Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tauranga Rotary’s goal is to help Pacific Islanders see

Words: David Garland, Rotary Club of Tauranga, NZ
Photos: Marine Reach

Over many years, the Rotary Club of Tauranga and the people of Tauranga have supported the humanitarian organisation Marine Reach as they take dental, eye health, general medical and community development assistance to the people who live on the small islands of the Pacific.

Because these people do not have ready access to the services that people in New Zealand take for granted, their health and life expectancy is significantly reduced.

Marine Reach has been taking these services to the Pacific for over 25 years using small specially fitted hospital ships.

Their current ship, the MV Pacific Hope, has recently arrived back to its home port Tauranga, after her first voyage of mercy to the Pacific. View the video of her first voyage and about this great organisation by visiting

Two years ago Tauranga Rotary and its sister Rotary clubs in Japan and Australia provided the equipment to furnish the dental clinic aboard Pacific Hope.

Tauranga Rotary, again with the support of its sister clubs and others in New Zealand and international, including a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, have set a goal to now furnish the ophthalmology clinic.

The fundraising project has set a sum of $90,000 as it target.  Already there are commitments of around $75,000 with additional donations being received daily.

Tauranga Rotary, whose motto is “Service Above Self”, invites the people and businesses of Tauranga, New Zealand and overseas to come aboard and join us as we make a difference to the lives of our neighbours in the Pacific.

Donations can be sent by cheque to P O Box 609, Tauranga or via Give a Little using your credit card via    

All donors will receive charitable donation receipts and donors of over $500 will be recognised by an inscription on a panel to be installed in the ophthalmology clinic.

For more information, contact Project Coordinator David Garland on +64 7 543 2012 or

Community partnership brings day of fun

Max getting instructions:
The soon-to-be 5-8 year old final winner, Max receives instructions before the start of the race
What happens when the Whakatāne Menz Shed, Whakatāne Blue Light and the Rotary Club of Whakatāne get together? You get the seriously fun Grass Track Trolley Derby, which was on a sunny February afternoon at a farm in Awakeri, Whakatāne, NZ.
The three community-based groups collaborated to organise and host the trolley derby which saw 59 children and 16 adults ranging from age five to 70 years old scooting down the hillside on trolleys of all shapes and sizes. There were plenty more watching the action and righting spilled trolleys or dusting off their children.
The Menz Shed held two Saturday morning trolley-building workshops for those who didn’t already have a trolley of their own. These were a great opportunity to share and learn skills, and were well attended by enthusiastic children.
The trolley derby was a great family event which was carried out with very little expense, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Whakatāne Rotary and a minimal entry fee. Whakatāne Rotary will be looking to host the event again next year, so get your trolley-building plans in place for next summer!
For more information, please contact Rotary Club of Whakatāne Director of Community Services Janie Storey via

The handmade blanket

Words and photo: Patricia Cooper, Rotary Club of Mount Victoria, in Wellington, NZ
On a warm Wellington Monday morning in New Zealand, I opened a box marked “House 16”.  I was unprepared for what I saw; the item that caught my eye was a hand crochet woollen blanket tied up by a lace ribbon with the word “Welcome” attached to the bow.
It is moments like this that pull at the heart strings and what a wonderful gift for a refugee family settling in Wellington.
I was part of a group of people opening and checking boxes of household items for a refugee family settling in Wellington.  In the boxes being opened and checked were all the items needed to set up a household.
The call went out from the Catholic and Anglican Diocese of Wellington to parishes to please supply enough household items for 25 households.  Also requested were pantry items and housing warming gifts. Among the house warming gifts were TV, microwaves, vacuum cleaners and telephones
The response has been overwhelming, with many more items received than needed. All of these extra items will be stored for the next intake of refugee in a couple of months.
Of course planning for all this started many months ago and it’s not just about the setting up the households; there are work experience, confidence with driving and English lessons to be worked through.
Last year, I invited the Archdeacon of Wellington Father Stephen King to visit our Rotary Club of Mount Victoria to talk to us about how Rotary could help with this enormous project. Father Stephen suggested providing work experience for the refugees would be a great way for Rotarians could help.  Our club has already offered work experience for some refugees. 
If you can help with any of the opportunities mentioned, please contact Archdeacon Stephen King on + 64 272 100 780 or email

Concert by the Lake

The Beatles Tribute band during their second set.
Words and photos: David Hulme, President, Rotary Club of Matamata, NZ
The Rotary Club of Matamata’s second annual Concert by the Lake event is being hailed as a success with organisers now looking for ways to draw an even bigger crowd in 2017.
Almost 300 people attended the concert which was held on the property of Rotarians Peter and Ineke Thissen, in Matamata, New Zealand.
Peter, an engineer, designed and built the pontoon which the artists performed from out on the water in what can only be described as picturesque surroundings.
He dreamed up the concept of a concert on a pontoon at his property several years ago and 2015 saw that dream become a reality as 350 people attended the inaugural event.

