Tuesday, 12 May 2015

ANZAC DAY & PAPEETE WWI MEMORIES


In Tahiti, since September 2014, numerous events have paid tribute to WWI, to WWI Papeete bombing (Sept 22nd, 1914) so that generations never forget.

As a tradition since 2007 in Tahiti, Anzac day  has been celebrated because two soldiers from WWI were buried in Tahiti: 

an Australian soldier (Robert William Fuhrstrom) and

a new Zealander soldier  (Corporal Roy John Leslie).

Private Fuhrstrom fought in France where he caught the trench pneumonia; after several stays in hospitals in Scotland, he was sent back to Australia and passed away on board “The Marathon” in Papeete on May 29th, 1918.

Corporal Leslie   survived Gallipoli then was sent to France where he was wounded; on his way back to New Zealand he died on board “The Maheno” on September 5th, 1917.

The French governor in Tahiti offered to bury them in Papeete, promising the graves will be looked after by the locals.

In April, the 100 years of Gallipoli were commemorated  in a very special way.

Beside a very impressive dawn service held on April 25th at Uranie cemetery (Papeete)  by the Australian  honorary consulate in partnership with the New Zealand  honorary consulate and the army, other events for general public and schools were organised from April 20-30th in Papeete.

The Australian honorary consulate and the Rotary club Papeete Tahiti co organized   four events.

-  1- Finding descendants of the two soldiers and  having them come  to Tahiti to attend the commemorations.   After more than 5 years of research, families were found and both soldiers’descendants attended: Anne Crozier, her husband Dave and their 3 children representing Roy Leslie, and Colleen Van Hees and her husband Martin (William Fuhrstrom) The ceremonies were fairly emotional.

- 2-  Organizing an exhibition dedicated to Anzac and our two soldiers. It was held at the Papeete townhall (our partner) from April 20-30th, 2015. This exhibition called “Anzac Day & Papeete,  WW1 Memories”  was supported the Australian government. It related the story of the Australian, New Zealander and French forces on the battlefields during WWI.  It  presented the superb intinerary exhibition  from the Australian consulate based in Noumea. Our two soldiers stories were  honoured and highlighted thanks to the book dedicated to Private Fuhrstrom written by June Johnson, their belongings, medals; the exhibition was enhanced by WWI uniforms, objects, magazines and photos and an impressive data base thanks to (ONAC, private collections…) A video and reading area was proposed to visitors for an Anzac universe immersion.

A great exhibition opening and cocktail for one hundred guests and the media.

- 3- Organizing the Gallipoli  film viewings (from Peter Weir  1981 with Mel Gibson) followed by  debate on April 24 at Liberty cinema in Papeete

One viewing/debate for schools and another film viewing and bilingual debate in the evening for general public. It was followed by a cocktail. The debates were conducted by WW1 historians (JC Shigetomi, Y Babin and C Raybaud).

- 4- The dawn service was held on April 25th  at Uranie cemetery (Papeete)  by the Australian  honorary consulate in partnership with the New Zealand  honorary consulate and the French military. A lot of emotions during  speaches,  pupils choir,  the three national anthems sung by Charles Atger Choir.

The  organisation and the success were based on the strong involvement of the two organizers Virginie Kiou  (Australian Honorary Consul assistant) and Cathy Gourbault-Lawrence  (Rotary Club Papeete-Tahiti), and the total support of Marc Siu (Australian Honorary Consul).

 The presence of Glenda Price, representing the General Consul of Australia, Murray Taylor  Australian federal Police officer and the descendants of our two soldiers gave a special dimension to the 100 th Gallipoli commemorations.

These ambitious projects became reality thanks to partners (ONAC, Papeete Township, New Zealand Honorary Consulate, Pacific Films, Air Tahiti Nui, Avis, Manava suite resort), and thanks to generous sponsors (Michelin, QBE and Rotary).

Without their precious supports, these events would not have been so successful.

The  Anzac day tributes in Tahiti were granted with the official approval by Australia, New Zealand and France to use the international WW1 centenary emblems.

In Tahiti, there was a huge media coverage (2 full pages in Newspaper and some other  small articles in newspaper, (2 radio interviews (Radio 1 and Tiare FM),  (5 reports on TV news (TNTV and Polynésie 1ère). A media saturation for 10 days ! Great for the Rotary image

The 100 Gallipoli year  celebrations in Tahiti honoured the Anzac role which have highly contributed to the close relationships between French Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand.

Anzac day & Papeete WW1 Memories was a great project which  paid a beautiful tribute to Anzac soldiers and honor their sacrifices.   

Lest we forget

Cathy Gourbault-Lawrence

Anzac Day & Papeete 2015 project co organizer Rotary Club Papeete- Tahiti

Sunday, 10 May 2015

You can support a village in Nepal recover in a sustainable way

In 2012 a group of 5 members of the Rotary Club of Port Nicholson Rotary Club (RCPN) joined 3 Rotary club members from the USA on a trek to Chyangba village in the Himalayan foothills.  The trek was led by Pem Sherpa who was born and raised in the village.  Pem and his family now live in the USA and he organises and leads treks from there.

