Saturday, 31 October 2015

Celebrating supporters of ROMAC NZ

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon Richard Wong She who is Clinical Leader for Burns at the National Burn Centre of NZ, receiving a PHF certificate for the Burns Unit Team at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland from DG Peter Garnett
More than 70 people attended a special Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) function on October 9, in West Auckland, NZ to recognize some non-Rotarians who have made special contributions to the work of ROMAC in NZ.  Doctors John Stirling and Kirsten Finucane spoke about the work they do in the Pacific Islands, particularly in Vanuatu and Fiji.
ROMAC also presented PDG Trish O’Reilly with a special plaque recognising her role in bringing ROMAC to NZ over a decade ago.  She was the first NZ ROMAC Director and battled bureaucracy to enable ROMAC to bring children to NZ for surgery.  It was no mean fete as initially the Ministry of Health was very resistant, but with her persistence she succeeded, so much is owed to Trish for her effort and dogged determination.
Also present was past ROMAC Chairman in Australia PDG Terry Grant who convinced Trish to bring ROMAC to NZ.  Trish handed over the reins to PDG Geoff Dainty and of course the rest is history.  From very humble beginnings where only a few children received surgery through ROMAC’s efforts, the numbers have grown to over 20 in the past year. This has only occurred through the help of Rotary clubs, Rotarians, Rotary International grants and of course all the numerous volunteers.
ROMAC is indebted to these people who so willingly donate their time and expertise, allowing ROMAC to allocate almost 100 per cent of the money raised to ROMAC’s work, restoring dignity and prospects of a full life to so many children from the Pacific.

First Chair of ROMAC NZ PDG Trish O’Reilly (centre) receiving a plaque, with past ROMAC Australia Chairman PDG Terry Grant who encouraged Trish to bring ROMAC to NZ with current ROMAC NZ Chair Angela Bowey

Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon Kirsten Finucane after speaking on her work was presented with PHF recognition from DG Peter Garnett
Paediatric Cardiologist John Stirling receiving PHF recognition from DG Peter Garnett

Friday, 30 October 2015

Tarzan sighted at Sama Sama Rainbow School

Chris Kernot who was mistaken for Tarzan is spreading top soil while club Treasurer Mark McKenzie and President Roly Mortimer complete the plumbing
The Rotary Club of Port Vila held a working bee at the Sama Sama Rainbow School at Ernas, Vanuatu. “Sama sama” means happiness and rainbows signify a bright and colourful new beginning, hence the name for the school. The school was founded in 2009 by Ruth Carlot who is the Headmistress and it is situated on her family’s land. The school has 55 pupils from ages 3 to 10 plus another student aged 13. 
Before Cyclone Pam on March 13, the school had two teachers to assist Ruth, but because of the hardship caused by the cyclone, parents have not been able to pay school fees as before, so the teachers have had to be put off until funding can be secured again. If they are not teaching, the teachers become home gardeners working full-time to grow enough vegetables to be able to feed themselves and their family. The cyclone has destroyed all of the local gardens and stripped all the fruit trees, so subsistence farming is very desperate. Papaya, bananas and coconuts which are usually abundant are still scarce, as are most other staple produce the ni-Vanuatu rely on for their existence.
The school which has been constructed to a very high standard was built by Ruth’s son, who is a professional builder, and her husband. Students have also helped decorate the classrooms. A group of Rotarians from Victoria, Australia, travelled to Vanuatu to play cricket in an over 60’s competition in June and tiled one of the school rooms, painted desks and did lots of improvements while they were here.  Rotary Club of Warragul Chairman of Avenues of Service, Sally Jones, was among them and she followed up offering more assistance for the school. The next goal is to tile another classroom and to provide some resources, such as a projector and library books. Currently all the resources of the school reside on just two shelves 2.4 metres long in the headmistress’ office.
While enjoying Rotary Club of Port Vila’s lunchtime meeting, Sally’s crew challenged Rotarian Morgan Brag to raise a team for next year’s Over 60’s Cricket Tournament. Morgan quickly put up his money with a bet that he could do it and he was very enthusiastic, but now he has to find enough members who will admit to being over 60 and capable of batting and bowling. Our French club members describe cricket as, “that game where you don’t do anything,” so he could rope some of them in if any of them are over 60.   
The Port Vila Rotary club, under the guidance of Rotarian Bruce Larkin, undertook to install toilets and washing facilities for the school. Rotary concentrates on projects concerned with either health, education or water and sanitation issues, and this project included all three.  The plumbing design was put together by Rotarian Steve Roberts of South Pacific Plumbing.
On the last weekend in September, the club worked on the finishing touches: members covered the septic tank with topsoil to hide it and make the area safe for children to play; completed the upstream sewerage vent; and did minor repairs to toilets and shower. A small team of enthusiastic Rotarians assembled accompanied by Sarah Kernot. Chris Kernot was quick to take off his shirt to display his rippling muscles and get into it, so shovels and dirt were flying everywhere. He looked like Tarzan in action!  
It was a good end result; the job got done with all the usual Rotary working bee good humour and banter.

