September Moments : PORTRAIT of a thrillseeker Part 3 on the District Governor rollercoaster : September Moments

30 Sep

4-8 September starts with a visit to Rotary RAROTONGA : off the Air New Zeland Flight and straight into a Board meeting followed by dinner

 followed by Project Vists the next day

Here is a list of projects that Rotary has achieved of recent years

1. Punanga Nui playground – original construction. Refurbished last year. A shade cloth will shortly be erected over the sand pit area.

2. Marae Nui signs refurbisheded 2 years ago

 3. Are Pa Metua – Rotary wives established the day care centre and Rotary have supplied the Mini Bus (2 of)

 4. Creative Centre – was originally built as a Rotary project . Destroyed by a hurricane. After rebuilding and becoming the Creative Centre it has been our Wednesday meeting place for 5 years courtesy of the Creative Centre Trust. We have provided Wheelchair transport vehicles (2 of)

 5. Provided a bus to the aged and handicapped in Aitutaki.

 6. Refurbished and outfitted the Dental clinic in Tupapa

 7. Put together a mens health awareness programme on Rarotonga.

 8. Installed Stainless steel Rubbish tins in the Main Street of Avarua

 9. Provided a porch to the Library in Rarotonga

 10. Provided a data projector to Nukutere College

 11. Provided a Band Saw to the prison for making ukulele for sale by the prisoners

 12. Books to schools

 13. Dictionaries to all Year 9 pupils in Cook Islands schools

 14. Helped form and fund the Road Safety Council.

 15. Provided prizes for Careers Expo (usually a lap top computer – 2 of for the last 2 years.)

 To name a few


John McElhinney, President 2012-2013

 Followed by the official DG club Visit see separate post

 Followed by an opportunity to tell the Rotary Story to Island TV arranged by Computerman PP Mike

9 September Rotary International Youth Exchange Weekend at  Ruapotaka Marae Glen Innes

How are you doing –tena koutou katoa- Sharon and I returned from Rarotonga very early yesterday -there we learnt another phrase Karimanamanta- No problem – that is certainly my observation of the attitude of all RIYE participants

I should start by acknowledging my fellow Rotarians who are here and Chair Graham; also Jim thank you for looking after our Rotary children –

Rotary Youth Exchange offers students ages 15-19 the chance to travel abroad for cultural exchanges of one week to a full academic year. Rotary clubs and districts sponsor and host more than 8,000 Youth Exchange students a year.

you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, and maybe even a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange in more than 80 countries

For our inbound you will learn to say gidday and kia ora, and  we had one in my Newmmarket club who made youse fellas his own  – for our outbound I have heard say that some of you will find out about champagne and caviar.

Let me tell you a story-  it concerns a bunch of young people-  should say young men and women aged from 16 to 19. Enno, Jackob and Sebastian were from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Oriane, Solene and Kirsten from Belgium, France and Canada. Yes our surname is INTERNATIONAL.  May last year, Sharon and I had the privilege to be their chaperone to District Conference in Tahiti. We felt like the lucky older rellies taking the kids for an indulgent week away….they were nearing the end of their exchange- All of them told stories of change and learning  over the year. All had plans for their future. All of them pushed personal boundaries , whether it was eating local Tahitian food which looked different from what they were used to, jumping into blue water with 2m high waves, ably addressing the conference in French and english, or enthusiastically taking part in club visits AND –  all of them considered the time they spent on the Marae weekend a highlight.… all of them  say ROTARY IYE changed their  lives – well- that week  for Sharon and me – that week changed our lives.

This Rotary year our Theme is Peace Through Service- I have been asking Rotarians in our clubs to Work Together on our relationships with each other as we go about doing good in the world –Working Together – Pushing Boundaries – Unleashing Our Potential – Buidling Peace Through Service. I look forward to you doing the same and this weekend will deepen those bonds for you to do so –

Finally, Can you all promise me to update your status on Facebook on this Rotary Event. Thank you.

15 September Rotary DRURY Silver Jubilee, Papillion Cafe Butterfly Creek

 Starting at the Bar, a night of celebration, fellowship, family, friendship, swan-fake, community service


How are you doing –Sharon and I returned from rarotonga last saturday -there we learnt a phrase Karimanamanta- No problem – that is certainly my observation of the attitude of Drury Rotarians.

