Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pedal pushers

100km peloton around Maungatautari Mountain
The Rotary Club of Te Awamutu, NZ,  is proud to present the Maunga Cycle Challenge, an event for the community, which promotes the Waipa District and the wider Waikato, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust and provides a challenge of riding around the majestic Maungatautari Mountain. The event start and finish on the second Sunday in November is at Albert Park in Te Awamutu and it has attracted over 500 riders.

Rotarian organizer Elizabeth Wright says the Maunga Cycle Challenge is open to a diverse range of riders, attracting everyone from families keen for a bit of fun and family time, to professionals looking to stretch their legs in the 100km ride around Maungatautari Mountain.

Other distances are the Livingston 3 person relay, 30km or 12km family ride. Other popular events have been the Battle of Champions between elite rowers and cyclists, a school team competition and the Sport Waikato Energizes running a programme for children on the park.

The charity of choice is the Trusts Education Facility. Five dollars from the 30km and 100km entries assists with purchase of resources for visiting school groups of children and visitors to learn about the flora and fauna of the mountain. All further profits are directed straight back into the community. 

The Maunga is a growing community event and draws volunteers from local clubs and businesses, with the latter providing product and cash prizes. Waikato businesses also assist with advertising, web design and the Waipa Council with advice and financial support.

On the day, the local cycle club helps with registrations and other Rotarians from Kihikihi and Otorohanga assist the committee with the many jobs to ensure the smooth running of the event. Up to 60 volunteers assist annually with the Maunga.

A short video on the website showcases the beautiful surrounds of the mountain and river.

The tenth Maunga Cycle Challenge will be on November 8 [2015]. Online registrations will open in September to save your slot. 


Wide-eyed and amazed describes the audience attending the fifth Rotary Club of Mangere Showtime extravaganza at the Mangere Arts Centre over four days on September 10-13. 

The spectacular opening act by the Mangere College’s Kapa Haka group set the pace and tone of energy and excitement for the showcase of youth talent in the performing arts in New Zealand’s Mangere community.  Mangere Showtime has become entrenched into the local community calendar with a strong support from all of the local schools, and has the community’s gratitude for taking the raw talent of their youth while providing a platform for refinement, which in turn opens up new opportunities for these performers to progress their artistic talents. 

One evening was specifically set aside for students needing to perform in front of a live audience as part of their National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) exam assessment.  This produced a variety show with all sorts of instruments and types of performances to a high standard that kept the audience fully attentive throughout the show and provided performers with  a real audience’s reaction. This was the dream of former president Des Johnson and he drove Showtime in its formative years.  In 2014 this musical showcase was grown further with the introduction of “The Next Step Project”, a new initiative that will enable eight selected performers to be mentored as they develop in their chosen performing arts.    

The modern state of the art facility used for the performances was indicative of the quality of the event for every aspect of the showcase that was incredibly well promoted, including social media and a very “hard hitting” promotional video using images from past shows.  This resulted in very strong community support and full houses for each of the performance.  The club’s secondary objective to promote Rotary in the local and wider community was also achieved. 

Performances were videoed and placed onto, so they have been played around the world.

Ethnicity, gender balance and family membership growth opportunities

New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, recognised the Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside, on October 21, 2014 for 20 years of community service & fellowship. The recognition certificate states, “the club is distinct in that members represent many different ethnicities and is the most culturally diverse club in Auckland”.

If when the club was chartered in 1994 there was a need for a club to lead the way by representing the ethnic diversity of Auckland at that time, then what would those visionaries, in particular charter President Mike Jaduram (who went on to be District 9920 Governor in 1998-1999) make of the super-diverse category that Auckland city now falls into?  When the club chartered, they had equal numbers of Chinese, Indian and European members, but Auckland now has over 200 ethnicities which again brings to the fore the long debated issue of how, and when, will Rotary make serious inroads into club membership reflecting the diversity of their local community, or at least build lasting relationships or partnerships with these communities.

The Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside started with the principal that prospective members had to first and foremost have the characteristics that make a good Rotarian, as well as being able to mix well and have the willingness to dedicate their time and energy to adhere to the Rotary principle of “Service above Self”.  The fact that they were able to apply Indian, Chinese and Kiwi culture made the club more diverse and interesting.

The multicultural membership brought strong links to these different ethnic communities, necessitating innovation, new ways to fundraise and create service projects appropriate for these communities, but still also relevant to the Auckland community as a whole.  Former president Shefali Mehta emphasises that there are some great examples in their three signature fundraising events each year, involving Chinese New Year, Diwali and Best of British, that typically each attract more than 500 guests annually to support organizations such as Starship Children Hospital, St John Ambulance, Leukemia & Blood Foundation, Totara Hospice South Auckland and many more.

Cultural diversity adds strength to the club and its activities because of the diverse talent pool.

In addition to cultural diversity, the club also has a good gender balance, not by restricting one gender, but making the extra effort to encourage women to see the club as vibrant place, respectful of their needs and this works well with 43% of the club being women.  