Building for literacy

Chairman of the Rotary Club of Ashburton Development Trust, Roger West (left) and Trustee Don Williamson work on landscaping the house section.
Rotary Club of Ashburton, NZ members are delighted their six month house build and landscaping project raised $70,000 for the club’s literacy projects.

The completed house at 41 Braebrook Drive was sold to local couple James and Jo McCloy.
The successful house build project was a first for the club, and the proceeds will fund children’s literacy projects in Samoa and locally in Ashburton.

The club has led an aid project in Samoan schools with support from other clubs in Rotary District 9970, including the neighbouring Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains, since the devastating tsunami of 2009. 

To date hundreds of library bookcases have been built and thousands of new and used books delivered to Samoan schools by Ashburton Rotarians with help from the Rotary Club of Apia.  Medical equipment and wheelchairs have also been delivered.  

The next step of the project is to provide thousands of early readers to schools.

Locally the proceeds from the project will fund the club’s Books for New Entrants programme for the next two years. The programme which has been running for two years delivers a NZ authored book to every five year old starting school in the Ashburton District.
Rotary Club of Ashburton Development Trust chair Roger West said the success of the project was very satisfying.  “We are so grateful to the many businesses and tradespeople who pitched in and helped us. Their support was quite overwhelming.”

The businesses who supported the build were recognised at the club’s Rotary meeting on June 23 with certificates of appreciation.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Downtown Auckland Rotary rallies for Vanuatu

Proud of their new home
“The whole project was a great example of Rotary in action. Linking with key people on the ground and the local villagers to achieve a hugely successful outcome in record time.”
Cyclone Pam swept through the Vanuatu Island chain on March 13 causing extensive damage.

Warren Burgess, a New Zealander with a holiday home on the south-east coast of the main island of Efate, was on the first civilian flight to arrive in Port Villa. Upon seeing the nearby village of Eton with over 30 per cent of the homes totally destroyed and extensive damage to the rest, he met with the Village Council and proposed a plan to rebuild the village, if the money for the materials required could be raised.

Warren contacted his friend, Grant Faber, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Auckland, NZ and a proposal was drafted to build 30 homes for the village. With the club’s keen support, the project swung in to action, driven by the humanitarian need of many families with no permanent shelter. A “Give a Little” page was launched and club members commenced fundraising while the design of a cyclone proof 5m x7m home was finalised. Building material suppliers were approached to assist because materials were not available in Vanuatu, so had to be shipped from NZ. 

On the ground in Vanuatu, Warren ensured site clearance and salvaging of material was under way and repairs to partly damaged buildings started. Fundraising continued by Downtown Auckland Rotary, including an evening dining event, at which the entertainment was donated. Meanwhile materials were stockpiled.

The Kindy building team - locals taking ownership
With critical shipping dates looming, the funds were short to cover the significant shipping costs. With last minute support from the NZ Government via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), five containers of building materials were on their way. While on the ground in Eton, Warren was training the local village build teams to ensure construction was to standard. 

More than NZ$130,000 was raised for the project in only three months. 

With the arrival of the materials in Eton, several volunteer builders arrived from NZ to join Warren and the village work teams, so the 30 homes were built in record time with construction complete by August. With fundraising continuing, the badly damaged village kindergarten was also rebuilt from the ground up.

