Friday, 27 June 2014

Rotary International President Gary Huang Visits Motutapu Island Rotary project

In the Hauraki Gulf, less than an hour's ferry ride from Auckland, NZ is the island of Motutapu, and a successful environmental project supported for 24 years by the Rotary Club of Newmarket working with the Motutapu Restoration Trust, the Department of Conservation, and the people of the land Ngai Tai.
The project was the recipient of the Rotary District 9920 Environmental Award at the 2014 Conference and it was selected by then District Governors Phil Ashton of District 9910 and Willard Martin of District 9920 for a visit by then Rotary International President Elect Gary Huang and his wife Corinna on May 21. Accompanied by Rotarians, the international guests travelled in style on the super yacht Pacific Mermaid supplied through the generosity of former Governor and Skipper Ken Winter and Bente. 

Motutapu Island was formed in Jurassic times, has an area of 1500 hectares, is farmed in partnership with the Department of Conservation, and has a popular camping ground. It also has many archaeological sites from pre-European occupation and formed part of the defences of Auckland during WWII. 
Thanks to this Rotary project partnership with the Motutapu Restoration Trust, Motutapu island and adjoining Rangitoto Island are pest free, the Home Bay wharf was repaired, and a nursery of local native plants was established near the education centre. The Rotary Centennial Walkway project was officially opened in 2005, 90 hectares of plantings are completed out of 500 hectares eventually planned, the homestead was restored as a visitor centre, and the Red Barn rebuilt for the volunteers. Over 60 native bird species have returned, including releases of Kiwi and Takahe. 
Gary and Corinna toured the Rotary project and learnt of current work underway to complete a loop track, and in particular construction of the Home Bay Stream Bridge and the Monument Lookout.
Additional funding is being sought from fellow clubs, particularly in District 9910 and District 9920, to assist with completing this important environmental project for future generations. Contact Trustee of the Motutapu Restoration Trust Iain MacKenzie, of the Rotary Club of Newmarket, via 027 495 5226 or

Chefs’ Night Out

Chefs hard at work in the
Chefs’ Night Out kitchen:
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! 
For the past eight years, a special event has been held in Hamilton, NZ. It involves very little fuss and almost no publicity but is an example of what can be done when many people come together for a common cause. Behind the scenes, an incredible amount of effort and meticulous care goes into Chefs’ Night Out, all orchestrated by long-time Hamilton Central Rotarians Yvonne and Fred Phillips.
Volunteers who arrive on the night to serve food and wine to over 200 guests would never know the months of planning that result in such flawless execution of seven courses of food created by seven top chefs in the Waikato. The chefs who give their time, and also that of their own kitchen staff, the wineries that choose and donate wines to match each course, the hotel that sponsors the venue and other generous sponsors (Rotarians among them) who donate in kind or with cash, plus the scores of volunteers who act as wait staff and kitchen hands all understand the value of their support on this annual occasion for important Rotary programmes.
  Yvonne explains that this event was the brainchild of her husband Fred who came up with the concept. “Taking the idea of a degustation dinner from the ones held at fabulous local restaurant Embargo each month, Fred originally thought of a competition between chefs, but when he talked to a number of them they said they competed every day of the week, and they would be more happy to work together. When we first started, I thought we would need a big kitchen for all of them, so we had our first two years at the local polytechnic, Wintec. But only 80 people can be seated there, so luckily roomy Kingsgate Hotel Hamilton then offered their conference venue, where we’ve held it ever since.
“On average, 200 people come and dine with us each year. The volunteers on the night are all from Hospice and Rotary. The hotel offers a reasonable cost bed and breakfast for those who have come from other districts – Whakatane West and Putaruru Rotary clubs are regular attendees from further afield.
“The major recipient for the first two events was Cure Kids. Since then a little less than half of the money raised has gone to Waikato Hospice, $2,000 each year to The Rotary Foundation, and the rest of the money goes for local Rotary projects such as school dictionaries, science summer school and Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment (RYPEN).”
Yvonne and Fred support Rotary in many creative ways including these Chefs’ Nights Out that have raised over $150,000 since they began in 2007. They showcase the best food and wine the Waikato has to offer, so these memorable evenings are Hamilton Central Rotary’s most anticipated events on their annual calendars. Long may Hamiltonians continue to dine out with their most celebrated chefs.