The purpose of our trek in 2012 was to raise funds to rebuild one of the school buildings for the village; US$11,000 was raised and the new building was completed by the villagers.  Rotary also contributed to a water supply feed scheme for the village in the recent past. Pem has a history with Rotary, placing the Rotary flag on the top of Mt Everest in Rotary’s centenary year and also appearing at the international convention in that year. He has also been the instigator and fundraiser for many of the development and improvement projects carried out in the village.

Pem was made a Paul Harris Fellow by RCPN in 2013.

The recent earthquake has caused significant damage to the new school building and other existing ones, as well as the water supply infrastructure.  RCPN has decided to support this village in the aftermath of the earthquake and have been in touch with Pem Sherpa to see what is required. You can view the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYcp3In25AA
 


Pem has initially estimated a cost of possibly US$30,000 - 40,000 to get things back on track, however we will need a little more time to get more detailed information.

In order to support this kind of fundraising we want to apply for a Rotary district grant and also potentially a global grant, which should enable us to more than double whatever money we can pull together. If we can work together as clubs there could be the opportunity to maximise the amounts receivable from RI. We will also ask Pem to nominate a Nepal based Rotary club to connect with as this is a requirement of a global grant.

In our discussions about how best to proceed, we determined that there are a number of other international agencies which are better funded and prepared for an immediate response to disasters like this. By targeting our assistance to the people and children of Chyangba will, we believe, enable us to make a real difference with the funds we can generate.

On behalf of RCPN, we are asking your club to join us and assist in raising this money for the people of Chyangba village. We are hopeful of having a starting fund of $8,000 to be used for the more immediate projects but will look to enlarge that quickly through online giving and donations from clubs such as yours. Donations can be made via our Charitable Trust https://givealittle.co.nz/org/rotaryportnicholson

Thank you for considering this request. We hope you will support this important cause.

Yours in Rotary
Linda Wellington
President Elect

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Balclutha Rotary Clubs Cambodian's experience


In September 2014 five Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Balclutha 9980 flew to Cambodia to work in the slums of Phnom Penh. They worked with thebOne-2-One Charitable Trust www.one2oneworld.org  that provides medical, dental care and schooling to the vulnerable and destitute families in the slum areas.  Money was raised with a $2000 District Grant, The Rotary Club of Balclutha gave $10,000, local Donations and the groups personal givings.

A mixed group of people included David Tait a Dentist, Stuart Holgate a Paramedic, Ngaire Pannett an ICU Nurse and Peter Buxton and Joan Hasler teaching english in the SOS (save our students) drop-in centre schools.  The group lived with sponsored students in Grace House which is owned by the One-2-One Charitable Trust. The dental clinic is part of Grace house and this is where Mr Tait worked along with other dental students. Orphanages and schools from around the city would bring the children including children with HIV for dental work.  Each day Mr Holgate and Ms Pannett would venture into the slums with a Cambodian nurse who had originated from a slum and had been sponsored through schooling and nursing school. She knew all the people living in the slums and those needing medical attention, water or food. Each day they visited the slums they would give out shoes and clothing they had bought at the markets.


The story that stole their hearts was a little boy called Diamond. He had HIV as did his Mother who was being treated. His little brother is free of the disease. The father was in jail. Diamond had been put into the HIV Clinic but he had run home. That little boy clung onto Mr Holgate not wanting him to leave and the mother hugged Ms Pannett in desperation for her little boy. Finally the family were taken into the Clinic and Diamond is doing fine and going to school.  Mr Buxton and Ms Hasler spent time teaching English and interacting at the SOS schools. There is a sponsored teacher who encourages the children to come to their little schools to get into a learning habit so they can go onto the public schools. Books and other school needs were given.


A day was spent out in the country with the One-2-One medical team. They were based in a sponsored Australian Compound where they work with the country people teaching them to stay and work the land, to stop them going to the cities for work, not getting it and ending up living in the slums. The medical team checked the people who came from far and wide for medical help. What surprised the group was the cleanliness of the people and their tiny shacks in amongst all the rubbish, filth and plastic bags that lay around.

Some earned a little money for food and water from recycling cans, plastic bottles and cardboard. These people have nothing but always give a smile and love a hug and are grateful for anything they receive.  This group of Rotarians from Balclutha NZ will cherish the experience forever. They could change very little, but every little bit helps and shows we do care about these impoverished people. “One Smile at a time. One life at a time”; The last three days the group bussed to Siem Reap to visit Ankor Wat. They flew home a very different group of five people.

Vanuatu Fundraising Raffles


On behalf of the Vanuatu men living at 45 South Hostel, a huge thank you to Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters for their generous prize; To Megan Ireland, who designed and printed the tickets – thank you; To Jean Morgan and all the wonderful Cromwell Rotary members who helped sell the tickets - thank you, without your support it would not have been possible; To all the businesses and public who supported us - thank you very much.