The whole project was a great example of Rotary in action. Linking with key people on the ground and the local villagers to achieve a hugely successful outcome in record time.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Established Rotary clubs attract young professionals

New Rotarians Namrata Gulani (left) and Felicity Ellis on the Rotary membership recruitment stand at the Stonefields Community Fair in Auckland, NZ. 
Words: Colin and Beryl Robinson  Photos: Bruce Hancock, Rotary Club of St Johns, Auckland, NZ
What is the face of Rotary for the future?  Is it the well-educated and highly connected, tech-savvy professional who joined early in their career and stayed with Rotary because it is an excellent lifestyle option?  Rotary wants to attract young professional women and men to its membership and there seems to be a belief by some that this will only be achieved by creating new clubs that will draw their members from this demographic, but is this correct?  It is only one of the strategic options for attracting younger members.    

Throughout time young people have tested the limits of what is possible and proactively pushed for change.  They do this because they can see the real lag between the reality of the changing world and the ability of the existing structures of society and organisations to cater for changing needs. The same is happening in Rotary clubs, so the clubs that thrive are those who listen to the needs of their future leaders; these are the young professionals who have the passion, enthusiasm, optimism and willingness to do good.   Most Rotarians would relish this reinvigoration of their club.

The experience of an increasing number of established clubs is that they are finding it easier to attract young professionals to their ranks.  These clubs are providing an environment similar to those being provided by Next Rotary Generation (NRG) clubs, but with a major difference ... experience. 
Established clubs can cater for young professionals, as illustrated by the experience of three newly recruited Rotarians - Felicity Ellis (21 years-old), Michelle Baillie (24) and Namrata Gulani (32) - who recently joined the Rotary Club of St Johns in Auckland, NZ. 
How did they discover Rotary?  Namrata was a Rotary website membership enquiry.  Michelle and Felicity are Rotary Youth Leadership Awardees.   
They are well connected to and spend a lot of time with their peer group, but what they want is networking with while working alongside people with greater business experience and wisdom.  Along with this is the fact that an established club has found its place in the community and it has an organisational knowledge of what the needs of the community are and what works best to address these needs, with the networks to match.

Of course all this is of little use if the Rotary club culture was not welcoming or willing to adapt to the needs of its members, but their club adapts to evolving needs. They were welcomed as full Rotarians, equal in every respect from the day they were inducted.  Opportunities to participate to the level they are comfortable with have been encouraged from the outset, and when they put their hands up to take on roles leading aspects of existing projects or made suggestions for new projects, they are listened to and fully supported. 

Rotarian and former Ambassadorial Scholar Wesley Johnson’s wife Elyse, new Rotarian Michelle Baillie (centre) and Michelle’s friend Emma Stuart (right).  Emma applied to join the Rotary Club of St Johns during the Stonefields Community Fair in Auckland, NZ.
The club culture is one of friendship and cooperation, respectful of the fact they led busy lives, but encourages them to participate in the club’s activities as they can. For example, this means that there is no pressure to attend meetings every week, although they soon found that they like the meetings so much that they attend if they can, as these are relaxed, fun events with inspiring speakers that constitute good value for their time spent.  Their fellow Rotarians circulate and are easy to chat with regardless of the topic of conversation.   All new members are assigned a mentor / buddy and the club fully sponsors any member to Rotary Leadership Institute discussion-based training to help them make the most of their membership.  Within two months of joining Rotary, these three new members completed their first RLI day.  They commented they learnt so much of value for them as Rotarians and as individuals that this seminar further reinforced their decision to join Rotary and they are looking forward to graduating from RLI in March.

Felicity, Michelle and Namrata’s experience in Rotary has been so beneficial for them that they have already proactively recruited their friends and colleagues to join their club. 
What can you do differently to attract young professionals to your Rotary club? 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Small rivers make big lakes fundraising

As people say, “small rivers make big lakes”.

President Jean Louis Nguyen Qui reported that his Rotary E-Club 9920 Francophone organized a fundraising through their “circle of twin clubs” in order to help the
people in need in Vanuatu, following the devastation of severe tropical Cyclone Pam on March 13. 

