-one with their student three times per week. Using books with large, vibrant pictures, they encourage the children to tell them what they see happening in the pictures.

“This project is not to teach students to read,” explains Annette. “It has been developed to provide support for students to be read to and talk about the book content as it relates to them.”

The books were funded by Rotary Rotorua Sunrise in Rotary District 9930, plus Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, and are authored by New Zealand writers, making them culturally and linguistically more relatable.

“Some magical things are happening,” Annette says. “These children are very loving children, so they just love the adult attention, that one-on-one interaction. They are forming relationships, gaining confidence, and really looking forward to their time with the tutors.”

The enjoyment is mutual emphasises Sue. “The volunteers are really enjoying their time with the children, reading storybooks, introducing rhyme and playing educational games that develop oral language and confidence in the children. My husband Don and I are tutors. It’s a very rewarding and worthwhile experience.” 
- By Sue Gunn, President, Rotorua Sunrise Rotary 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Projects in Vanuatu

- By Peter Wilson, Team Leader of Napangasale Project in Vanuatu
It has been said that we should look after our own family first. Well, Vanuatu is part of our Rotary District 9910 family, and there is a lot of work that can, and is being done there by Rotarians from both New Zealand and Australia.
Through an introduction to the island of Tongoa, Vanuatu in 2010 by Waitakere Rotary, members of Whangaparaoa Rotary have now become actively involved. Our first trip was to carry out earthquake damage repairs and to refurbish the Hiwelo Primary School. The school was reopened, much to the delight of the people from nearby villages who worked tirelessly alongside us. In 2012, another team went back to the school to carry out some more unfinished work to enhance the solar power, and put lights in the classrooms. While on Tongoa, we took the opportunity to visit the Napangasale Junior Secondary School, a boarding school catering for up to 175 students from Tongoa and the surrounding islands of the Shepherd Group. The school was founded by NZ missionaries in the ‘50s, so a number of buildings are showing their age. Other facilities had disappeared, or fallen into disrepair, or were inadequate for their purpose.

Our team, consisting of Joe Koppens from Warkworth, Keith Shadbolt from Maungaturoto and Districts, plus Colleen Quinton and Peter Wilson from Whangaparaoa, carried out a complete evaluation of the needs of the buildings, but most importantly asked the Principal of the school to list what he saw as priorities. At the top of that list were composting toilets and water storage.
Upon our return to New Zealand, Peter and Colleen set about putting together a project document which included plans and dimensions of buildings, a summary of works, and a budgetary cost, supported by pictures. This document has formed the basis for appeals to Government aid agencies, and at present an application is in process for a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. An appeal also went out to all Rotary clubs in New Zealand, that unfortunately resulted in a low level of response so far.
In September 2013, Colleen and Peter returned to Vanuatu to initially make contact with potential suppliers, and to visit aid agencies. We met with an Education Department Director who has committed to sending three tonnes of cement to the school to enable work to be carried out. This was most gratifying. Our visits have already born fruit in that we have been awarded a grant from the Australian High Commission, and hopefully more will follow. At the school, composting toilets were constructed. One was completed while we were there, and another since we left. These are minus the upper structures as we are waiting for funding to become available for this purpose.
We arrived in a drought which threatened to have the school closed. We had some spouting erected on one building that was left over from the Hiwelo project. It was just in time as it rained that very night, and the resulting collection of water saved the day and the school from closure.
The plan is, subject to the receipt of funding, we plan to have four teams at the school in August 2014, each spending a week at a time. Already we have had expressions of interest from Waitakere and Warkworth Rotary Clubs about sending over a team each. Will your Rotary club come too?
Don’t look for excuses as to why you should not or cannot get involved, just do it! For more information on this much needed project please contact Peter Wilson via, or for other projects that you may be able to assist with PDG Lindsay Ford via

When elegance, art and generosity meet …

- By Past Assistant Governor Cathy Gourbault-Lawrence, Rotary Club of Papeete Tahiti

A fundraising gala party on February 22 celebrated the Rotary Club of Papeete Tahiti’s 55th anniversary. Raffle tickets during the stunning evening raised NZ$32,500 (AU$30,000) for the next Rotary year’s programme of actions. Dynamic club President Patrick Le Gall and the organising committee were over the moon!

It was a very prestigious gala party for 130 guests, including VIPs, business people, partners, sponsors, and many Rotarians from the other French Polynesian clubs.

Rotarians and guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s diverse programme which included: speeches from Assistant Governor Juliette
Philippe and President Patrick; various shows (Indian dances, fashion parade, jewellery parade, photo exhibition and glass artwork presentation); the induction of two new members Marie Blanchard and Christophe Albano; and a great dinner dance to enhance networking, conviviality and friendship.

This gala party was a classy way of promoting the values and the actions of Rotary, promoting the projects of the Rotary Club of Papeete Tahiti, and attracting some new members by showing action, elegance, friendship and fun.