This year’s crowd were entertained by Kiwi songstress Jamie McDell, who performed a number of her solo hits before teaming up with her younger sister Tess in a world debut performance of their new collaboration called Dunes.
The McDell sisters were joined on stage by the Tim Armstrong Beatles Tribute Band who literally had the pontoon bouncing as they pounded out the Fab Four’s hits while Tauranga-based jazz/blues band Kokomo provided a melodic accompaniment during their time on the pontoon.
Matamata Rotary event director Lynette Stanley said overall the club was very pleased with the way the concert had gone.  “We have received nothing but positive feedback from concert-goers and we know there were several other huge events nationally that clashed with ours, meaning ticket sales were down on last year,” Lynette said.  “We are confident that next year with the positive publicity that we have achieved, numbers will grow and we will be able to give even more money to worthy causes.”

Proceeds from this year’s concert are being split between two local charities – Pohlen Hospital (the town’s privately operated hospital) and Starfish Social Services (a counselling/mentoring programme for at risk youth in area).

“Both of these charities have a large impact on our community and it is great that we can support them in any way we can,” Lynette said.
Work will begin shortly on getting ready for the 2017 concert with the first priority being signing the acts to perform.

The Dictionary Project Targets Australia

Words:  Past Rotary International President Bill Boyd, Trustee of the Bill and Lorna Boyd Charitable Trust
At the South Pacific Presidents Elect Training Seminar, a friendly Australian asked me why the Dictionary project was so successful in New Zealand, yet does not exist in Australia. In New Zealand, with a population smaller than that of Sydney, since 2008 we have through Rotary given 120,000 dictionaries, mostly to year 4 children in schools in lower socio-economic areas, but also to prisons and every child that goes through the Refugee Resettlement Centre, and these become the personal property of the recipient. This is important, as teachers tell us that some of these children live in homes without one book. An added benefit for Rotary is that when the children write their name, it is on a page that shows the donor Rotary club and a simple Four-Way Test so that every dictionary spreads an awareness of Rotary.
While technology in schools is increasing, you cannot expect a home without a book to have a computer and interestingly we are finding that schools equipping children with tablets through various schemes still ask their Rotary club to continue our dictionary project. Not all, for some are 100% focussed on technology, but many teachers still see the value of the written word.
Our dictionary is not a dull and boring book. It has 10,000 entries and 25,000 definitions and most importantly over 1000 illustrations and colour on every page. The retail price is over $NZ30 and you can calculate the value of Rotary’s gift to our communities.
The project is made possible by the Bill and Lorna Boyd Charitable Trust, funded by Rotarians after Bill’s year as President of Rotary International. The Trust gives us the financial ability to import dictionaries in shipments of 20,000 copies and to pay the publisher as soon as the shipment arrives directly from the printer in Dubai. Rotary clubs then buy the dictionaries from the Trust at $NZ9.50 each which rebuilds the Trust’s funds. You can appreciate that supplying a class of 25 children is within the financial resources of even small clubs and in some areas clubs have the support of local Trusts.
Last year clubs ordered 17% more copies than the year before, so we are far from having saturated the market!
The need if Australians want their own dictionary project is to find a funding source that can provide the seed funds for each shipment. Once this is available it is not difficult to gain the support of Rotarians to run the project and it becomes a magic Rotary moment to be at a school and to have a child put their name in what becomes their own book.