Explore Rotary – Speed Dating with Rotarians

Rotary clubs in Auckland, NZ have started meetups to combine their resources to attract new members to Rotary through Explore Rotary – Speed Dating with Rotarians events. The events are a new opportunity for networking between a cross section Rotarians from various clubs around Auckland and prospective members wishing to learn more about Rotary opportunities. So far, two of these events have been held on November 26, 2013 and May 28 this year at Roxy Bar on Fort Lane in Auckland’s CBD to encourage participants to mix and mingle while enjoying nibbles and drinks. 
These new style Rotary events are based on a speed dating format, allowing motivated non-Rotarian attendees to interact with the representatives from the Rotary clubs present and evaluate for themselves which club would be the best potential fit for them. Six Rotary clubs participated in the first event: Auckland; Botany East Tamaki, Downtown Auckland, Mt Eden, Parnell, and Westhaven. Seven Rotary clubs participated in the second event, including repeat participation from Auckland, Downtown Auckland, Mt Eden and Parnell plus new comers Ellerslie Sunrise, Newmarket and Remuera. 
These two events attracted 18 Rotarians and two prospective members to the first meetup, and six Rotarians and 14 prospective members to the second meetup. So far one of the hot prospects has since joined the Rotary Club of Parnell plus another one is joining the Rotary Club of Auckland. 
While Rotary is an international organisation with common goals and values, there are many nuances between different clubs, including how they operate and contribute to the community. Allowing prospective Rotarians a glimpse into these differences, while highlighting the warm and welcoming nature of Rotary as a whole, is one of the main aims of the Explore Rotary – Speed Dating with Rotarians events.
Lessons learnt along the way include: have membership packs handy; every Rotary club should nominate two representatives to attend; and bring along friends to learn about Rotary at these casual, less intimidating Rotary events. Rotary Club of Auckland Meetup Team organisers Michael Kruesi and Lena Salim are encouraging another participating club to step up and take the lead for the next inter-club meetup, aiming at the end of August according to their four meet ups per year goal. As Michael says, “by working together we achieve more than we could individually, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Those who are interested in coming to the next Explore Rotary – Speed Dating with Rotarians event or wishing to represent their club are invited to join the Rotary in Auckland Meetup group by following this link:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Boys gotta have fun!

First there was the battle of the potato harvest, followed by the pea straw, the wood chop and then the linseed straw. The South Island of NZ weather really had an impact this season.
Several enthusiastic Ashburton Plains Rotarians decided the afternoon was good, so they started picking up bales of linseed straw from the Taylor’s paddock. All went well with the loading, but then the fun began ...
You have probably heard of the children’s story The Little Yellow Digger. Well, it was a real life enactment of that story when first the truck got stuck, then the trailer was stuck, both up to their axles in the paddock mud. They called in a vehicle to help and it got stuck! Next they called in a tractor … yes it got stuck too!
After much heaving, pushing and pulling all vehicles were freed. There were 500 bales to be picked up, which these energetic fellows thought would be no problem for guys of their calibre, but after three hours they had to be thankful that they were able to transfer 250 bales from the Taylor’s paddock to the storage paddock in Carters Road.
Later in May, another fine sunny afternoon was chosen to “bring home the rest of the bacon” (straw) to Carters Road as the forecast was for more rain! Eight Rotarians responded to the request to pick up the 250 remaining linseed bales. Armed with renewed enthusiasm and know how (they thought) they set off, but it wasn’t long before they realised that mud, glorious mud was still a challenge. Yet again The Little Yellow Digger saga unfolded before their eyes. Trucks, tractors and trailer got stuck again, but perseverance and fortitude got the last bales off the paddock, with less than 150 left to sell.
In total, Ashburton Plains Rotary does around 3000 small bales of a mixture of pea straw and linseed straw plus about 100 large bales of the latter. The small bales all go to gardeners as mulch and garden cover while the large bales go to farmers as calf bedding and to gardens as well. This project has raised a significant amount for the Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains projects over many years.
This year it was Murphy’s Law because if it could go wrong, it did! It wasn’t as straight forward as it should have been but a lot of laughs and good fellowship eventuated for all involved. 
By - Owen Moore 

