Saturday, 27 February 2016

Stand tall as a mountain

Letty Tumangan and Rotary International Director Guiller Tumangan, Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise Past President and Rotary Oral Language Programme Coordinator Sue Gunn, WHPS Assistant Principal Megan Marshall, and Rotary District 9930 Governor Mike Smith at WHPS.
Rotary International Director Guiller Tumangan and his wife Letty, visiting from the Philippines on February 17, picked up the book Sam Goes Wild to be read to them while viewing the Rotary Oral Language Programme run at Western Heights Primary School (WHPS) in Rotorua, NZ.
Guiller and Letty were very impressed with the programme where volunteer tutors work one-on-one with Year 1 students to improve their oral language and set them up for formal learning in school. 
The school’s vision is E Tu Hei Maunga (stand tall as a mountain). 

Cleaning up our waterways

For 25 years, the Rotary Club of Huntly, NZ has been involved with the New Zealand Bow Hunters’ World Koi Carp Classic which is held over the first weekend of November to coincide with the spawning season of the carp. 

Koi Carp are classified as an unwanted organism under the NZ Bio Security Act with huge fines or imprisonment for anyone caught releasing, spreading, selling or breeding them. 

The idea of NZ Bow Hunters member Alan Metcalfe has seen approximately 75,000 kilograms of Koi Carp caught from its inception in 1990 to 2015. These have been caught by both local and overseas bow hunters from the Waikato River and 18 lakes surrounding Huntly. 

This annual event is sponsored by the NZ Department of Conservation, Waikato Hunting and Fishing, Waikato River Authority, Fulton Hogan - HEB Construction Alliance and Rotarian Peter Sweetman of Sweetman's Ltd. 

Huntly Rotarians under the guidance of Peter, have weighed in and tallied all the monsters and minis caught. What happens to the caught fish?  Presently the surplus fish that are not winners of the many categories are minced up in a Hogger. 

Members of the public make a monetary donation to Huntly Rotary for berley.  This has allowed Huntly Rotary over the last five years to put more than $5000 back into the local community. 

However, this only known one of its kind event is under threat of closure. 

Unless a satisfactory solution can be found for the disposal of the excess fish, and the impending closure be stopped, the Waikato, Bay of Plenty recreational waterways are under threat from these pests.  They absorb the nitrogen from the lakes compromising the water quality, but as a fertiliser they are extremely rich in nitrogen, and the annual fundraising for our club’s community projects is also under threat.

Perhaps there is a solution out there that we haven't yet found, in which case Huntly Rotary and New Zealand Bow Hunters will be receptive to all suggestions. Please email Huntly Rotary President Dennis Murdoch via  

Friday, 26 February 2016

Children return to class “buzzing”: Reading Assistance Programme

Youth Director Corin Schick is among the Dargaville Rotarians who regularly help the children with their reading
Most of us have read to youngsters - children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren - perched on a knee or sitting at our feet.
But the Rotary Club of Dargaville, NZ is reversing the traditional role and each Wednesday up to a dozen members go to Selwyn Park School where the children read to them.
Students at this lowest Decile 1 primary school, who have been identified as would benefit from extra reading practice, pair off with the Rotarians in the school library and spend 45 minutes reading to them from journals and books matched to their abilities.
The project was the brainchild of Rotarian Colin Patterson who has since moved to Kaikohe where the local Rotary club is benefiting from his enthusiasm.
It began at the start of the last school year and the children's enthusiasm as they wait for their Rotarian, and during reading, indicates they are really enjoying it.
Also, both Rotarians and teachers report a boost in the youngsters' reading ability and confidence, and test at half-year showed that all had improved - some by 1.5 years of reading ability.  As a result the programme is likely to be ongoing.
Dargaville Rotary President Brian Burnett has no doubts about the value of this programme. "The pleasure we have seen in their faces as they read - and understand what they're reading - has been our greatest reward," Brian said. 
Selwyn Park School Principal Vern Stevens agrees. "It has made a huge difference to the kids who really look forward to Wednesday's reading," he commented, "and so do the teachers because the children come back to class buzzing."
Dargaville Rotary has always placed strong emphasis on youth, participating in both year-long International Youth Exchanges and the shorter Rotary Australia-New Zealand Exchanges, hosting the annual Northern Wairoa Primary School’s Speech Contest, providing tertiary scholarships to deserving students and offering local young people a variety of opportunities, like Road Safety Education (formerly Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) to further their life experience and education.
The Rotary Club of Dargaville was also the major sponsor for the Careers Expos organised by Kaipara Employment For Youth which aim to match school leavers with work in their own district.