Kapiti’s debate leads change for greater diversity

(L-R): John McBeth, Rotary Club of Wellington President Kerry Prendergast, Rotary Club of Kapiti President Roger Sowry, District 9940 Governor Simon Manning, Louise Nelson, Anna Guenther and Liz Koh who is Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Chair and Rotary Club of Kapiti Immediate Past President (at the podium)
Words and photos: Hannah Delaney, PR Communications Manager, Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce
International Women’s Day on March 8 was widely celebrated in New Zealand, but in case you missed it, pencil Kapiti’s event in your diary for next year.
The “Is it in the Genes?” debate, jointly hosted by The Kapiti Rotary Club and The Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce is likely to be an annual celebration with over 200 attendees at the celebrity event - not only successfully raising awareness of the issue - but also $1000 for Kapiti Youth Support!
Guest speakers included: former Wellington mayor and Rotary Club of Wellington President Kerry Prendergast; CEO & founder of PledgeMe Anna Guenther; Royal NZ Air Force Helicopter Crewman & former Miss Manawatu Louise Nelson; former MP and politician and Rotary Club of Kapiti President Roger Sowry; Rotary District 9940 Governor Simon Manning; and sports commentator John McBeth.
Event MC Wallace Chapman of Radio New Zealand National, set the debate tone that ranged from Simon’s discussion on New Zealand Rotary and the need for greater diversity in an organisation that has been known for the phrase “male, pale and stale”, to the difference between male and female thinking with Louise’s demonstration of her initiative to use a trolley to transport 52kgs of Army equipment - as opposed to carrying it over her shoulder like her male counterparts!
Voicing her corporate experience, Anna ended the debate with impact, in her brilliant point about climbing the corporate ladder, which was met by a round of applause from the audience.  “We also need to be supporting women through the ranks and supporting them as they go up the ladder… and actually, let dudes climb down that ladder if they want to as well. Heck! Let's change the ladder!”
Stories and tales that all concluded one thing: we have come far in society, but there is still a way to go.
For those who missed it, make sure you save the date for next year, because if this year’s event was anything to go by, you won’t want to miss it!

Rotary partners with Rotaract to celebrate women’s achievements

Principal of Riverhills School, Sarah Allen and Brittany Lemi
Words:  Peter Woodcock, of Rotary Club of Pakuranga, NZ
How can a Rotary club capitalise on special ‘International  Day of …’ occasions, provide opportunity for networking, strengthen ties with Rotaract, support a local charity, promote membership as well as give everyone a very entertaining night out?
Rotary Club of Pakuranga’s Community Director Sylvie Wilkinson found the answer. International Women’s Day was the ‘excuse’. Getting Pakuranga Rotaract Club on the organising team, engaging two prominent Auckland women as MC and speaker, inviting local professional women to take part and encouraging fellow members and  partners to join in, provided all the ingredients for a very significant occasion.
The Waipuna Convention Centre in Auckland, New Zealand provided the setting for the special event held on Monday February 29.  About 40% of the 140 participants had no connection with Rotary. With stunning wall  panels and table runners, designed and painted by  local school children brightening up the room, the scene was set for an evening in which the achievements of women, both in New Zealand and overseas were acknowledged and celebrated.
Celebrity chef and radio host, Helen Jackson, provided continuity as MC. She interspersed her duties with heart-warming but also challenging stories related to the Guardian Angels Charitable Trust which she co-founded in 2004.  This trust provides practical assistance to needy families struggling with the care of terminally ill child. Referrals come from Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland. Through sale of the art work,  along with donations delightfully solicited by Rotaractors,  Sylvie presented  the Trust  with a cheque for $3000.
The buzz of conversation during the carefully planned networking spells testified to the value of bringing motivated and successful people together in a fun filled setting. There were substantial prizes for the best dressed ethnic and historical woman, as well as spot prizes personally presented by the various corporate women guests. Business cards collected  for a prize draw (cleverly designed to capture potential members) showed a huge range of occupations and services.
Highlight of the evening was the address by Diane Foreman who gave a very personal account of her life experiences from solo-parent in a receptionist job to CEO of one of New Zealand’s largest companies, the title of NZ Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011, and No. 11 in Forbes’ magazine list of Power Business Women in Asia in 2014. Her story, together with her expressed desire to promote women in business, could not help but make an impact on all present. As one seasoned Rotarian remarked,” That was the best Rotary function  I have attended in all my years in the club”. Yes, with a little imagination, Rotary can capitalise on special days, promoting our local community, Rotaract and our Rotary organisation. 

A mesmerising mouthful

Assistant governor Philip Wilson congratulates a runner up in the best dressed pinnies competition who is hot stuff!  The overall winner was assistant governor Pam Deal.
-        Words and photos: Farida Master, News Editor, Times Newspapers Ltd, of the Rotary Club of Somerville, NZ
She’s hilarious and a selfconfessed nomad at heart. “Most of my travels were triggered either by running away from a man or running towards him,” said the feisty food author Peta Mathias as she brought the house down at the Women in Rotary, Pinnies and Pearls High Tea hosted at Novotel Hotel Ellerslie in Auckland , New Zealand on Sunday March 13.

The culinary tour host spoke about her book Hot Pink Spice Saga: An Indian Culinary Travelogue with Recipes and her romance with cuisines of India, France Vietnam and Morocco.