Family values and participation are also very strong within this club that has couples plus parents and children as members, and the inclusion of partners at everything the club does is a given.   

This success formula is unbeatable!  


Featured article
February 2015 edition of
Rotary Down Under magazine


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Rotary spreads knowledge to island children

Waiheke Rotary President Greg Davenport and member Sherryl El Bakary visited both the Te Huruhi and Waiheke Promart schools to present to their Year 4 students their personal copy of the Usborne Pictorial Dictionary.  All 113 students were delighted to receive these as part of the club's on-going commitment to the youth of Waiheke Island.
For more understanding about this project view this video via YouTube:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Want a new house - Rotorua Sunrise Rotary have an auction for you

7 December with proceeds going to the Rotary Rotorua Sunrise Charitable Trust for distribution to the community.

Go to - then ID#PRT12405 for more information.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

That’s the night of the big game!

What do you do when, four months out, you discover that the only booking available for your fundraiser on August 16 clashes with a major Rugby Championship 2014 game between the New Zealand All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies? 

Well you create a themed supporting event too good to be missed, invite Rotarians and members of the public, and promise to get everyone home in time for the live TV broadcast from ANZ Stadium in Sydney.  That was the Rotary Club of Pakuranga’s solution to the problem, and it resulted in their trivia quiz and auction evening being a huge success. The event was noisy, loud and colourful in a room filled with laughter and happy banter.

With Variety, the Children’s Charity as their chosen charity partner, the Rotary club had secured a wide range of auction items, ranging from working a Ports of Auckland straddle crane to a Gold Coast apartment holiday. Eighty five percent of the 250 tickets sold were to non-Rotarians, with the tables of 10 asked to dress in a theme. There were sporting teams, pirates, trollops, tramps, biker gangs, road workers, election parties and many more.
Television celebrity Shane Cortese shares a moment with Philippa and her mum Denise Loseby.

Several television celebrities joined in with actor, comedian, entertainer and raconteur Mark Wright, who was dressed as former rugby union footballer and coach Alex "Grizz" Wyllie, officiating as both quiz master and auctioneer. His first task was to auction actor Shane Cortese, who is known for his television roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Nothing Trivial, and his dancing prowess on Dancing With the Stars (NZ), to join a table to assist with a quiz round. With a whistle, yellow cards, stock whip and smoking hand gun, Mark kept the fans in order while he extracted valuable dollars for a local decile one school (that is in the 10 per cent of schools with the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic communities) and other youth initiatives in the area.  A profit of over $20,000 was made, with many tables asking to be contacted for next year’s event.
So, don’t let a clash with another function put you off.  You know the old saying… “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”


Rotary Club of Waiheke Island, NZ, members are immersed in preparing for the 24th annual Fullers Waiheke Wharf2Wharf fun run & walking event on Saturday January 17, 2015.   There’s still time before the start gun to get into training for this infamous hilly course across Waiheke Island and join with hundreds of others on a fun filled day for the entire family.  

New events have been added, courtesy of Sport Auckland, to allow even the youngest athletes to participate at Matiatia including: a Kid’s Dash for 6 to 8 year olds; a Family Bear Hunt for 3 to 9 year olds who have to take Mum or Dad along to help solve the clues;  and a Fun Fair Playground to help young children develop balance and cognitive skills.  Chairperson of the organising committee Marcus Mackenzie says that children should expect to see Bobby Banana having fun on the cooling water slide, or a paw paw mascot sharing water and fruit at the finish line, provided by new sponsor Dole NZ.   Every finisher will get to take home a pineapple too.

Also new this year is the switch from a 7 km to a 5 km race, starting at Surfdale beach which will allow the young guns to get in a good sprint with Mum or Dad working hard to keep up with them on the flat start to the course.  The hilly 13 km from Orapiu to Onetangi and the slightly flatter 12 km from Onetangi to Matiatia offer enough challenge for the majority, and may be the perfect opportunity to fundraise for one of the two official charities associated with the event.  The Fred Hollows Foundation is well known to Rotarians for the work they perform in the Pacific region restoring sight.  Locally based charity, the Jassy Dean Trust, is perhaps better known for its annual Garden Safari in November. This year their efforts are focussed on supporting Melana House which provides services to differently-abled children and their families.

For the serious runners, the signature 25 km will see fast and furious pace being set in the men’s race.  Race Director Ann Brown expects that there will be strong competition for that coveted first place cash prize.  Ann is also looking forward to a fast paced ladies race this year, led by Ironman and Marathon runner, Lesley Turner Hall.  With 37 marathons and 7 Ironman events completed in the past 12 years, Lesley will be using the Wharf2Wharf course as a training outing for her 2015 ambitions.

Every distance offers walk options, and 2015 sees the return of cousins Ken and Steve Leitch in 2015 competing once more for champion bragging rights against nephew Sven.  Whether or not your aim is to be in to win, walking the courses showcase superb views of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and it is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Waiheke Island at its summertime best.