They succeeded in raising 2,888 Euro that has been sent to the Rotary NZ World Community Service (RNZWCS) Ltd appeal for Cyclone Pam. Jean Louis commented, “this amount may seem rather small compared to the important needs of the Vanuatu community, but it shows that Rotary clubs from around the world can join forces, and that e-clubs are capable of raising funds when the community has a real need, in order to be a gift to the world”

The Rotary E-Club 9920 Francophone never loses sight of the fact they are a Rotary club of District 9920 and they are a valued member of the district.  Their circle of twin clubs is an innovation that has seen 14 clubs from 13 countries (France, USA, India, Sweden, Japan, Germany, UK, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Canada, Chile and New Zealand)  and districts join them in service.  

Twin clubs, or sister clubs, are two clubs from different countries that form a long-term relationship to promote international understanding and goodwill and carry out service projects in their communities.  These partnerships add power to the Rotary dynamic and the relationships add diversity and interest for the members of the twin clubs.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

ProMedical Survivor Games

Zorbing was amazing, so let’s do it again!
The Rotary Club of Port Vila likes to support is ProMedical, Vanuatu’s Emergency Services Association, because of the good work that they do. Vanuatu is fortunate in having such a well-trained pre-hospital emergency service which provides 24-hour international standard intensive care paramedic ambulance services on the islands of Efate and Santo who can respond to emergencies on other islands as the need arises. Core values of the ambulance service include adhering to international standards for equipment and patient care, the professionalism of staff, responding to all calls for assistance on a 24-hour basis, and accessibility for all.

Port Vila Rotary is proud to have ProMedical’s Operations Manager Michael Benjamin as an active member. Michael’s knowledge and experience enables the Rotary club to apply its resources effectively where most needed.

After making a late decision to enter a Rotary team into the ProMedical Survivor Games competition at Benjor Beach Club Resort, the club was flooded with applicants who were keen to represent the club. The applicants are all top quality, so it was difficult for the selectors to decide on a team.  The selection trials and fitness tests did not make their job any easier. The Rotary club put together a team to shake the confidence of the winners of the last two contests, the Irafira Warriors. Although the competition Sheriff, Judge and Jury are all Port Vila Rotarians or friends of Rotary, the club felt confident of winning on its own merits.  If there was a prize for the best cheer squad and support staff, Rotary could win that too.

On September 20 , after a heart felt opening ceremony culminating with President Baldwin Lonsdale launching the Survivor Games, 18 teams tried their best to beat each other. Port Vila Rotary competed credibly in this competition for the first time, but their lack of experience was a telling factor. However, when it came to having fun and enjoyment, no team did better. ProMedical are congratulated on such a concept initiative , where all day, hundreds of people were subjected to laughter and screams of excitement.

They’re not budging! 
The Rotary Wheels team started slowly, but pitched against experienced campaigners in the Zorbing heats, they did not qualify for the race off. The tug of war would have been a good event for the Rotary Wheels, but once again, inexperience let them down and they were caught off guard. Determined to make amends, they came good on the zip line, showing great courage and athleticism.  Then in the heats of the Dress the Dummy relay, a true test of skill and speed, they streeted the opposition. However, due to misbehaviour by some renegades, the final became a battle zone which was won by the Judo Team who were more experienced in that sort of contest. The ominous warning of the Rotary Wheels was, “We’ll be back!”

Manurewa-Takanini Rotary Club recently held their annual Pride of Workmanship Awards.

This year there were 11 recipients including 2 security guards, 2 teachers, 2 supermarket supervisors, a personal assistant, a secretary receptionist, a beverages and catering manager, an artist and a team leader.  Their employers ranged from a primary school, beautification trust, real estate agency, supermarket, shopping centre, Local Board and a golf club.

Nominations came as a result of personal contact with employers known to members, a mail-out to local businesses with a personal follow up and from approaching a school principal who presented a speech to the club earlier in the year.

We all know that every business has staff members who are always excelling at their jobs or going outside the square to ensure that the duties they have been allocated are finished both accurately and on time. These same employees may also be choosing to help other employees with their tasks.  Many businesses value these employees, but due to financial restraints or company policies, are unable to reward them for their extra efforts.