Many thanks also to Dave McMillan, Rippon Cherries, for donating a trailer load of firewood. 

We have a group of Vanuatu men in Cromwell who will be working over winter and are going to be sending a container back home so any donated goods are most welcome.

Wendy Sullivan [0274 351363]

Hostel Manager

45 South Management Ltd.

 

Raffle Prize: Helicopter Flight for 2

Raffle Winner: Sheryl Kernahan

Drawn under Police Supervision, 1 May 2015
 
.

Firewood Raffle Winner:  Phil Foster

Friday, 1 May 2015

May 2015: Exciting Rotary stories from around the region

NZ Pacific edition cover
Congratulations to Auckland South Rotary for being the Cover project

This edition contains the first of a new feature being: My Rotary Moment

NZ Pacific Newsletter with links to articles:  Click here to read
Website for on-line magazine:  www.rotarydownunder.org
Email to submit articles:  berylrobinson@rotarydownunder.co.nz   - note submissions will also be added to this blog

International edition cover


My Rotary Moment - the internationality of Rotary

S.M.I.L.E. and the whole Rotary world smiles with you
-by Cathy Gourbault-Lawrence, Rotary Club of Papeete-Tahiti, District 9920
The polio walk: Hugh Lawrence, Cathy Gourbault-Lawrence,
Leanne and Mike Jaggs at the Polio Walk
during the Rotary International Convention 2014 in Sydney, Australia
Prior joining Rotary, when I was 2001 Junior Chamber International (Jaycee) world vice president, S.M.I.L.E. (Sharing Motivation and Involvement through Leadership Experience) was my motto that has now accompanied me for many years.
In my 12 years in Rotary, there have been many special moments that have been times of sharing involvement, passion and emotion, so at the end of the day, we all become stronger and wiser.
Everybody can live Rotary at the local level, but a Rotarian will truly experience the global picture of Rotary when experiencing the international dimension, so think globally and act locally.
Whatever the background, culture, and language we share, let us nourish ourselves with ideas, projects and positive energies through exchanging with Rotarians from other countries. It is like an injection of dynamic energy!
The very special Rotary moments for me, were when I started discovering Rotary outside the boundaries of my Rotary Club of Papeete-Tahiti, talking about projects, taking part in seminars, district conferences and Rotary International conventions.
I am different each time I come back from a district conference, an international meeting or an international convention. You feel so humble and come back to your club richer with special Rotary friends and experiences you will treasure forever.
I am fortunate to be part of Rotary District 9920 (the largest maritime district in the world that includes eight countries and the Rotary e-Club Francophone) which offer so many opportunities close to us.
On a personal level, I am above all lucky to be married to Hugh, who is a former Jaycee and a new Australian Rotarian, to share the internationality of Rotary at his Rotary Club of Seymour, Vic (District 9790).
These special Rotary moments embody the whole dimension of Rotary and enhance my pride of being a Rotarian.

My Rotary Moment - a perspective on Polio


Jennifer Scott administering polio vaccine drops in India
By Jennifer Scott, Rotary Club of Central Blue Mountains, District 9685
 
I was five years old when I first heard the word "polio". I was seeing a doctor because my legs were not straight. Next to me in the waiting room was a boy with callipers. I asked my mother "will I have to wear those?" She said, "no dear, you don't have polio, you are not crippled".
The second time was only a few months later when my sister, brother and I were watching a children's television program. They talked about raising money for crippled children. We decided that we would put on a concert, invite all the neighbourhood children and raise some money. We ended up on television handing over a cheque. Little did we know, that we had handed the cheque to a Rotarian.
Fast forward to 1972. I was president of my Interact club. Our local Rotary club in Castle Hill asked us to act as companions at a weekend camp for the then Northcott School for Crippled Children. I discovered that this was the school that Rotary was raising funds to build when I was five years old.
50 years later, I am still involved with the eradication of polio, as a volunteer in India, placing those two precious drops into the mouth of a five year old child, and as donor to our Rotary Foundation.
Only six months ago, I found a book that talked about the Crippled Children's Society in Australia. I discovered that in 1928 the president of Rotary International asked Rotary clubs around the world to find the crippled children hidden away in shame, many crippled by polio. Rotary clubs were asked to assist with medical care, to help them walk again, and to give them opportunities though education and vocational training.
The great work of Rotary has been woven into my life. I wonder if those Rotarians in 1928 had the vision that India would be declared polio free, and that one day soon, the world will be free of polio.
But it is not over yet! In Australia today we still have 400,000 people suffering from the effects of polio, called post polio syndrome, and in New Zealand an estimated 10,000 people who had polio are still alive.
Bill Gates Snr summed up the work of Rotary when he said, "back when Rotary became involved with polio, most people thought that voluntary organisations were about tackling projects down the street or across town - not across the world. Rotary changed all that. You reminded us that there is no human problem so daunting that it can't be overcome by people."

Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment challenges

The Rotary Club of Papakura, NZ organised the District 9920 Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) which is a residential weekend seminar for 14 to 18 year old students who show potential to become leaders. On the last weekend in March, 85 young people came from many schools throughout Auckland, from the most deprived areas to the most privileged. It was very rewarding to see the way in which they all worked together and the many friendships made.
 
Auckland Rotaractors, six of the district’s inbound International Youth Exchange (IYE) students and two returned IYE students also attended.
 
 
The program was held at Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges that is fully set up with accommodation, cooking, meeting and physical exercise facilities, including YMCA instructors who challenged the participants.
 
The balanced program’s fellowship, seminars and challenging activities filled the weekend and left all who attended with a real sense of achievement.
 
Participants were divided into well mixed teams of male and female, age and race. For example one group had people with backgrounds from Korea, India, Iran, Tonga, Samoa, Argentina, Cook Islands and NZ. There was encouragement for and from each team member.
 
The teams bonded during challenges that ranged from low wire walking to pole climbing (10 metres high) and balancing exercises, followed by a very wet and muddy confidence course where they spent time jumping, sliding and bombing amid much laughter.
 
During seminar time, the attendees were challenged by life experience coach Rhonda Maughan, motivator and Rotarian Jim Hainey, ex-car thief Mark Duffey and former policeman Nick Tuitasi to know and believe in themselves, make wise decisions and guard their reputations. Mark’s special message was that success comes in “cans”, not in “cannots”, and “can’t” is a word that should never be used. 
 
IYE Matt Hitching and Rotaractor Megan Gallagher told the various Rotary activities that were available, including Interact, Youth Exchange and Rotaract. They shared that life is your own choice and it is what you make of it.
 
The organisers were especially grateful to those Rotary clubs who sourced and sponsored students from outside their own club’s area, as this ensured a good mix of attendees and contributed to the great success of the weekend that the attendees will remember for a long time.

My Rotary Moment - Rotary is a Family Affair

By Leanne Jaggs, Rotary Club of Manukau City Sunrise, Auckland, NZ
Peace Dance: Number two has also been brought into the Rotary fold: PDG Leanne, Brayden, Mike and Isabella (Izzy) Jaggs with then DG Ron Seeto at the District 9920 Rock ‘N’ Rotary Peace Dance in 2013 in Auckland, NZ
Rotary is changing and sometimes quicker than we realise. My defining Rotary Moment was having my wonderful District Governor (DG) year group 2009-10 accept that during our training lead up, I would be attending with our newborn son Brayden.
 
The boundaries were pushed when I had to attend the Rotary International Director’s Training Weekend in 2008 when Brayden was only four months old, so I was still breast feeding. The funniest part was I wasn’t the one having to leave the room - it was my husband Mike who had the job of rocking Brayden to sleep. I didn’t miss any of my training, as I was armed with my “hooter hider”. My year group and all of the presenters were amazing. Once they got over the initial shock, and understood this was the way it was going to be, it was like this wasn't unusual.
 
It was the start of an amazing journey. Brayden attended so many meetings, he even got his own Rotary badge. The joke during my official club visits, was that even as a baby, Brayden was 100 per cent attendance, so if he could do it, so can you!
 
It even got embarrassing when I turned up to a meeting without him, as everyone was always asking after him. This was a special part of why my year as DG was the best of my life.
 
The way Rotary embraced our family situation and still does, is why I stay part of this amazing organisation. Don’t get me wrong, it is a constant juggle of family, Rotary and work, especially having two Rotarians in the family now, but with the help of everyone around us, we make it work. Many ask how we do it, and my answer is, “As long as the balls don’t fall down at the same time, we will be ok.”
 
When I put my name forward to become DG, the Nominating Committee were dying to ask if I was thinking of falling pregnant, but they couldn’t do so. My sincere thanks to our District 9920 and also my DG year group for believing that family wouldn’t get in the way, but actually enhance the Rotary spirit.

Greymouth Rotary Summer Street ‘Fare’

Just Jazz performing
(from left): Two Rotarians and a Rotarian’s partner at work:
Onion man Dave McMillan, Gary Hopkinson,
and Tania Stoop’s husband Chris
The Greymouth District Council, in the South Island of NZ, is going through an urban redevelopment programme and it has been engaging with the community through an extensive consultative process.

Several members of the Rotary Club of Greymouth have experienced summer fetes, in Southern France, that bring together visitors and locals with food stalls, music and local fare. Typically a town square is closed off with tables and chairs for the community who can purchase food and drinks from food stalls and enjoy eating whilst listening to local musicians.

Greymouth Rotary partnered with the community and closed off a street in the centre of town on February 15, recruited 12 food stalls and seven art and craft stalls and organised professional musicians to entertain.

This was a community building project rather than a fundraiser and club members used their Rotary networking skills to generate a most successful 'Fare'.

Rotary and Lions combined to run a food stall to promote one of the local food products and thus generated a modest donation to their local Air Rescue Trust. 200 venison burgers and many plates of gourmet sausage tasting samples were sold in just two hours.