Keeping the race affordable is a priority for the organisers, with discounted ferry fares, low cost junior entry fees and early bird deals for those who like to save a few dollars.  No matter when you sign up, know that your dollars help the Rotary Club of Waiheke Island continue its support of invaluable community groups and projects and the Dolphins Netball club sustain its programmes.  Both organisations invest a lot of time and effort in offering the event, so that what goes around comes around, in true Waiheke spirit.

For more information or to enter visit  

Community supports Rotary’s fun event

A milestone of 12 years fund raising for the community from the one event has so far raised a grand total of $349,000. 

The Brightwater Wine and Food Festival (BWFF) run by the Rotary Club of Richmond, New Zealand, is a successful event enabling the club to return the profits back to the community.  This year another $29,000 was given to recipients including, Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust, St John Ambulance, Brightwater Rural Fire Force and many more.  At the presentation of donations to this year’s recipients, Chairman of the BWFF Committee Peter Glue announced,  “Thanks to the encouragement of sponsors, the fair will be continuing for another year on Sunday February 15”. 

BWFF is successful because it is a fun day for all the community, bringing a variety of food, wine and beer for enjoyment, while the beat of splendid local music sets the mood in the vineyard venue.  Rotarians use their management skills bringing it all together, even providing buses or the option of Taste Nelson Cycle Trail to get to the venue.

Peter highlighted the ongoing success of the fair and said, “The committee is intending not to expand to any great degree, but to simply tweak the existing event to make it a better, brighter and happier festival in 2015.  Landscaping is taking place, and the emphasis will be more children orientated.  Effort will also be put into expanding cycling to the event”. 

Rotorua cyclists ride to rid the world of polio

A Rotary Club of Rotorua, NZ, cycling team has completed a gruelling ride to raise $2000 to help the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.

Six Kwik Kiwis riding 210 kilometres only had one puncture. Josh Pederson fixing Janine Speedy’s puncture

The six-member “Kwik Kiwis” team, led by president Russell Dale, competed in the 210 kilometre Round the Bay cycling event in Melbourne on Sunday October 19 in the run-up to World Polio Day on October 24.

The Kwik Kiwis team consisted of Russell Dale, his daughters Jodi and Anna Dale, son-in-law Josh Pederson, and friends David Russell and Janine Speedy.

The team finished Australia’s largest cycling event in nine hours, and team members and sponsors raised the $2000 contribution that, with 2:1 matching funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is enough to vaccinate 10,000 children in the last few countries where polio still exists.

Rotary around the world began a campaign, called Polio Plus, in 1985 to try and eradicate the disease. Rotarians have raised more than $300 million since then and have also joined vaccination teams to fight the disease. The World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Centres for Disease Control, many countries and private funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have joined the campaign as partners.

Polio cases have been reduced by 99 per cent and total eradication now depends on eliminating the disease from the last three countries where it is endemic - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria - where there have been 182 new cases in 2014, up until 24 September. A further 19 cases in seven countries have been caused by “imported” virus strains from the endemic areas.

“From an estimated 387,000 polio cases in 1985 when Polio Plus began, the world is now so close to being polio-free,” Russell said. “The Kwik Kiwis’ contribution and donations from many others will help to eliminate the last one per cent of cases and ensure no child anywhere will be disabled by this crippling disease.”

World Polio Day information:

Rotary offers options

Getting stuck in. Kerikeri Rotarians including (from left) John Graham, Pete Roffey, Owen Smith (on roof), John Toms, Dale Simkin and Mel Messenger built the public barbecues in the town’s Stone Store Basin. The Rotary Club of Kerikeri’s new website gives non-members the chance to suggest other projects or volunteer their services.
The Rotary Club of Kerikeri is pulling out all the stops to engage with the local community. It has launched a new website outlining its work, encouraging membership enquiries and creating new ways for people to get involved without needing to become members.

Residents of the town can use either to suggest community projects for Rotary to get involved with or to volunteer their own services for Rotary initiatives.

“Rather than dream up random community projects on our own, we thought it would be good to seek suggestions from the community,” said Bruce Mathieson, the club’s President. “And because we suspect there are quite a few people out there who would like to become involved in community projects, but don’t want to become formally involved with Rotary, we’re making it easy for them to do so.”  

Bruce (36) is the youngest President of the club to date. He promised a year of change with a focus on local projects. Bruce said the 37-strong club was one of the most active and healthy in the region, but he wanted to encourage more professionals and parents of young families to join its ranks. For this to happen the club would need to evolve and adapt.

“We’re looking at a heap of new membership options,” Bruce said, “from introducing ‘couples’ membership through to adding breakfast or lunch gatherings to our existing meetings format. Rotary is an important part of the fabric of our community, but for this to continue, we need to remain relevant to, and in touch with, all parts of our community. Our new website is the first step towards this goal.”