 Words: Viv Trounson, Rotary Club of Dargaville, NZ

Wheels for Max

Max on “the beast” 
As part of the Rotary Club of East Coast Bays’ business plan, the club set an objective to encourage a style of membership that is open, communicative and with strong fellowship and Rotary family involvement.
With guidance and great leadership from our District 9910 Governor Peter Garnett who is a member of our club, the club President Caroline Campbell has developed a culture that encourages and values the input of all club members and supports and enables new ideas.
One of our new and younger members suggested in his three minute talk, that the club look at some different and more innovative ways we could raise funds for our various projects. The “Give a Little” website was one vehicle he suggested we should explore.
The Give a Little concept is already a well-established system for giving, but it had not been used as a platform by our club before. Once we had the green light from the Board of Directors, there were several steps in the process we had to undertake to ensure our page was set up properly as a registered charity, but once completed, we were good to go.
Before long we had our first fundraising project and the “Wheels for Max” campaign began.
Max, a 12 year-old with a form of cerebral palsy that affects all four of his limbs, had his heart set on a 4x4 all-terrain wheelchair, known as “the beast” that would enable him to enjoy a more active and participative life. 
With our club’s own push via social media and the help of the local newspaper, the Give a Little campaign was very successful and more importantly, over just five weeks, proved a fast and efficient way to raise the $15,000 that was needed for this life-changing piece equipment for Max.
This project highlighted what is great about of the Rotary Club of East Coast Bays.
A collaboration between some of our newest members with their fresh perspective and ideas, in partnership with longer term members who knew how to best leverage the funds we had raised by applying for a Matching Grant. Combine this with the support and encouragement for this new thinking from everyone else in the club and the outcome was a fantastic result which culminated in the donation of the “The Beast” to Max on February 23 on Rotary’s 111th birthday.

Words: Amanda Chambers, Member and PR Director, Rotary Club of East Coast Bays, NZ

Girls’ Sheds Tour

”Sheddie” Marilyn Bulford with her amazing “Girl’s Shed” collection admired by Takaro Rotarian Gillian Craven
As the 2015-2016 Rotary year began, the Rotary Club of Takaro, NZ was looking for a new project to reignite the club, and after some brainstorming, the “Girls’ Sheds” project was born. Fortunately the club had some experience with this type of event, having held “Garden Tour” and “Man Cave” projects several years before. 
The Rotary club first developed a talent pool of member’s skills to help identify gaps and then found people with the needed skills to enhance the project team.  Tasks were allocated and time frames set for completion. It quickly became clear that the club was onto something great, so the excitement grew and a launch date of Valentine’s Day was chosen. 

Club members were able to cover most functions using their wide pool of skills, including extensive promotion on social media using a regularly updated Facebook event page and Eventfinder, plus posters throughout the community, all supported by an advertising campaign on radio and in newspapers.

21 Girls’ Sheds on 15 sites around Palmerston North participated in the project and each also donated items for the raffle. 
On Saturday February 14 the weather was perfect. Each of the 260 ticket holders met at the community hall and picked up a map and a guide for the day and viewed a PowerPoint presentation with photos of the sites, so guests could choose which ones they were most keen to explore and maybe buy some of the products on sale there.  Raffles tickets were purchased, picnic lunches collected and the tour began to see what the “girls of Palmy” and surrounding areas are doing in their special spaces.
The $860 ticket sales for the donated raffle covered the day’s costs, including lunches. 