Thanks to the support of the community and the registered stall holders, the Rotary Club of Greymouth was able to run the event on a modest budget.
The event was an outstanding success, so it may become a regular feature on the Greymouth calendar.
According to Council's Economic Development Coordinator Erin McGoldrick, “The event was a fantastic, vibrant and community building event. I have had lots of positive feedback and thoroughly enjoyed it myself.”

Rotary’s Perth Ramble delights thousands - dashing to new heights

For the fourth consecutive year, the Rotary Club of Mill Point, WA organised the Perth Ramble, a four-hour Sunday street event described as a cross between an amazing race and a treasure hunt. Thousands of people donned crazy costumes for the Perth Ramble again last October, enjoyed a walk discovering the heritage of Perth and learnt things about the city that many didn’t know existed. Along the way they had loads of fun, made new friends, exercised and raised a lot of money for Rotary charities.
The Balloons team won the Best Dressed Team
in the 2014 Perth Ramble
Last year’s winning team won six return tickets to Barcelona, Spain while a randomly selected team flew to Singapore just for entering.
The Ramble is an iconic annual fundraiser for the Mill Point club which harnesses over 140 volunteers from its members and the public. There is television and radio exposure for the Ramble featuring the Rotary brand to the extent of over $300,000 a year, so everyone wins.
Last year’s event was exceptional in that it utilised the Ramble’s own Smartphone App for competitors to download questions and submit their answers as they proceed to the next question point. Teams are supplied cryptic clues to solve so they can even get the place where they can find a question to answer! At some checkpoints, they have to participate in a fun game – like Jenga or Walk the Tightrope – all good fun for young and old.
With so many young people enjoying the day, it puts Rotary into the minds of potential Rotary members. Even if they don’t join, they are all helping to raise money for charity. So far the Ramble has raised nearly $250,000 in its four years and, all going well, it should be another $100,000 raised in 2015.
Rotarian event manager Mark Horwood believes that the 2015 Perth Ramble will be the best ever, so if you get the chance, book a flight to Perth for the Sunday October 18 event to join with up to 10,000 people for a memorable day out discovering the fun things about Perth that you never knew existed.
Ramble chairman David Rowell believes the Perth Ramble is just stage one of the dream which is to have a Ramble for Rotary in every capital city of the world in 2022! Come over to Perth and learn about the Ramble for your club.
Further information is at www.perthramble.com. Contact Mark Horwood +61 418 921 044 / mark.horwood@captivateonhold.com or David Rowell +61 419 917 480.

Central Blue Mountains Rotary increased membership

Central Blue Mountains Rotary meetup
Membership has been, and probably will remain, a challenge for Rotary clubs throughout the world. However, there is a solution. Tired Rotary clubs can be enlivened and revitalised through the introduction of people of all ages, and of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
 
The Rotary Club of Central Blue Mountains at Wentworth Falls, NSW took on the membership challenge a couple of years ago. A goal was to induct one new member a month over 12 months. Membership went from 22 to 34 members in a year. The club now boasts 38 members, and those newer people all have a task and are enjoying their Rotary experience.
 
How was the membership plan achieved?
 
First, it was necessary to invest in people. Looking after existing members and catering for their needs was most important. There is no point in gaining some only to lose others through lack of communication or dissatisfaction. Also, members had to be willing to accept change.
 
Meetings were streamlined. The sergeant-at-arms was stripped of his fines session, Rotary formalities were eliminated, business at meetings was cut to a minimum, good guest speakers and an á la carte menu were introduced, and one long dining table was used at meetings, helping to break up cliques. Social activities assisted in assimilating the new people, each of whom had a mentor until they became familiar with our organisation.
It was also essential to have a high profile and be extremely active within the community.
 
Successful Rotary information nights were arranged. Invitations were sent to local people who had shown an interest in Rotary and to those who would be suitable Rotarians.
Social media and handheld devices have rewritten the rules, so it was necessary to embrace FaceBook, Twitter and the internet to interact with members and the community. People became connected. The weekly newsletter was expanded as an information source, not just for members, but for Rotarians and interested people across District 9685.
Publicity was increased, with the club being referred to as “Central Blue Mountains” or “CBM Rotary”. Use of the word “club” in publicity was discouraged. A large catering trailer at local events and Sunday markets helped to build an excellent public image through improved vizability.
 
The introduction of new people with their respective skills stimulated the original members, producing a happier, brighter and enthusiastic outcome to weekly meetings and activities.
In other words, Central Blue Mountains, as a group of determined Rotarians became enterprising and proactive in more ways than one.
 
Central Blue Mountains is robust, still growing and it will continue to do so. Its reputation will endure through greater exposure to its local community, Rotary District 9685 and its achievements as a proactive entity of Rotary International.

