Monday, 31 August 2015


A family have clean water at their house for the first time ever.

The need for clean, bacteria free water to keep villagers and children healthy in villages and schools in Fiji’s Savuasavu region is significant, particularly as an El Nino drought is forecast .  So the Fiji clean water project by the Rotary Club of Savusavu was born, sponsored by a matching Global Grant with the Rotary Club of Point Loma and the Rotary Club of San Diego (also called Club 33), San Diego, CA.

It took Savusavu Rotary member and project leader Jeff Mather a year to design and perfect the Safe Water Stations that will allow individual households to filter water drawn from a variety of sources that are often a source of acute and chronic illnesses The units use small Sawyer water filters commonly used for backpacking and these, with the buckets and other hardware are imported from the US.  It is then a monumental task to paint, stack, label, drill, nail, assemble and carry the water stations back & forth until fully assembled, thankfully helped by a dedicated group of Rotarians and community members.

The project will be initially building 240 stations and deployment includes delivery, installation and assurance of sustainability through “Train the Trainer” days where people from each deployment location are trained in the use and maintenance of the unit and who will then on-train others.

When the first batch of 40 units were ready, members of the Fiji Home Water Filter Project and Ministry of Health officers met with the Savusavu Hospital nursing staff in charge of the community health workers at the Vunivesi Village Community Hall to show them how the units worked and explain the project which will be deployed in the areas visited by them. They were very impressed and enthusiastic about the project. Once everyone got their stations dispensing beautiful, clean water, there were many villagers who continually brought in large bottles, bowls and various shaped buckets to fill up with the clean water to take back to their homes!  The need is clear.

The first village deployment of 36 Safe Water Stations was Vunivesi Village on 31 July with the whole village excitedly gathered at the Community Hall for a welcome ceremony and a briefing, community leadership signing an agreement of commitment, and a training session before the units were installed into individual homes. Levuka village received the second deployment of 25 units and Nabalebale village with 65 households was the largest deployment for this project.

In usual island style, these deployments were highlighted by ceremonial welcomes including dance, food and the ever-present smiles of gratitude. 

Special thanks goes to committee members including Barbara L’Ami (current President), Susan Stone (current Sec), Point Loma committee member Debra Gookin & Club 33 member Mike Conner for the outstanding success of this on-going project.


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Monday, 3 August 2015

Concert at Karaka features International Youth Exchange Student Paula Busse from Germany

The Rotary Club of Papakura, NZ held their 17th annual Concert at Karaka on May 23 and 24. The Concert at Karaka was initially organised to showcase local and youth talent and to give experience to young emerging musicians.  It has achieved this aim magnificently over the years. 

This year was no exception, with the star of the show being inbound Rotary International Youth Exchange Student and violinist Paula Busse from Witten, Germany who was accompanied by Jonathon Dunlop on the piano.  Paula had already demonstrated her talents by arranging a musical evening at one of our member’s homes to raise funds to purchase an Emergency Response Kit which was immensely successful. Paula began violin lessons when she was eight and music has developed into a real passion for her. From the age of twelve, she has participated in national young musicians’ competitions with excellent results in both solo and chamber categories. Due to her outstanding results, she was given grants for international master classes for string instruments as well as for piano trios. Prior to her Rotary exchange Paula was first violinist and principal Concert Master of a youth orchestra in Dortmund, Germany.  Truly Paula was the star of the show!

Joining Paula were baritone Benson Wilson who was born in New Zealand of Samoan descent and had just completed his BMus (Hons); Maia Vegar, soprano, who has recently completed four years at the University of Auckland studying Classical Performance Voice; the Aorere College Front Row junior boys choir; Juan Kim who has played the piano since the age of six and who has recently completed a Batchelor of Music in Piano Performance; and our annual favourite the Dalewool Auckland Brass Band conducted by Nigel Weeks who have appeared at all of the 17 concerts.

The concert is held at the New Zealand Bloodstock sales centre where the artists perform in the sales ring where a few days before hand yearling horses traded for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  New Zealand Bloodstock Ltd provide the venue each year at no cost, but reap the reward of a thorough clean of the centre and a polish of the brass railings which surround the sales ring.  The acoustics in the centre are magnificent with many of the professional artists who have performed over the years declaring them to be the equal of or better than many concert halls in which they have appeared.

This weekend is important to the club as a fellowship opportunity and many stories are shared over the polishing rag while shinning the brass rail or manoeuvring the vacuum cleaner or broom.  Partners of the members turn out in force to provide refreshments to the audience at half time and the after show party.  The Papakura Floral Art Group fill the premises with floral arrangements and many of the patrons look forward to seeing these every year. 

Success on a guitar string

21-year-old Jake Church is “one of the most exciting young classical guitarists in the country(The Gisborne Herald, 13 July 2015). Jake is studying a post-graduate Honours degree in Music at the Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, under the tuition of Dr Jane Curry. He has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of New Plymouth, NZ for the past three years, and has also received annual funding from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and the Mt Egmont Masonic Lodge.

Jake’s success at the inaugural New Zealand Classical Guitar Competition in 2014, when he gained second place overall and the Audience Choice Award in the Open Division, has led to great performance opportunities around New Zealand. By achieving the highest grade in the guitar program’s mid-year recital, he won the Jack C Richards Music Award, which entailed a guest solo performance at the Gisborne Tairawhiti Museum Concert Series. Alongside his solo commitments, he is a founding member of Duo Kitā. The classical guitar duo gained the Freemasons Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Music Award which supported their debut tour of New Zealand this year. Besides performing around the country, Jake tutors as part of Massey University’s Young Musician Program and privately teaches when he returns to New Plymouth during his study breaks.

Having the support of New Plymouth Rotary has enabled Jake to accomplish these endeavours, with a main goal to pursue a Masters in Classical Performance in an overseas program. Assistance from the Rotary club and the encouragement of his family and friends has always driven Jake to expand his limitations in turn, “leading him to have honed a variety of intriguing repertoire” (The Gisborne Herald, 9 July 2015). Jake is extremely appreciative for the work and support of the Charitable Trust of the New Plymouth Rotary Club, and also over the years presidents Walter Garrett, Jan Dempsey and Bob Maxwell, along with the generous guidance of the club’s members.