“If someone invites you and says come home to my mother’s place for dinner, you must say `yes’, even if it is the tuk tuk driver.
“Indians are very hospitable and it should be like a dance of exchange,” she told over 150 women at the Women in Rotary fundraiser as they feasted on their salmon and dill sandwiches, orange and poppy seed cake, macaroons and mini date scones with cream and berry jam.

The event was organised by assistant governor Sue Fairburn with the help of other Rotarians, their partners and Rotary International Youth Exchange students.
“Restaurants are for visitors. If you want to know the culture of a country you must experience its cuisine. “Don’t have continental breakfast at the hotel and act like a tourist,” the culinary queen said. The red-haired food adventurer regaled the audience with a hilarious account of her 11-hour train journey in India, where she spent all her time thinking of how she could kill her friend for suggesting train travel in a second class sleeper coach. Among the guests were Rotary district 9920 governor nominee Malini Raghwan, who travelled from Suva to support the International Women’s Day celebration, as well as Leanne Jaggs, the outspoken past district governor, also master of ceremonies for the gathering. The only three men in pinnies and pearls who were clearly outnumbered and spent all their time sportingly serving the women bubbly and high tea were past district governor Alan Eyes and assistant governors Philip Wilson and Bart Signal.

Sunday, 20 March 2016


When Sue Mees, President of Rotary Browns Bay, visited her family in Guernsey for Christmas, her suitcase and that of her husband Paul (also a member of Rotary Browns Bay), did not contain the usual winter holiday gear.  That’s because Sue had 140 tiny jumpers, many with matching beanies,  to deliver to her friend Dr Susan Wilson of the Tumaini Fund, which provides support to the Kagera district in Nigeria.  

Fortunately, all of Sue and Paul’s winter clothes had been left behind in Guernsey after their last trip.  This was when Sue first met Dr Susan, who told her of the Fish and Chip babies in Africa.  These are the ‘AIDS babies’ who are sent home after birth, wrapped in newspaper.  Women in Guernsey have been knitting baby jumpers for some time, and Sue brought the pattern back to New Zealand with her.  

This project has captured the hearts of the Rotary community and local women from Probus, the 60s Up group, Rotarians and their family members are knitting with enthusiasm.  There are already another 150 jumpers ready to go.  Dr Wilson packs up crates and sends them to Nigeria in containers.  Her charity assists the whole community by providing clean drinking water, medical care and essential supplies.  She visits the country frequently to work amongst the people.

To find out more about this amazing charity, go to

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Walking a vista to remember

Waiuku Rotary Club – Sunset Coast Walk
28th February 2016

A total of 470 visitors took part in Waiuku Rotary’s Sunset Coast Walk this year, some coming from as far away as Waiheke Island. Considering the previous day’s weather forecast for heavy showers, (which thankfully did not eventuate), this was considered an excellent turnout.

The route of the walk encompassed an ever changing vista of the west coast, to the north as far as the eye could see, and to the south with breath-taking views over Karioitahi towards the Waikato River. Many walkers, on their return to base commented that the views this year were the “very best”.

In planning and preparing for the walk a small group of Rotarians were involved in choosing the various routes for the walk which were carefully surveyed to avoid any major hazards. On the day prior to the walk all the base and route tents were thankfully able to be put up in fine weather.

Contrary to forecasts, Sunday morning dawned fine. The first registrations took place around 7.30am, and the morning soon became very busy with many groups of families, sportspeople, friends and individuals setting off armed with maps of the various routes available.

The Waiuku Scouts group manned the free sausage sizzle and drink tent throughout the day, and also very ably helped direct the many cars into the parking spaces. It was good to see the involvement of the young people. Special thanks to Franklin Vets for the use of their Mobile BBQ.

Many participants brought picnic lunches with them and with the lovely shade trees around, it was an ideal time to relax and create a happy atmosphere. The local Coffee Van was available for that very welcome cup of Coffee throughout the day, and they donate a share of their profits to help with our fundraising.

The Club sincerely thanks the owners of the property, John and Andrea Sturgess for their continued support in allowing their farm to be used for this annual fundraiser. The Club also wishes to acknowledge and thank sponsors who continue to support this fund raising project; Waiuku New World, Pukekohe Harcourt’s Real Estate, McConnell Stafford-Bush and NZ Steel. They have over the years been extremely generous in supplying Waiuku Rotary with goods, donations, and loan of tents.

All funds raised will be used for local projects, particularly those supporting the youth of the district.