Charity began at home and benefits many

The smiling faces say it all – students have gained confidence
through the ‘Oral Language Programme’ initiative
put in place by Rotary Rotorua Sunrise. 
Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise, NZ and Waiariki Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the business community are aiming to build five houses over five years to raise funds for charitable purposes locally via the Charity House project. The first year has initially proven every bit as successful as the community partners involved hoped for. Already five community groups are set to benefit from last year’s profits.
The first house, a four-bedroom 147 sqm linea weatherboard dwelling built by Waiariki carpentry and interior design students, was auctioned off last December, raising $14,716. The recipients of these proceeds were announced in May: Menz Shed; Linton Park Community Centre; Rotorua Youth Centre; Big Brother, Big Sister Rotorua; and the Western Heights Primary School ‘Oral Language Programme’. The latter programme is a new Rotary Rotorua Sunrise education and literacy initiative.
Then President Sue Gunn explains that Waiariki decided to take the lead role in the community partnership as the project would offer carpentry and interior design students a true hands-on learning experience. Waiariki chose to partner with Rotary Rotorua Sunrise to utilise the club’s existing charitable networks, administer the proceeds of the house auctions and select worthy recipients that meet funding criteria.
“It’s a great way to engage with students. Not only is it a hands-on experience that they respond well to, they have been exposed to prospective trade employers. All students on the project got employment at the end of their year-long course”, empahsises Sue.
Throughout the project, Rotorua Sunrise members have been able to build a closer and stronger relationship with students and the community while discussing many Rotary youth leadership opportunities available to them and providing mentoring support. Plus many Rotarians are partners in the project providing building products and services.
Sue also says, “It has been a real joint venture with Waiariki, local businesses and the community. It creates strong linkages and stronger foundations for Rotary. Best of all is the difference we can make to the recipients in our community.”
The 2014 Charity House build is on schedule and they are looking forward to another successful auction with proceeds being available to the local Rotorua community that has engaged Rotary and changed lives!
By - Sue Gunn 


Ruby Seeto is 17 years old, a final year student at St Cuthbert’s College, fundraiser and cancer survivor. She lives in Auckland, NZ with her Rotary family.
In 2006 when Ruby was nine, and not long after her father Ron Seeto became President of the Rotary Club of Newmarket, she found a lump under her ribs. She was immediately admitted to Starship Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with a Sarcoma of the Liver.
Ruby underwent surgery to remove a large 1.6kg tumour, her gall bladder and 70% of her liver. After twelve months of chemotherapy she recovered and was able to return to school healthy.
Fortunate to receive support from several charities during her illness, Ruby wanted to give back via a new fundraising initiative of her own. Between chemotherapy sessions she created her first drawing to screen print onto a cotton tea towel to sell to family and friends. There was great demand for her $10 tea towel, with $6 (being all the proceeds after costs) from each tea towel going to her chosen cause. Since then, Ruby has made Starship Children’s Hospital her main focus. Collaborating with local linen retailer Wallace Cotton, who manage production and sales, she continues to design a new tea towel every year, and now aprons (which sell for $15). She also created a Rotary design for then Governor Ron’s combined District 9920 and District 9940 Pushing Boundaries Conference in Rotorua last year which was organised and run in conjunction with his Rotary year mate Graeme Blick.