Trillium to the rescue

(L-R) Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa president Brian Mullan, Sherry Day, past president Sarah Carr and students of Wentworth College, with Dennis Day (at the rear by the mast) aboard Trillium.
After departing Chesapeake Bay, USA and cruising half-way around the world as part of a World ARC sailing rally, Dennis and Sherry Day called into Vanuatu late last year on their 14.8 metre Hallberg-Rassy yacht S/V Trillium. They then sailed to Auckland, NZ and, after a two-month holiday away from sailing, they returned to their yacht.
...Then came the numbing news of death and destruction by Cyclone Pam on Friday March 13 in Vanuatu.
Dennis and Sherry talked with friends in San Diego, USA about how affected they were by the tragedy in Vanuatu and how they wanted to do something to help. Fortunately, one of their friends is a Rotarian, of the Old Mission Rotary Club in San Diego, and he suggested that Dennis and Sherry get in touch with Rotary in Auckland.
Enter the Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa, NZ which provided an immediate and positive response to Dennis and Sherry. Sherry compiled a list of essential clothing, cooking and other survival items that she knew from experience would be needed in Vanuatu. President of Rotary Whangaparaoa Brian Mullan and past-president Sarah Carr immediately set up two separate Facebook appeals and two separate collection points at their respective homes.
Sherry and Dennis were welcomed as special guests to the March 26 Rotary Whangaparaoa meeting, when they again told their story and unfolded their plans to a rapt audience, after which they were presented with a certificate of appreciation by Brian.
Dennis and Sherry also appealed to Wentworth College at Gulf Harbour and had made a presentation to them on the much needed items. The students and staff of the college rose to the challenge too, by initiating a similar collection.
The collections by Rotary Whangaparaoa and Wentworth College were taken by Dennis and Sherry Day, in their yacht Trillium and on a second yacht, owned by friends. They departed Auckland after Easter and meet with 4-6 other yachts at Opua in the Bay of Islands before all headed up to Vanuatu, and distributed the essential relief items in the more remote outer islands.
This is a great example of Rotary providing the practical and effective international links between non-Rotarians with resources and Rotarians with the network and ability to coordinate delivery of much needed relief.
There is a great blog for Trillium at http://sv-trillium.blogspot.co..nz and regular updates will be posted by Sherry Day.
Vanuatu update: Rotary’s allocated islands are Epi Island and the Shepherd Group of five small islands where Rotary will focus on rebuilding hospital aid post buildings and water collection off the roof. If you can assist Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam, please email the District 9910 Chair of Vanuatu Projects PDG Lindsay Ford ford.rotary@optusnet.com.au.

Rotary Youth Exchange is a family affair

Rotary Youth Exchange participants Tracy, Matt, Rob and Mikaela McLean
My name is Tracy McLean (nee Mills) and in 1980, I was lucky to be chosen by the Rotary Club of East Coast Bays, Auckland, NZ (in then District 992, now 9910) where my father Don was a member for over 25 years, as a Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) student, and spent 12 months in Grahamstown, South Africa. I had one of the best years of my life and continue to keep in touch with both Rotarians and friends from that time.
 
I returned in 1981, completed my nursing degree, married Steve and we had three gorgeous children. What I didn’t realise at the time, was the ongoing impact that Rotary, and in particular RYE, would have on my life. Steve, my husband, joined Rotary in Wellington in 1994, and we then moved to Queenstown where he joined the Rotary Club of Queenstown. He has been a Rotarian for 20 years, President, and Assistant Governor of District 9980. He and I served on the District Youth Exchange Committee for 10 years, and have both received Paul Harris Fellow recognition from the Queenstown club.
 
We have hosted six RYE students ourselves, and each of our three children have embarked on a year away as a Rotary Exchange student, all sponsored by the Queenstown club. Our youngest, Mikaela (18 years-old) is currently on exchange in Sweden. Her eldest brother Matt went to Austria in 2004, and Rob followed to Denmark in 2007. I am not sure if there are many families who can boast a parent, and every child having enjoyed the joy of Rotary Youth Exchange. 
 
We took this special photo in January, when all three were at home before Mikaela left for Sweden. I am very pleased my blazer still fits! I even found my return speech in the pocket on very yellowed paper... where did 35 years go ?
 
When I was heading away, NZ students didn't have blazers, but Dad organised mine because of the long around about way I travelled due to airline sanctions with South Africa at the time. It ensured that I was recognized at airports as a Rotary Ambassador under the Youth Exchange programme. It helped me in Frankfurt, Germany on a nine hour stop over, but that is another story! I am fairly sure I was the first NZ student to don a blazer with the silver fern. So the blazer a student wears is a very special momento.
 
Matt is now a successful Journalist for TVNZ based in Auckland, Rob is following his Valuation and Property Management degree working in London, UK and Mikaela hopes to study at Victoria University in Wellington on her return. Sweden is proving a special place for her, and we know what she has in store as the year unfolds. 
 