I listened tonight, and I see the proud legacy of Rotary Drury in the community- locally and internationally. I acknowledge all your charter members who will be formally  recognised by my Newmarket colleague Ross Craig( we are improving as a double act too)  – your PDGs among us- your DGN – your AG – my AGs, and a big hello to all the PARTNERS  of this club- also your extended Rotary family and friends– At this point I am pleased to read out a message  from Pres Tanaka :

To the members of the Rotary Club of Drury,

I am delighted to congratulate the Rotary Club of Drury on the 25th anniversary pf its charter.

Every Rotary club has its own personality and its own character; each one finds its own unique ways to serve. When a community gains a Rotary club, it also gains a heart: a group of caring and committed men and women who come together every week to make that community a better place,

It has been many years since I became a charter member of the Rotary Club of Yashio, Japan. I did not know at the time what a momentous decision that would be. but in the years since, I have always been grateful to those who decided to form a new Rotary club in my town, and invited me to join. Because of them, my life has been richer, happier, and more fulfilling in too many ways to count. And because of them, Yashio has become a better place as well.

I am confident that Drury has benefitted greatly from your club’s service over the last twenty-ive years. I send you my congratulations on reaching this important milestone, and my best wishes for a year of Peace through Service.

Yours in Rotary

Sakuji Tanaka.

SO Twenty-five years ago today, this club began and  took great effort to deliver Service .That was the vision back in 1987 and it obviously still is today. YOU found your “unique way to serve”.You and me, we are all members in a Service organisation.

Today, more than ever, we need more people to make a commitment to a higher standard of Service. After all,our organisation is on the move to change some outmoded  attitudes and some of our traditions, and the way we deliver Service—Drury is not exempt from that.

Too often, these days, when we switch our televisions to the news, or when we browse through the pages of our papers, or our ipads we are greeted with negativity. But this mindset can be and is being changed.

There are truths embodied in your history-our history- that can encourage our Rotarians to participate in the large-scale turnaround of this great family. There are truths that can empower our people to become active agents for change—and inspire them to give rise to their own individual stories. Sharing these Rotary Moments showcases the vibrant tapestry of your club and our international Family .

Adhering to the truth does not always mean seeing what is lacking or what is wrong. In fact, the truth can elevate our opinions of ourselves, of others, and of our organisation; it can restore and strengthen confidence. When we start to see the opportunity in the difficulty  dreams get that much more – closer to becoming tangible realities.

Drury, in a quarter of a century-you have already achieved so much. Imagine how much more You- no WE can achieve when everyone begins to believe in Working Together:

Nothing is impossible Working Together -Pushing Boundaries -Unleashing our Potential -Building Peace through Service.

Thank you and good evening.

15 September post Rotary DRURY Silver Jubilee ( late) : An ERKS ( Emergency Response Kits ) Inspection Otahuhu

 ERKS on the way home – another moment on the DG  rollercoaster

16 September Cluster 3 DG Visit Event – Lunch, Bucklands Beach Yacht Club

 a sunday brunch- the DG Message Working Together in 2012-2013 – a Peace Keynote – more on separate post

17 September Rotary Harbourside  Peace Forum, University of Auckland 

Good evening How are you doing?.

Thank you for coming to this first Rotary D-9920 Community Peace Forum.

I must acknowledge the energy of Pres Shefali from Harbourside for bringing this to fruition- also her fellow Presidents Mark and Murray from Auckland East and Alfriston -many from the Rotary family here in support especially our New generations – Rotaractors – interactors-partners- friends of Rotary…my AG Greg,  and of course clubs attending qualify for Sakuji Tanaka’s Presidential Citation challenge – so congratulations.

I see that I have been allocated 10mins which is far too long as all of you will be keen on getting to the main event tonight.

I can say I am very happy to be  the warm-up act (for the second time in as many days) – to our keynote speaker Professor Kevin Clements who has come all the way from Otago University to be with us.

Our theme for the year is Peace Through Service. Quoting RIP Tanaka

“Our business is Peace. With Rotary’s active presence in more than 200 countries, our organization is a world leader in fostering Peace Through Service. We have accomplished a great deal in this area throughout our history, but we must continue to look forward and recognize that the future of Rotary — indeed,  the future prospects for world peace — rest with today’s youth. To ensure a lasting legacy in this arena, we must engage young people in a meaningful way and empower them to carry Rotary’s peace-building efforts into the future.

