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Ethnicity, gender balance and family membership growth opportunities
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.
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.
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 Aucklandand many more.
diversity adds strength to the club and its activities because of the diverse
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.
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.