The ongoing international connection keeps popping up. Rob was hosted in Denmark, and his host brother at the time, Rasmus, happened to have been in NZ the year before, and guess what? He was hosted by the Rotary Club of East Coast Bays which sponsored me some 30 years before. Another story I often tell, is 10 years after I came home from South Africa, my brother was in the UK on his OE and had been invited to play a game of touch rugby. He got chatting to one of the other players in the pub afterwards. It transpired that these two men, talking in a pub in London, in 1990 were my “real brother” and my “host brother”. A New Zealander and a South African who through Rotary Youth Exchange were shown how small our world can be.
 
Rotary changed my life, and I hope that I have given a little back to the organisation that opened my eyes to the world, and to the generosity of Rotarians. Our connection to the youth that pass through this organisation shows the talent and the leadership that comes from this programme. We continue to keep in touch with the students we have hosted, from all parts of the globe. 
 
I encourage Rotarians to keep this programme strong, and continue to host and sponsor students to explore the world through Rotary. I have certainly gained far more than I have given to this programme. Our family has been blessed beyond measure. Thanks Rotary.

Rotary’s Visually Impaired Camp participants overcome challenges

The mud slide obstacle course
The Visually Impaired (VIP) Camp that is held annually at the YMCA’s Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges, near Auckland, NZ is a special project that the Rotary Club of Remuera has developed, organised and successfully run. This year it was held on March 20-22. It has been happening every year for the past twenty or so years, and after another memorable camp, there are no plans to remove it from the calendar.
 
VIP is a three-day live-in camp for about 15 senior-school students who attend Homai College for the Blind, and an equal number of students from three partnering schools (Dilworth, Diocesan School for Girls, and Kings College) who become their buddies for the camp.
 
The aim is encourage the visually impaired students to spend time away from their home and school, to tackle a number of outdoor activities, and to challenge themselves to scale heights they have never dreamt of doing before.
 
All of the students, both sighted and visually impaired, have common goals – to have fun, to enjoy camp life which is not always accessible to the visually impaired, to enjoy the company of other students without their disabilities, to do something they have never done before, and just to hang out with other young people.
 
Camp Adair has young, fully-trained instructors who guide the students to climb up high climbing walls, jump from very high poles, go down mud slides, and kayak. Later, the VIP students sit around the camp fire singing, story-telling and toasting marshmallows with their sighted buddies.
 
Cameraderie around a warm camp fire
Remuera Rotarians from the Public Relations and Networking Committee are the team who organises the camp and they can co-opt others on to the committee. All of the food and meals are arranged by Rotarians, their spouses and partners, as well as the transport, which on the final day is used to take everyone to the hot pools for a BBQ and a dip before being delivered back to school.
 
It is truly magical to see the confidence levels rise in the VIP students, which is shown in many ways, from developing a warm relationship with their buddies to scaling a high wall to being away from their usual secure environment.
 
One buddy, when asked by his school’s organiser on the Monday after camp, “How was your weekend?” replied, “The best weekend of my life!”

Cookarama’s ingredients for success

Cookarama team effort (from left): Christchurch New Horizons Rotarians Cathy Gillespie, Margie Lyons, Kate Russell, Nicky Skinner and Deborah Allan with some of the goodies on sale at Cookarama.
From cookbooks and cake pops to chutneys and crockery, Cookarama had something to tempt even the fussiest appetite.
The first major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Christchurch New Horizons, NZ Cookarama was held on Saturday April 11 at the Blind Foundation in Merivale, Christchurch. What started as an idea to sell pre-loved cookbooks by New Horizons Fundraising Leader, Margie Lyons, grew to encompass everything from home baking and preserves, to fresh produce, garden plants, kitchen appliances and gift baskets.
Cookarama raffle (from left): Selling a variety of raffle tickets
at Cookarama Robyn Johansen and Collean Lee.
Club President Shirley Keith said it was a fantastic event that brought club members together and it was also a great team builder for the young club who raised $1800 in just under five hours.
With just 23 members, Cookarama had all Christchurch New Horizons Rotarians out in force in the weeks leading up to the event visiting local clubs to promote the event, delivering leaflets to 10,000 households in the Christchurch area, making dozens of cheese rolls and sticky date puddings and categorising more than 500 cookbooks.
Marketing & PR Leader, Deborah Allan, said the event was a good learning curve with many hours of behind-the-scenes preparation put in by the five-strong fundraising team and there was a full debrief with all club members in the following weeks to fine tune the event for 2016.
Proceeds from the day were presented to the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind within a fortnight, to assist them in providing practical and emotional support for their Christchurch clients who are either blind or have low vision.
The Rotary Club of Christchurch New Horizons has previously supported the Blind Foundation, with Rotarians helping referees and timekeepers at the Christchurch Goalball competition in 2012 and providing supper and refreshments at the Christchurch Barn Dance in 2013.
Find out more about Christchurch New Horizons Rotary on www.rotarynewhorizons.org.nz or follow them on social media at www.facebook.com/RotaryNewHorizons.