Two Rotarians were assigned to each site to act as guides and security for the “Sheddies”. The guests found out about what local women do in their sheds and were amazed at the variety creativity and talent on display, including doll making, garden art, glass, cheese making, soap making, jewellery, quilting plus other interesting ventures. 

The overall outcome was a sensational and fun day for everyone involved, as illustrated by the feedback received:

·       “Sheddie” exhibitor Julie Nolan said, “What a great day ... hanging out with Carla, Suzi and Kea telling people about sculpting and how therapeutic and fulfilling it is. Thanks Rotary for an awesome event.”
·       Guest Julie Smart said, “A fantastic day thank you.  We had so much fun and a lot of laughs. Loved the hospitality, the friendly Rotary welcome and the privilege of seeing some of the talents in the various sheds and some gorgeous gardens. Thank you.”
·       President Elect Heather Browning commented, “There are so many positive things that happened. Friends getting together for a day of fun to head out on a mystery tour to see what girls do in their sheds, Takaro Rotarians working so well together to ensure the day was a success, and our wonderful "Sheddies" volunteering their time and their sheds to make this day the awesome experience it was for everyone. But the best thing about the Girls’ Sheds Tour was that we achieved what we set out to do. Together we have raised more than $7000 for youth projects in Takaro! Thank you everyone for your support and participation.”
To conclude this project, Rotary invited all of the “Sheddies” to a club night and presented each of them with a framed thank you certificate from Takaro Rotary. 

Rotaract New Zealand Roundtrip

Left to Right: Alina Kochling, Moez Yahia Bacha, Ozmara Santoyo, Aritra Ray, Yanet Rodriguez, Gabby Brand, Chiew Ee Kwong, Artem Axenov and Katharina Storck beside the Desert Road in National Park with Mt Ruapehu in the background
One year ago, a group of Rotaractors from New Zealand decided to make history.  We were going to host the first ever Rotaract New Zealand Roundtrip!
Now, this may sound like Greek to most people, so we'll give a brief explanation. A Roundtrip is a trip organised by Rotaractors of a host country for international Rotaractors. The focus of these trips is to foster global Rotaract ties, do community service and provide an authentic experience of the host country while facilitating international friendships.
After more than a year of planning and preparation, including hours of gruelling Skype meetings, on December 4, 2015, New Zealand Rotaract was ready to go! Our Rotaract delegates from Mexico, Malaysia, Germany, France and Australia arrived in Auckland, and we all embarked on a whirlwind journey through both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
We spent the next 16 days travelling along 3,000 km of scenic New Zealand roads, creating unforgettable memories, making lifelong friends, and at the end of it forming our own international Rotaract family. Over the course of the trip, we stayed in 10 cities*, did community projects in Wellington and Dunedin, and met dozens of amazing Rotarians. If we said the going was all easy, we would be lying, but that’s what kept it interesting!
Before anyone saw it coming, the trip was coming to a close. It was an emotional day for everyone when our little Rotaract family had to go our separate ways from Nelson. The past 16 days had kept us so busy in the present that no one had realised it would have to end at some point, and that we would have to say goodbye.  Thus with tears in our eyes, we boarded our flights to Auckland and Wellington to begin the journey home.
We went home with unforgettable memories, thousands of photographs, and lifelong friendships and connections - the true impact of which will resonate throughout all our individual Rotaract circles.
Rotaract New Zealand is ecstatic with the result of the inaugural Roundtrip, and we have already started planning our next one, tentatively for early 2017.  For further details, contact Artem Axenov via or +64 204 003 0372. 
So what are you waiting for? Come, jump into the Rotaract-wagon …
·       Footnote:  The Rotaract NZ Roundtrip included Auckland, Tauranga, Taupo, Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Greymouth and Nelson.  