In 2012-13, Rotary International will hold three Rotary Global Peace Forums. Each forum will consist of a three-day program to engage and inspire Rotarians and community leaders. The forum in Berlin will emphasize the value of democracy and freedom. The forums in Honolulu and Hiroshima will focus on young people, including New Generations program participants (they will be Rotaractors, Interactors, Youth Exchange students, and RYLArians), as well as Ambassadorial Scholars, Rotary Peace Fellows, alumni, in fact ALL  young Rotarian leaders.”

End of May I was in Tahiti where our AG there Juliette Phillippe a refugee from the  war in Laos told me her story. As part of its efforts during the Vietnam War, the United States began a nine-year bombing campaign in Laos in 1964 that ultimately dropped 260 million cluster bombs on the country — the most heavily bombed country in history. That’s more than 2.5 million tons of munitions — more than what the U.S. dropped in World War II on Germany and Japan combined.

This is Juliettes story- in her words

“I am not going to give an history lesson about war in Laos. I was nearly eleven when war broke out in Laos. We were about to go to school one afternoon when we first heard the bombs.I had two little sisters and two little brothers.My mother told me to take care of my younger brother . I had to keep him safe. Lort, my little brother was three years old.I would give him a piggy back when he was too tired to run .We would hide in underground trenches in the middle of nowhere. We fled war , going from villages to villages, I could see wonderful landscapes. We were full of life and very curious at that age but completely unaware of the dangers of war.A long time after that ,having become an adult , I could recall my mother who was (apparently)never hungry ….but always managed to feed us first.

As an adult , when I go through difficult times, I always think about that war and think that I am lucky to be alive.I must always remember that.

One of my brothers died at 22.He had walked on a mine. My parents found after 10 years of research: One of my sisters was found in Moscow , Russia and one of my brothers in Hungary, and another one in the jungle in Laos.

 I can understand my father’s sadness and my mother’s devotion to make us happy.

Peace must always be within ourselves, in our souls. I still avoid people who are too aggressive or situations such as conflicts.

Peace be with you. I love Peace.”

Three decades after the bombing stopped, two or three Laotians are killed every month and another six or seven are maimed by unexploded ordnance, called UXO, left over from the war.

The presence of unexploded cluster bomblets and other ordnance… limits economic development in Laos, one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Working Together we will work for Peace – accomplish Anything,

Peace, thank you  and be inspired.

 The centrality of “small goodnessess” in the creation of  a community of care

19 September Rotary LAUTOKA Projects Visit, Lautoka, Fiji

First stop – Natabua High School

  Equipping the brass band

Next -Working Together with the Art of Living Foundation Food for Education project

 Food =  healthy and academic outcomes

Next – KOROIPITA “Rota-Homes”

28 years on is a testament to one Rotarian’s vision, Peter Drysdale ROTARY LAUTOKA- a story of passion, persuasiveness and persistence now facing a new future transforming to Model Towns Charitable Trusts to progress the next phase of development. Another Rotary start-up to celebrate

A tour of the village Rota-Homes and ancilary facilities such as kindergarten and plant nursery, followed by a lunch presentation to Rotary Lautoka ofn the D-9920 2011-2012 Significant Achievement Award
Next – School of Catering  Fitout
 Giving Back made easy thro Rotary
Next – evening Cluster 1 NADI-LAUTOKA  District Governor Visit Event, Sitar Restaurant, NADI
Nadi and Lautoka Rotarians enjoyed their club cluster DG Visit Event with an international cast of Family, Friends and Fans.more on separate blog post
 Peace through Service
“if clubs can work together on a party for the DG they can work together on the serious business of Rotary”
20 September Rotary NADI Projects Visit, Nadi, Fiji
First stop – Nadi Subdivisional Hospital
 ongoing supportnew seating, investigate Refurbishment for Health Officer admin
Next stop – Nawaicoba Public School
A hot pink collection of buildings in the midst of cane fields 30 minutes out of Nadi town benefits from ROTARY support from books, to computers to clean water supply – all extending the boundaries of meaningful engagement beyond the school to the local community of surrounding families
21 September – en route to Suva opening a ROTARY PACIFIC WATER project, Dreke Village, Sigatoka Valley
35 minutes off the main road from Sigatoka Town celebrating a Rotary- Corporate partnership as we commit to delivering a higher standard of service
 why we do what we do

 BULA Sharon and I are pleased to be here in Nadroga on such a happy occasion. We were in  rarotonga just over a week ago -there we learnt a phrase Karimanamanta- No problem – that is certainly what I know of Rotary Pacific Water.