The idea behind our Pride of Workmanship Awards is to help them recognise these employees and each year we select a small group of local companies to participate in these awards.   The employers nominate their staff member with a short resume of what they do and why they are nominating them.  They are all automatically accepted by the club and certificates are printed and framed.  It is not a competition.

The presentation event itself is attended by the employer and nominated employee plus any other employees the business wishes to bring or even family members.  We have our normal meal, we pay for the employee and the employer pays for themselves and any other people they bring along.
We have a short speech on what we do in Rotary, a keynote speaker on a related topic and then the presentation of certificates with the employer telling us why they have nominated the person.

It’s a great night where we all recognise excellence and the recipients go home feeling very appreciated.  We recommend it to all clubs.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Business breakfast meetings gaining traction in Karori

PDG David Watt, Rotary Club of Karori, Wellington, NZ
Dr Swee Tan
The Rotary Club of Karori, in partnership with the ANZ bank is running a series of business breakfast meetings, bringing business leaders together in Karori to network and to learn more about Rotary projects. This initiative was launched last year by Karori Rotary as an extension to its evening Rotary club meetings to get closer to its business community and to attract support for its various community interests.
The club has now run six breakfast meetings, held every two months or so, and its next event is planned in November. Top speakers are being attracted to meetings to speak about business development. Chief Executive of Wellington Airport Steve Sanderson, Chief Executive of the Wellington City Council Dr Kevin Lavery, Steve Tew from the New Zealand Rugby Union, and ANZ Chief Economist Cameron Bagrie have all drawn good attendance numbers.
Dr Swee Tan, internationally renowned plastic surgeon pulled in significant numbers to hear him speak at the September meeting when he showed how broad the field of plastic surgery had become.  Dr Tan, Executive Director of the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute in Wellington, has had a wide connection with Rotary and has been in high demand as a speaker at many Rotary conferences. Known as something of a miracle man, he has led the way in the treatment of strawberry birthmarks in particular.  It was his discovery that the origin of strawberry birthmarks is in the placenta, that they are caused by stem cells which are regulated by the renin-angiotensin system. His work won him the coveted John Mulliken Prize in Montreal, Canada in 2010 where his research work was declared unbelievable.  Dr Tan spoke at length at the Karori business breakfast meeting on the development of stem cell procedures being researched on birthmarks and nipping the onset of cancer .
The Rotary Club of Karori has adopted a flexible approach to meetings for its members.  The breakfast programme is widening interest in community activities and allowing greater opportunity to mix with retail, medical, education and other leaders in the local area. Rotarians in other clubs in Wellington City are also attending these business breakfasts and giving support to the Karori programme.
For further information, contact David Watt on +64 27 246 6339 or email   

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Fantasy in Lights spectacular

Enthralled children listening to stories
Fantasy in Lights is now a major, biannual event which combines themed lighting shapes with sound, storytelling, bubbles and smoke, kids discos and costumed animals, wandering through the natural environment in the historic gardens at Kowhai Park in Feilding, Manawatu, NZ.  Makino Rotarians have mastered the art of making the  light shapes, based on childhood memories, supported by fairy and laser lights, all placed to enhance the large native trees, pond, wishing well, winding pathways and bridges inside the park.  Natural areas along the route lend themselves to a specific theme, such as the scary bridge, jungle, tunnel and sailing ships. Some shapes have moving parts to bring them to life with sound effects added.

The event attracts families from around the lower North Island and its uniqueness is that it is held in the middle of winter, every night, for a fortnight of the July school holidays! Children come along in their pajamas under their warm jackets, wearing gumboots, gloves and hats and to see their faces light up makes the hard work involved worthwhile, Rotary Club of Makino members say. The event continues to have great support and partnerships with local businesses, the council and the Central Energy Trust.

This year, Makino Rotary donated $5000 of the proceeds to the local Fielding Police blue light discos, where the Rotarians also provide manpower for their regular discos for the local youth.

The Rotary Club of Makino plans to maintain the project, so are always on the lookout for new ideas, new lighting  and more volunteers.  The club managed and sourced funding for the initial installation of the underground power supply, including cabling for lighting and sound in the park.  24 permanent floodlights have been added into the park, so it can be used all year round for other activities and events.  During the event, the park has directional signs, rope lighting and security volunteers to guide visitors around the winding pathways.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I know I how to wash my hands but there is no water!

The water barrel is empty at Falelima School, Savai’í, Samoa
Past President Bruce Hancock, Rotary Club of St Johns, Auckland, NZ

My Rotary Moment occurred during a trip to Samoa in May 2008.  I was invited there because of my Civil Engineering background, to assist the Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside (a club with which my Rotary Club of St Johns has close ties, as both clubs are in District 9920) in scoping a water supply project they were sponsoring.
The village of Falelima situated on the island of Savai’í happens to be located on a very porous layer of volcanic lava, so the natural rainwater runoff, unlike in other villages on the island, soaks in above the village and runs underground to the sea.  The village therefore relies on water collected from roof areas by gutters and connected tanks.
The problem was that much of the guttering in place was inadequate - there was not enough of it to provide the required amount of water to tide over the dry season, and many of the tanks were small and leaking.  Also many of the roofs were difficult to attach gutters to because of a lack of facia boards.  The villagers lacked the skills and resources to improve the situation, so were forced to import expensive tanker supplies each dry season.
The trip I went on was the first to the village and had the objective of scoping the work required, particularly at the village primary school which has a large roof area and adequate facia boards, but lacked much of the possible guttering and tank capacity required.
My Rotary Moment occurred when I observed a young girl no more than 7 or 8 years-old come out of a toilet, turn on the tap at the hand basin, and despite the fact that there was no water coming out, go through the actions of washing her hands!  I then suddenly realised what District 9920 was all about and the wisdom of Rotary as an organisation tying in the Pacific Island countries with New Zealand districts.
On a subsequent trip, Auckland Harbourside Rotary with some financial assistance from other clubs, including my own, were able to complete guttering on the school, provide additional tank capacity, repair the existing leaking tanks and also improve other amenities at the same time. 
In addition, guttering was added to the village church which had an existing large tank and throughout the exercise the locals villagers learnt to construct guttering and repair the other tanks in the village. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

New Zealand’s largest Motorcycle Show

The Rotary Club of Papakura, NZ held their third Motorcycle Show on August 15 and 16 at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, Auckland. This year, the show was open to both classic and custom bikes. It was sponsored by Star Insurance, Indian Motorcycles, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) Ride Forever national training programme and Motorcycle Trader magazine. 
Four thousand visitors enjoyed the spectacle (and noise) of 475 bikes, 25 bike clubs and numerous trade stands selling everything from new bikes, through to clothing, accessories, spare parts, services and bike related information.
From the Indian and Victory Motorcycle trade stands to the Auckland Veteran Motor Cycle Club, from Ducatti to Triumph, from $1 million machines to the most basic and ancient of motorcycles waiting to be restored, and from top names in the motorcycle racing community to amateur enthusiasts, they were all there, and so to were the public who turned up in their droves to support Papakura Rotary’s fundraiser. 
Indian Motorcycles prepared a 2015 Indian Scout prepared as a tribute to Burt Munro.  It was themed with Burt’s racing colours, 35 race number and “Spirit of Munro” logo on the tank. Then they donated the bike to the Rotary club and it was auctioned on Trademe raising $36,700 which enabled the show to open with expenses covered.
This fundraiser for the Rotary club was well supported by 34 club members assisting over the weekend, some of whom braved the rain on the Saturday as they stoically endured their time on the gate and car parking duties. Overall $70,000 was raised which will go to charity, including further education for staff at the National Burn Unit at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland, as well as many Rotary programmes, including Rotary Safety Education (formerly called RYDA), Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) and Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN).
The most enriching part of this project is the fellowship of working together both before the weekend and during the long hours which need to be put in over the show weekend to ensure its success.

What inspires young members?