Words: Aritra Ray and Artem Axenov, Past District Rotaract Representatives, Districts 9920 and 9940 respectively  

10th Taveuni Eye Project in Fiji: What goes on behind the scenes

Nurse Vicky checking the eye of a patient - Photo: Jan Malden, Inner Wheel Boronia
“The timing of the 10th Taveuni Eye Project in October 2015 could not have been more perfect for patients.  All patients have returned to their homes, families and friends and were able to participate in the Christmas and New Year celebrations. For many it was the first for a long time, so consequently very special,” said Project Lead, Rotary Club of Taveuni Island President Geoffrey Amos.
“In the developing world, every blind poor person has a family member who is chosen to be his or her caretaker. Frequently it is a child who becomes the “seeing eye child” for the blind person. Neither can attend school, work, or provide for the family, prolonging the cycle of poverty,“ commented Head Surgeon Doctor Jeff Rutgard.
Over the last ten years, the Taveuni Rotary Club has come to the aid of the visually impaired throughout Fiji by reaching out to them, giving 2500 of them a second chance, a chance to see for the first time for children born with cataracts and for adults to see again after being blind for years.
Worldwide support for the Taveuni Eye Project has made all this possible.  What a marvelous gift for the patients and their families. Without the wonderful team of supporters and volunteers, the largest totally free Cataract Surgery Program would not take place.
Support comes in many ways; some give their skill and time, some people provide vital funding, and others contribute food, accommodation and transport. This successful project grows year by year.  Last year 33 volunteers from Fiji, New Zealand, USA and Australia were involved for two weeks. Each year the project raises $FJ150,000 to provide this vital service to people in rural and remote communities, and each year it gets harder to fund the project.
The project has both local and overseas donors. Local Taveuni Island donors grow one ton each of dalo and cassava, others supply vudi, pineapple, bananas, pawpaw and meat.
In this unique project, the patients pays nothing, irrespective of where they live. The project pays all transport, accommodation, meals, surgery and post-operative medication for door to door via the Taveuni Island Hospital. In its 10th year, the project team returned full vision to 339 eyes for 255 patients including 4 children. All patients returned to their homes with renewed vigor for life as full working members of their community, with the children now able to go to school.
Once the yearly fundraising is complete and everything is planned, the volunteers all arrive and commence the numerous tasks required to take care of the patients.
The Logistics Team arrange the travel for patients coming from all over Fiji, coordinating passenger services (including ships, buses, ferries, hire vehicles and donated local vehicles), the number of patients arriving and departing daily, planning surgery numbers, liaising with Patient Services for beds and food, attending to the Theatre Team’s requirements. They are the first to arrive at the hospital in the morning and last to leave at the end of the day. Past President Michael Prasad has done this role for all of the last ten years.
Over the same time period, Rotarian Joey Korovata has managed the Patient Services Team. They produce all the meals (totaling approximately 2500 over the two weeks), wash thousands of sheets, pillow cases and towels, and of course make the beds and care for patients.
The Medical Team carry out the medical procedures and supply the very best of care for the patients. With 35 operations per day, sometimes three at once, plus the pre-screening and post-operative care, their days are full from 6.30am to 6.00pm.
The total team compassion and dedication to the blind disadvantaged throughout Fiji, supported by the Taveuni Rotary Club and Rotary Clubs in New Zealand, Australia, and the US, along with SEE International and the Hawaiian Eye Foundation have made it possible for over 2,500 Fijian children and adults to have received the gift of sight.
“I witnessed patients who had travelled for over 36 hours who were so happy to be there and so appreciative of the work that this incredible group of people accomplish. These patients who are transported, accommodated and fed while having their sight restored, all provided by Rotary Foundation Global Grant, donations of money, voluntary time and the gift of love.  It is a truly an amazing humanitarian project,” concluded District 9920 Governor Jennie Herring.
Planning and fundraising has already commenced for the 11th Annual Taveuni Eye Project.  To find out more, go to the Rotary Club of Taveuni Island’s website or contact Geoffrey Amos directly via

Words: Past President Peter Malden, of the Rotary Club of Boronia, Vic (a sister club to Rotary Club of Taveuni Island, Fiji)