Dancing the night away - Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance in Kiribati


Rotarian Natasha Pinto and her husband Rufus
cut a dash on the dance floor with a lively jive.
The Rotary Club of Bariki in the Republic of Kiribati (located in the Pacific Ocean close to the Equator in District 9920) hosted its first fundraising Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance on February 14. The special event was held at the Fairprice Golden Chinese Restaurant and all 100 tickets were sold.
The MC for the evening was Rotary President Matirita Nabong. Entertainment was provided by the ANZ Kiribati Star Idols (2014), who performed individually and as a group, with songs in English, Kiribati and Hindi. Raffle prizes and items for the silent auction were generously donated by local businesses and individuals.
AG George Fraser with Australian volunteers Cass,
Kate and Rosie
After dinner there was dancing and revellers, including Assistant Governor George Fraser, “conga-ed” their way around the restaurant and outside. Luckily the rain held off for the evening. Everyone enjoyed themselves and several businesses have expressed interest in sponsoring similar events.
Overall the Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance was a great success, raising almost AU$4000 to be shared between the Rotary International Global Eradication of Polio program and Kiribati’s Te Meeria’ (Frangipani) Mental Health Service.
Local businesswoman Susan Barrie (centre)
with two friends in island dress.
Thanks are due to the organisers, Natasha Pinto, Roger Norton, Lynne Hunt and Gillian Duffy, as well as the small army of volunteers who helped put up lights and decorations to create a night to remember. With the success of this first dinner dance, the Rotary Club of Bairiki hopes to make it an annual fixture on the Tarawa social calendar.

Nature walk raises funds for local charities


A family relaxing at the lighthouse after walking 8 kms on Nelson’s Boulder Bank. Only one more km to go!
“Awesome!” and “Thanks for a great day out. It was fascinating to see the Boulder Bank up close for the first time.”

Those were some of the comments posted on the Facebook page of the Rotary Club of Nelson West, NZ after its sixth annual Boulder Bank Challenge. The event involves a 9 km walk along the iconic Boulder Bank, an unusual natural landform that defines Nelson’s harbour.

Nelson West Rotary organises buses to take ticket holders to the starting point. Three hours later, boats bring the walkers back to land from the southern end of the Boulder Bank, at “the Cut” that forms the entrance to Nelson’s port. A boat both ways option is available for those who choose not to walk the distance.
 
To see Nelson from a different perspective, participants can climb up the historic lighthouse on the Boulder Bank – the second one built in New Zealand. They were met there by Craig Terris, of Port Nelson, who told them about the reconditioned light that was recently returned to service. In previous years, speakers have included local Maori historians, a geologist, and a descendant of the longest serving lighthouse keeper.

There are also six historic “baches” (that’s Kiwi for holiday cottages) on the Boulder Bank, accessible only by sea, and some of the owners were on hand to welcome walkers and give them a look inside. One is owned by the son of a charter member of the Rotary Club of Nelson West, and has a club photo from 1966 on the wall of the bach.

Doing good is fun! The currents that formed the
Boulder Bank now bring a steady supply
of flotsam and jetsam. A trailer load
of rubbish was collected this year.
Walkers help protect nesting birds by picking up rubbish during the event, as the currents that brought the boulders from a nearby bluff over the millennia now bring a steady supply of flotsam and jetsam.

Knapps Lawyers, a local law firm with a Rotarian partner, is the gold sponsor for the event. With financial sponsorships and many local businesses that donate goods and services, all costs are covered, so ticket sales go entirely to charity. The primary beneficiary is Coastguard Nelson, a volunteer organisation that is well regarded in a community where boating and fishing is a way of life for many.

“Coastguard was fundraising for a new boat when we started the event in 2010, so we decided to help”, explains Dick Carter, a Nelson West Rotarian who has helped organise the event every year.

 
“We are really grateful for the financial contribution,” says Mark Rumsey, a Coastguard past president who joined Rotary two years ago, “but equally important to us is knowing that a group like Rotary appreciates and supports what we are doing for the community.”

The event has attracted over 200 participants in previous years, but numbers were down this year due to rain in the forecast. Originally scheduled for the previous weekend because of predicted heavy rain that never arrived, the event was rescheduled for Sunday, March 29.

Nelson West Rotarian Jim Sinner, who led the organising team, said they were a bit anxious when it started to rain at 7am, only an hour before the first participants were due to show up. But a quick check of the weather radar confirmed that it was only a passing shower. The sun was out by 8am and it turned into a beautiful morning.

However showers were still lingering around the Nelson ranges, and at 12:45 the team got a call from Coastguard to say that rain was likely within an hour. “We had planned to have everyone off by 2:15 anyway,” said Jim, “because a brisk afternoon sea breeze is pretty common in Nelson. So we just mobilised to get everything packed up and back to land a little more quickly.”

There was no shortage of volunteers from the
Rotary Club of Nelson West, who all chipped in
to keep things running smoothly.
Members of the public were all ashore by 2pm, and by 2:30 the Nelson West team was relaxing and conducting a de-brief, discussing how to make the event even better in 2016.