Toya Woodgate was associated with the Rotary Club of Papanui, Christchurch, NZ for some time before she became a member in February 2014.
She is from two Māori tribes. Her father is Ngāi Tahu and her mother is Te Āti Awa. Until her graduation, Toya worked in the  Ngāi Tahu office with administrative roles such as a receptionist and minute-taker.
Since graduating from Canterbury University in December 2014, she has taught at local and country schools. Her latest placement has been at Kaikoura Suburban School. She is finishing her Honours degree and hopes to graduate with Honours in December. Toya believes, “Our greatest resource is in the minds of our children.”
Toya likes the outdoors. She has her firearms license and goes duck shooting.
When she was in the Emerging Leaders’ Development programme at university, Toya was introduced to Rotary through Papanui’s Rotary Associates programme (featured in RDU November 2014 page 39).  
She attended Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) which she found to be a “life-changing” experience, and was then further inspired by Rotary’s Future Leaders’ Seminar. 
She was a key creator and organiser for the “Big Day Out” for families suffering from the stresses of the Christchurch earthquakes.  She joined the Christchurch Youth Council which now works with the Christchurch City Council. 
Rotaract has also been important to Toya. She spends a lot of time assisting Ronald McDonald House. She is also an English Tutor for children who have been learning Te Reo (Māori language). This may be a focus for her Masters or PhD in the future.
Toya’s favourite TED Talk idea worth spreading video is at then search using “rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion”.  It’s about the value and importance of human connection and relationships. 
Toya recently asked Papanui Rotarians what lessons they would teach young children if they had to teach them just one thing.  Their answers ranged from “follow your dreams” to “you have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk to learn”.  She also asked them what lessons they have never forgotten.  One Rotarian replied  that surpassing yourself worth is better than surpassing others. 


There is no age limits for Rotary membership.  Rather it is the quality of the person that determines acceptance to Rotary.  Rotarians are men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, cultures, personal strengths, interests, skills, professions and experiences united together in a willingness to work together to build a better community for all in both local and international communities.  To find out more at no-obligation by speaking to a club local to you call 0800 4 ROTARY (0800 4 768279)

Rotary kick-starts social enterprise challenge

The winners, the Vogelmorn Community Group, (L to R): Phil Clatworthy, Jo Randerson and Cally O'Neill.
Social enterprise is the new wave model for the charitable sector and the Rotary Club of Wellington, NZ got involved at the ground floor level. 
The Rotary Club of Wellington Social Enterprise Kick-start is a challenge to support social enterprise with the club providing $10,000 to the top projects. 
The club partnered with the Ākina Foundation, a charity growing social enterprise across NZ, to run the Kick-start Social Enterprise Awards.  Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact.
Ākina Foundation Chief Executive Alex Hannant said the Vogelmorn Community Group’s idea to re-envisage suburban connectivity and enterprise through developing the closed Vogelmorn Bowling Club into a community asset is an impressive inaugural winner.  “I can see this project reinvigorating the heart of Vogelmorn.  Bowling clubs were traditionally real community focus points, so re-creating that buzz and connection through social enterprise builds on our history.”
On behalf of the Vogelmorn Community Group, Jo Randerson said the team was delighted to receive the award of $7,000.  She said the funds would help their commercial kitchen venture, which enables locals to make and sell their own food products at markets and other outlets.
“It's very exciting to see Rotary supporting social enterprise, as this is a smart way to invest in communities growing with a very clear return on the investment in human terms,” Jo emphasised.
Alex said that competition between the six shortlisted finalists had been stiff.  The runner-up was Sew Good, a sewing co-operative within the Common Unity Project Aotearoa.  Sew Good received $3,000 with funds to be used to help empower people from vulnerable communities through the production of sewn garments and goods for gifting and sale.
“The Rotary Club of Wellington is the oldest Rotary Club in NZ (chartered in 1921).  They have been a supporter of some of New Zealand’s most valued social causes.  It’s fantastic to see them embracing this new generation of social enterprise,” Alex explained.
Wellington Rotary’s Vocational Committee Chair Andrew Miller offered that their members would also be available to support the successful ventures through access to networks, advice on accessing markets and business mentoring.
The community using the old Vogelmorn Bowling Club. 
Alex said the Ākina team was excited about this new opportunity to support social entrepreneurs thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the Rotary Club of Wellington.
“We are hopeful this successful partnership will challenge others to get in behind social enterprise as an innovative way to tackle social and environmental challenges,” said Alex.
“We want to act as inspiration for other Rotary clubs around the country,” Andrew added. 
Rotary members watched three-minute videos submitted by the finalists on August 31 then cast votes to determine the winner and runner-up.  View all the finalists’ videos at
Go to or contact Andrew Miller via email to find out more.