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

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’

Third Stonefields Community Fair Best Yet!

Despite showery weather the third Stonefields Community Fair held on Saturday 18 October 2014 was agreed to be the best yet!  The event is held each year as a joint venture between St Johns Rotary and Stonefields School to raise funds for the school and general youth projects in the district.

The Fair was opened by local MP Simon O’Connor, School Principal Sarah Martin and Rotary President Anil Nathoo.

Categories of stalls included hot food, cold food, kids crafts and games, home baking, preserves, books for adults and children, kids entertainment, Rotary raffle wheel and silent auctions, throwing stalls including crockery throw, coconut shy, wet sponge, kids fishing, community and commercial groups, static and active sports and more!

A significant number of the stalls, games and events were provided by the school pupils themselves growing in numbers each year as the school increases in size.  “These activities provide the children experience in learning which activities work best in sales results, and become real life lessons” said Principal Sarah.

Active kid’s equipment included two bouncy castles, spring-less trampolines, mini tennis, netball and rugby tackling.

Visits by a Community Police vehicle and a local fire engine were also popular.

A highlight was the entertainment stage which saw accomplished performances by the Stonefields School Kapa Haka group, Stonefields Community Choir, JP the French Clown (who is indeed funny) and other talented performers.

Generous sponsorships and prizes were provided by local businesses in the Rotary Club and School area.

“We are always thrilled to see the support we get from our community for this very popular event on our club calendar” said President Anil.



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Unique award for Rotary Leader

In what is believed to be unique in New Zealand Rotary, John Bethwaite of the Whakatu Rotary Club has been honoured with Kaumātua status.

John was instrumental in setting up the Nelson city breakfast club just over 11 years ago and guided the formation of its philosophy and traditions, including that it would not follow the path of traditional Rotary clubs.

“He encouraged us to break all the rules and be different,” fellow charter member, Phil Gully, told the gathering of current and former club members at the special meeting on Friday, 10 October.  “When questions of Rotary protocol and rules came up, he urged us to break them.  Under the system John forged, we continue to grow, do our own thing and, most importantly, have fun.”

Assistant Governor Anna Gully said the idea of making John the club’s Kaumātua, or elder, was to recognise his role in preserving the club’s traditions and knowledge, providing leadership and nurturing new and younger members.

She said John, a retired police officer, had an ingrained ethos of building strong communities and had steered the club’s focus towards helping young people. “His favourite projects include delivering dictionaries to school children, providing books for new-born babies in partnership with the Nelson Public Libraries, teaching young drivers about road safety, and cooking breakfast for Nelson Intermediate’s biennial mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons celebrations,” she said.

The ceremony opened with a mihi and waiata led by club member Hugh Gully, who then handed the proceedings over to local Kaumātua Andy Joseph.  In Te Reo, Matua Andy likened the role of Kaumātua to that of a sheltering rata tree, dedicating one’s life to protecting all people.  A true leader also stood tall as a totara, steadfast as a rock, steering straight and true as a waka, he said.  Your job, he told John, “is to ensure the Club remained strong and its members proud, and that its symbols, icons and status were respected, maintained and enhanced”. He also commented on the appropriateness of the name of the Club, which in addition to being the Māori word for Nelson, also meant to support, construct, or raise up.

He said John Bethwaite had ticked all the boxes of leadership during his many years of contributing to the Nelson community. He said John was worthy of the status of Kaumātua and could now be called Matua John. 

To mark the occasion, Whakatu Rotary Club president Steve Kelso presented John with a taonga in the form of a sapphire pin.

Photos taken by Martin de Ruyter, Nelson Mail.

For further information, please contact:

Anna Gully E:
M: 0275457214
P: 545-7214

Monday, 13 October 2014



• Support Rotary initiatives in the Pacific and elsewhere in the world. Donations are Tax Deductible in New Zealand

1. Sierra Leone - Bo Hospital, established by Rotary – help them build an urgently needed quarantine/isolation ward to stop the spread of Ebola.
Need – Donations to make up $45,000 shortfall

2. Vanuatu – Refurbishment of Schools and Health Centres on Santo and surrounding islands. Tens of thousands of dollars of gear gifted 
Need – Donations for cost of shipment from Christchurch.

3. Pacific Countries – Forthcoming Cyclone season predicted to be one of worst in recent years. Emergency Response Kits are pre positioned for immediate distribution in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands and soon to be Vanuatu. 
Need - Funds at all time low to replenish stock . The cost of an ERK is $600. 

4. Tanzania – Kitefu Medical Centre, one of the busiest in the region needs to expand its premises to provide basic health care especially to women and children. New Zealanders have funded many successful projects in this community for past 14 years. 
Need - $10,000 for centre upgrade.

5. Swaziland - 600 orphaned children in Swaziland in the care of the Salesians’ are provided with clothing, housing, education and clothing and for the older ones vocational training. The food bill is approx NZ$2,000 per month. 
Need - 12 Donors to provide for each month in 2014/2015.

6. Fiji – Forthcoming Cyclone season predicted to be one of worst in recent years. Rotary Fiji distributes food parcels when disaster strikes. 
Need – donations for family food packs now as it takes time to gather funds via appeal following a disaster. $80 will feed a family for a week. 

• Send cheque to PO Box 20309, Christchurch 8543 or donate directly to RNZWCS Limited (Rotary New Zealand) at 03 1702 0192208 01. Use activity number as a Reference. 
Alternatively go to for further payment options.