So far Ruby’s tea towels have raised more than $300,000 for Starship. Each year the money is directed to a specific purpose and has helped New Zealand’s national children’s hospital upgrade wards, purchase vital equipment and fund further education for paediatric staff.
It has been incredibly rewarding for Ruby to receive so much support from people throughout NZ and overseas saying her how much they love her designs.
Her next tea towel should be available for sale online and in Wallace Cotton stores in September. Watch out for Ruby’s new tea towel Facebook page due to be launched at the same time.
Meanwhile, Ruby hopes to study Commerce and Design at Victoria University in Wellington next year and continue giving back.
It only took one young person with a great idea plus widespread support and it’s amazing what has been achieved! Ruby is an inspirational example to all who know her or have discovered these useful art collectables.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Inspiration, information and understanding - this course is a must do

The following is feedback from last Sunday's (15 June 2014) Rotary Leadership Institute Part1 , Part 3 and Graduate courses in District 9920.  This serves to illustrate what the participants get out of attending.  Participants were from District 9910 and 9920 and were Rotarians  ranging from quite new to Rotary through to long serving.

“RLI has enabled me to connect with other Rotarians & share ideas on what we could do better” – Denise, Rotary Club of Auckland

“RLI is a foundation that every Rotarian should be given to attend as it improves your understanding of what you can achieve through the power of Rotary.  RLI has inspired me to step into district roles to make a difference” – Bart, Rotary Club of Manukau City Sunrise  

“RLI has broadened my knowledge of Rotary & introduced me to other like-minded Rotarians in District 9920.  Thanks.” – Richard, Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki

“RLI is an informative interaction group that builds a greater knowledge of Rotary.  It helps focus on your involvement, & the part each member personally participates in their club.” – Neville, Rotary Club of Mt Eden

“RLI provided the opportunity to step back & review the results & expectations we have for our Rotary service.  Discussion with like-minded people who challenge the norm was exceptional & refreshing” – Mark, Rotary Club of Auckland East

“RLI has given me some ideas on how to be a more effective Rotarian.  RLI has taken some of the mystery & ambiguity out of Rotary & its terms.  RLI has made me think about what Rotary is & what being a Rotarian means.” Jeanette, Rotary Club of Otahuhu

“RLI has given me the opportunity to learn more about Rotary, exchange ideas with like-minded Rotarians, & look at challenges other clubs have & how things can be handled differently.” – Jan, Rotary Club of Mt Eden

“Today the graduate programme was the most valuable of all the sessions … What a coup Rotary has made having you 2 [Ingrid and Beryl] as Facilitators. Today was a consolidation day for me. Shall give it my best shot!!” – Mary Ann, Rotary Club of Highbrook

“RLI & me – kept my fire alive!”  At the end he added, “I’ve really enjoyed RLI, so what about an RLI alumni programme?” - Craig, Rotary Club of Auckland

More information:

Sunday, 15 June 2014

25th Jubilee – Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise

Whether past or present Rotarians, old or young, and with friends from as far away as their sister Club, Frankston in Melbourne, members of the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise came together on Friday evening to celebrate twenty-five years of service to the Christchurch community.

Thousands of local residents have benefited from funds raised by members volunteering their time and expertise to help with local events such as children’s entertainment, Rugby Car parking, Film Festivals, House Auction and Telethon to name a few. There has been much support through community activities for youth, who have enjoyed courses in Leadership and Sciences, Outward Bound, Secondary School Speech contests, Special Olympics and Rotary Youth Exchange experiences with various countries around the World. The Club has also supported the setup of the Rotarac Club, a group of young people who contribute in many ways to the wellbeing of our city.

Other projects, too numerous to list, have included the Neo-natal Unit at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, Cholmondley Home, Ronald McDonald House, Child Research and Medical Oncology Research, Disabled Equestrian Riding, local schools  and the Hospital helicopter landing pad. The Club has recently been involved in the clean-up of tagging from Christchurch buildings left vacant after the earthquake and members were amongst the many helping to deliver food hampers and water to those affected immediately after the earthquake in February 2011.

Christchurch Sunrise has also been involved internationally in Polio eradication, the Tanzania water project, a school classroom for Vanuatu, Pacific Disaster relief and help with the aftermath of the Australian Bushfires.

The twenty-fifth Jubilee has given the Club the opportunity to celebrate the success they have been able to achieve collectively and to honour several of their members who have had outstanding success in the work they have done through the Club.

How much more will they manage in the next twenty-five years?

- By: Dianne Wilson
Website for more information: