Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Robert's story - a life transformed

Robert was born on 7 February 2007 with two club feet.  In New Zealand or Australia this would have been dealt with shortly after birth.  The problem for Robert was he was born in a small remote village on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.

Although he had his legs in plaster for 6 weeks after his birth that did not correct the deformity.  Robert had to be carried everywhere by his Parents although he could walk to a limited extent on the tops of his feet.

In April 2012 an Australian Blindness Prevention Project team visiting Robert’s village identified his condition as one that could not be treated effectively by local medical facilities and referred to him to Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC).

Robert and his dad arrived in New Zealand on 15 January 2014.  They were hosted by the Rotary Club of Waikato Sunrise and home hosted by Club member Michele Rees-Williams.  Robert and Ialulu experienced many new things while in New Zealand courtesy of Rotarians.

Robert was treated at Waikato Hospital Orthopaedic Clinic.  He had plaster casts on both legs until 28 May 2014 when surgeon Richard Willoughby and his surgical team, who volunteered their time and expertise, operated on Robert’s feet.

On 4 July 2014 the plasters came off. Richard Willoughby was happy with the result and gave the all clear for Robert to go home.  Robert was issued with special support “splints” to wear inside his first pair of shoes.                                                                                                             

When Robert and Ialulu left on 9 July 2014, Robert was able to walk through the airport departure doors unaided. 

ROMAC’s intervention has changed the lives of Robert and his family.  Robert can now look forward to the normal activities of a young boy and can grow up to be an active member of his village.  His exposure to English and formal education for the first time opens up other possibilities for him and his family.

Robert is one of the lucky ones.  There are hundreds of children identified every year in the Oceania region who could benefit from treatment through ROMAC.

By - Colin Sanderson, ROMAC D9930.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Warm children means less hospital admissions

Sometimes the most effective and beneficial projects just require a bit of thought. In June, Ellerslie Rotary supported Middlemore Foundation’s Jammies in June campaign which is designed to help keep kids warm and decrease the rates of preventable illnesses in children, keeping them out of hospital. Thanks to the tremendous support of The Warehouse at Sylvia Park the club was able to purchase flannelette pyjamas and rubber soled slippers complete with glitter, sequins and all manner of other decorations for 2-14 years old children. In addition, the practical nature of the campaign meant that anyone, not just members were able to buy a pair of pyjamas or slippers and pass them on for the children via the club. The end result was over 237 pairs of flannelette pyjamas and 150 slippers keeping children healthier during winter.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Rotary Back on Track

The Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki in Auckland, New Zealand has built a strong reputation and core capability in project managing in partnership with the local City Council Board, parkland clean up and pathway building linking existing communities to new sports ground facilities. Last summer our Rotary club was engaged as a partner by the Glenn Family Foundation to build three significant all weather pathways located at or adjacent to local primary schools.

Over 2000 people attended the
Ngati Otara Bike Pathway opening
Founded more than 30 years ago by philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn, his foundation prioritised large wide-reaching projects in Otara, a low decile economically challenged suburb, which focus on education, family wellbeing and sport.

The pathways provide a safe accessible location for children and families to exercise. Many local children have never ridden a bike in their life, so the club worked with local trusts to also help provide schools with bikes and safety equipment. Children (and adults) can learn to ride in a safe, controlled location away from traffic. Bike riding improves cognitive processing as well as the obvious fitness benefit. Healthy eating is taught concurrently. Local sports and health organisations have an on-going relationship with each participating school.

Local contractors have been engaged in the construction of the paths. Where possible, resources have been sourced from local business. The pathways are constructed from low maintenance recycled materials donated by local business of which on-going supply of material has been made available to ensure safety and sustainable operation of the paths will take place.

The three tracks combined extend over two kilometres of mostly flat terrain surrounding parks will be utilised by more than 500 students per week from the ten surrounding schools within a 1.5 km radius.

The pathways are also used by joggers, mothers walking their babies and sports teams. Fitness equipment and family areas are planned follow on projects linked to these pathways, and the project’s core goals of family wellbeing.

The Ngati Otara Bike Pathway opening was shared by the season launch of the Vodaphone Warriors NRL rugby league team. In addition to over 2000 local residents and children who turned up, it was a great media opportunity for the club with press, radio and television coverage.

Botany East Tamaki Rotarian Andy Kramer
and Honorary Member Joan Swift
Our formula for success has to been to leverage the vocational base across our small club of under 30 members. Many hands have made light work. Under the guidance of a Project Coordinator, Past President Ewen Brunskill, a well-tested plan to build relationships, engage Council and external organisations, plan and project manage the stages of construction, with follow through to launch event and on-going sustainability has been built.  Add to this the extra excitement these three pathways have created in the club, and we can truly say that our Rotary is back on track.

This highly successful project earned the club a District Public Relations award plus a Rotary International Significant Achievement Award and was also published in the New Zealand Communities in Action booklet.

-          By Past President Mike Jaggs, Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki



The building of the three local Bike Pathway was project managed by the Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki on behalf of the Glenn Family Foundation and the council Local Board.

The Ngati Otara Park opening event was shared with the Vodaphone Warriors season opening with over 2000 people in attendance, plus press, radio and TV media.

Success formula involves partnerships and leverage. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Khandallah service honoured

It is characteristic of many Rotarians that you will find them widely participating in community involvement in addition to their Rotary service.  In this example, PDG Morris Robertson has for many years served the Khandallah community.

Credit: The Wellingtonian 10 July 2014 page 3. 
Story by Talia Carlisle


Monday, 7 July 2014

One club a great example of what Rotary clubs all achieve

It’s July, the traditional month for the Cromwell Rotary Club’s ‘changeover’. This annual event includes the appointment of a new president and new directors, to carry the club forward into 2015.
Some 80 Rotarians and guests attended the function, held this year, at The Nose Restaurant. Tony Quinn, creator of the Highlands MotorSport Park, was the guest speaker. Apart from the ‘formal’ handover, two members; John Angus and Murray Kennedy, were presented with the prestigious Rotary ‘Paul Harris Fellowship’ award. This award is given to those who have shown outstanding service to their local and wider communities.
Over $44,000 was raised by the club in the last 12 months, benefitting many local and international good-causes. This included over $12000 donated to local youth and activities projects. Rotarians spent over 1700 volunteer-hours fundraising. Cromwell Rotary is again grateful for the massive support received from local businesses and the wider community.

Use the Blog Search function to read about the other activities of this small, but extremely active Rotary club.

By Derek Whelan


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Karori Identity honoured by Rotary

At its annual changeover dinner last Tuesday Rotary presented Councillor Andy Foster with a Rotary Community Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

Paul Harris was the founder of the Rotary movement and a Paul Harris Award is the highest honour that Rotary can bestow.

In making the presentation to Andy, retiring President Rowland Woods said that Andy was an outstanding member of the Karori community, a long standing City Councillor and a most worthy recipient, fully deserving of the award as one who had served his community with distinction over more than 25 years.

Rotary was proud of its motto, Service above Self, and although not a Rotarian, Andy had epitomised the ideals of Rotary and it was therefore fitting that the Club was making this Award.

Andy had been heavily involved in the establishment of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (Zealandia) being part of the original steering committee, a foundation trustee and more recently a Council appointed trustee.   He is currently a Sanctuary Guardian and has been a volunteer guide since the first guides and bird feeders were established in 1996.

As a City Councillor, Andy has championed many local developments, including the re-development of the Karori Pool, Karori Park, Karori Library and Community Centre, the Recreation Centre, Marsden Village, the building of the Samuel Parnell Road and the development of Makara Peak mountain bike park.

While at the fore front of Karori developments, Andy has led much of the City environmental work and transport planning.

“Andy has dedicated his life to the service of his community and his city and his achievements are a visible and lasting testimony to the success of his untiring advocacy” said Rowland.    He richly deserves becoming the recipient of Rotary’s highest community award.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Ten years supporting students in a meaningful way

Nick Wood and Murray Kennedy
add the finishing touches.
Once again, year 4 pupils  at Cromwell Primary, were presented with  Usborne Illustrated Dictionaries. Each dictionary is personalised with the pupils name.  This  annual Rotary activity, is supported  by the ‘Bill & Lorna Boyd Charitable Trust’, with the aim of promoting  literacy and learning in our young people. The Rotary Club of Cromwell have been supporting this cause for around the last ten years. If you are an ex-local pupil, why not go and find your dictionary now, and remember the day that you received yours?  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Local school resources have second life in Samoa

School children in Upolo unload their chairs
Books are essential school resource that we often take for granted in New Zealand. For our Pacific neighbours in Samoa, this is not the case. The Rotary Club of Stortford Lodge in Hastings, NZ has been working closely with the Rotary Club of Apia, Samoa to boost literacy in kindergartens and schools.

When this project started in 2009, most primary schools on Upolu Island had no books, just chalk and blackboards.  In most of the schools that had a few books, they deemed these to be too ‘precious’ for the students to handle, so books were only handed out as teachers’ resources,” says Louise Main, Literacy Chairperson in the Rotary Club of Apia.

With a population of approximately 134,400 Upolu Island is set to distribute the 6000 books gathered from Hawkes Bay schools by the Rotary Club of Stortford Lodge, and with financial assistance from local companies, Mr Apple and Emmerson’s Transport, shipped them to Apia. The books had already been sorted by local Hastings school teachers, which made the task easier for Apia Rotary.

315 desks, 634 chairs and other school furniture such as teachers’ desks, shelves, white boards and tables were also sent in the container to Upolu Island. Many schools lost a great deal of their basic furniture and resources during Cyclone Evan in December 2012.

“This is a great example of what Rotary can do as a collective. These resources, which our schools have finished with, would have gone to waste. All it takes is good communication and coordination to collect and redistribute them. These international networks are one of the many benefits of Rotary in the community. The impact of effectively building literacy in underdeveloped nations is enormous,” said Stortford Lodge then President Phil Baudinet.

For the Apia Rotary Club on its own, it would have taken years to accumulate these resources. But, partnered with other Rotary Clubs around NZ, the goal has been achieved much quicker, which will only serve to benefit the children of Upolu.

This was the second container of books and desks sent by the Stortford Lodge Rotary to Samoa and the NZ club has already started collecting for their next shipment.

Carterton’s Challenge Shield competition celebrates school garden plots

Tuturumuri School pupils proudly display the School Gardening Challenge Shield Trophy and the certificate recognising their first place in this resurrected competition.  A $500 cheque was also awarded to John Bunny, Grandson of one of the original donors of the trophy. Tuturumuri School was the smallest country school in the competition in remote Wairarapa located on the southern coastal area of the North Island of NZ.
The Rotary Club of Carterton was delighted to resurrect their long forgotten Challenge Shield.  This trophy which celebrates school garden plots was last awarded 50 years ago.  The shield originally presented in 1906 by W.C. Buchannan and H.R. Bunny was awarded annually for the best agricultural plot in any school in the South Wairarapa.  It was first awarded to Gladstone School in 1906 and then every year until 1964 when it was won by Clareville School.  It appears that it was then placed in a cupboard and forgotten!

Nearly 50 year club member Coral Aitchison met with the principals of the South Wairarapa schools to resurrect the shield competition.  13 schools competed for the challenge shield, and at the outset were given garden starter packs by the local Clareville Nursery and Garden Centre.

During the period of the competition, a Rotarian adopted a school and made visits to provide support and encouragement.  In April this year the gardens were judged on design and plan of their individual garden, the individual plants chosen and the students’ knowledge of different plants.

The effort put in by the 13 schools was amazing with well-planned and innovative gardens – one school sold vegetables to locals and another produced “worm wine” from their worm farm.  The winning school in 2014 was Tuturumuri School with a roll of only 16 students. Every student at that school is involved with their amazing garden. The trophy was presented by John Bunny, grandson of J.C. Bunny, one of the original donors.  John is also a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Masterton South.

This was a fabulous opportunity to support schools in teaching students about gardening with the roll-on effects of healthy eating, physical activity and environmental awareness.  It is planned that this competition will again become an annual event.

Loren's life transformed thanks to ROMAC - a story of what is possible

Loren before the Op

ROMAC (Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children) were presented with a cheque from the Rotary Club of New Lynn for $25,000.  This sum was raised by the contestants of the Miss New Zealand World Organisation towards the costs of an operation for tiny Loren Gavales, a 5 year old girl from San Enrique in the Philippines.

Loren has suffered since birth with a rare disorder, “nasofrontal encephalocele”, a condition in which brain tissue has grown through an opening in her nose, and formed a sac on her face. Without a complex operation, impossible in her own country, her chances of long term survival were compromised

Hearing of the plight of this young girl, participants in this year’s Miss New Zealand contest, threw themselves wholeheartedly into fund raising towards the costs of Loren’s operation, and post-operative care.

Loren after the Op
The theme of the Miss New Zealand World Organisation is ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ and this was well demonstrated by this energetic group of young women! Every individual contributed, raising funds from a variety of different activities, from baby-sitting and sausage sizzles, to cake stalls and fashion shows.  All worked tirelessly to raise the necessary funds.

On 26th April at the Grande Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland, Miss Arielle Garciano was crowned Miss World New Zealand 2014 and will be travelling to London, UK later this year to represent New Zealand in the world finals.

Desmond Foulger, incoming President for Rotary New Lynn for 2014 was invited to stage to receive the cheque for $25,000: the result of the combined fundraising efforts of all 15 contestants.

Arielle Garciano
The girls have been active on Facebook, as well as in their fund raising, keeping up to date with Loren’s progress and celebrating her recovery. Many comment that their involvement in this project has touched them deeply, and they have a great sense of achievement from contributing to such a worthwhile cause

The total cost for ROMAC to bring a child to New Zealand, and to provide such life-saving surgery is around $35-45,000, with the surgeons and other medics donating their time and expertise at no cost. The organisation was thrilled to receive such a large donation, and to be able to apply the funds towards the cost of Loren’s operation. The life changing results of her surgery, can be viewed in the photographs below.

Submitted by Nikki Harris

More information:  
New Lynn Rotary:


Charlotte Burgess’ Rector Avanzi School Project

Charlotte Burgess last year as a 16 year old Rotary Youth Exchange student travelled from her quiet rural community near Drury, NZ to a very different world in Alta Gracia, Argentina. This international exchange experience gave Charlotte so much as she grew in confidence and maturity, and then returned to NZ with an expanded world view.

Now a project initiated by Charlotte while in Argentina is nearing completion and will significantly benefit the children at the Rector Avanzi Preschool in Alta Gracia by adding an outside shelter. How did one young exchange student come to deliver a project benefitting so many?

Charlotte visited the Rector Avanzi Preschool in a very poor neighbourhood. The school had been established in an old slaughterhouse that hadn’t been well cleaned out and it had almost no materials or resources. With only one room, classes had to be taken outside in the heat and dust of summer and the cold of winter.

Charlotte said that that after visiting the preschool the first time, it made her feel so sad comparing the school with the opportunities she had, so this made her want to help make a difference. This goal captured in a very real way the exchange programme’s goal of building international goodwill and understanding.

Charlotte explained, “the preschool is in an area known as ‘Knife Neighbourhood’ due to how dangerous it is, and the majority of kids born there will live there for the rest of their lives just like their parents. They have no idea of another life from the one they live. The school is giving these kids the chance to get educated and get a job and make a new life for themselves.”

Teaming up with the local Interact club, Charlotte and the Interactors built and painted chairs for the children, delivered them to the school, and played with the children. She said, “the look on the teachers and kids’ faces when they saw us walking in with the colourful chairs was amazing!”

Charlotte also saw the opportunity for a larger project to construct a shelter on the side of the school building to protect the children from the weather while in their outdoor classes. Charlotte won the support of her host Rotary Club of Alta Gracia for the project and contacted her sponsor NZ and Pacific Islands-based District 9920 to also get more support for the project and its initial fundraising target of $14,000.

Impressed by the caring and compassionate heart of this young exchange student, many Rotary clubs joined with Charlotte and her family donations, and the target fundraising is now almost completed with the last few hundred dollars expected shortly.

There is still a funding shortfall for the larger project which Alta Gracia club will cover, but Charlotte is keen to continue fundraising towards it.  The project is expected to commence shortly, and on completion, will demonstrate what one young student can achieve within the framework of Rotary Youth Exchange with Rotary’s help.

Charlotte emphasised, “I was looked after extremely well in Argentina surrounded by such caring and loving people.  This is a wonderful way to say thank you and have a positive influence on the lives of many youngsters and improve their local community.”

Conroys receive Rotary award

Two Hawke's Bay brothers receive high recognition for their generous support over many years of Taradale Rotary: CLICK HERE to read more.

Source: Hawkes Bay Today: 2 July 2014