I have been on a listening tour and I see the proud legacy of Rotary in the communities we are in –HERE – and all over the world. At this point I am pleased to acknowledge my Rotarian colleagues, AGs Malini and Shaheen, last but not least  PDG Warwick who was one of the co-authors of this awesome Foundation called Rotary Pacific Water.

Five years ago today, following on an idea of two Rotarians, Aslam Khan and Warwick Pleass, RPW was created with the aim of bringing safe drinking water to rural communities in Fiji. These two Rotarians went around the business community in Fiji and managed to secure funding from a number of corporates allowing RPW to implement its first projects.

Building on its experience and recognition in Fiji, RPW eventually secured funding from institutional donors such as NZAID thus widening the scope of activities undertaken.

RPW’s main focus was on water supply making sure that communities had enough safe drinking water.

For sometime now and more so since the new rural water policy in Fiji, RPW is also looking at the sanitation component of water projects. Sanitation requires different skills and different budgets and therefore RPW is walking slowly but surely this new path towards more integrated water projects.

For the accountants among us, Rotary through its various entities –TRF,RNZWCS and individual clubs  – has contributed a  grant total in excess of  US$ date. Our surname is International  and here special mention must be made of the contribution to this project by the Rotary Club of Darwin contributing FJD8, 600.00 with the balance borne by corporate donor funds of RPW (Vodafone Foundation and Fiji Water Foundation).

 I want to finish by telling you a story about water .This is a much repeated story originally told by Past RI Vice President Tom Thorfinnson about his volunteer experience in the Dominican Re- public and Haiti. He traveled repeatedly to these countries, helping to create sources of clean water. One day, one of his fellow Rotarians was talking with a village elder, who shared the most profound observation: “When the well was built, the children stopped dying.”

This one simple sentence makes us understand why clean water is so important. Beyond the facts and figures I outlined earlier, there is a  human face on the issue. the core of the issue:is very simple “When the well was built, the children stopped dying.”

Today, more than ever, Rotary recognises we need more commitment to partnerships such as RPW so a higher standard of Service can be delivered. Isa it is a real pleasure– for this fiji boy to declare this water project in Dreke open for business. VINAKA

Next stop – evening Suva Leadership briefing, Tiko’s Floating Restaurant, Suva waterfront

Lobster red thai curry with the most exquisitely prepared rourou – Fellowship, Fine Food and some wine, Facilitated Sharing Concerns, Ideas, Take-away actions

 Briefing Suva style


Next stop – Suva Rotaract Leadership Briefing, Fiji Club, Suva
 Coffee, Connecting, Clarifying process, Collaborating for 23 february 2013 D-9920 Dance for Peace
Next – evening Clusters 2 and 1 DG Visit Event, Shenanagans, Suva : ROTARY SUVA, SUVA NORTH, SUVA EAST, SUVA PENINSULA SUNSET
A Historic Multi Cluster- Multi Club Governor Visit Event in my old home-town. A ROTARY OPEN DAY with the Rotary Story told  and the DG Message 2012-2013 promoted -followed by recognition of  SUVA Rotarian TAKE INOUE  55 years 100% attendance ( this is some feat even in this new age of “engagement emphasis”) – followed by Tapas Fiji style, some Drinking  and Dancing. more on separate blog post
23 September – sunday brunch with District Committee Chair Fiji Liason Bob Niranjan
 Friendship and Fellowship – Financial and Family relationships spanning 3 generations
Followed by a sobering drive- by of Suva Squatter Settlements
  another view of “our playground in the sun”
24 September – a dawn-break flight from Suva to Taveuni via Nadi – straight into ROTARY TAVEUNI living legend Pres Geoff Amos and  Project Visits Day 1
 Working Together is a by-line for Rotary activity on Taveuni
Next- evening DG Club Visit Event ROTARY TAVEUNI, TovuTovu Resort
A celebration of the INTERNATIONALITY if the Rotary Family – warm fellowship against the jaw-dropping backdrop of completed and future projects planned within its local community – meaningful community engagement and excellent delivery Building Peace through Service.more on separate blog post
25 September : Project Visits Day 2

Sincere thanks from all at and involved with Rotary Club of Taveuni Island for your time, interest and support for this community and for Rotary. Special thanks to Sharon for being so caring and her interaction with those at the schools.

For the record we visited:-

Lavena Preschool & Primary School – Head Teacher – Viliame

Bouma Preschool & Primary School – Head Teacher – Filomina

Vurevure toilet & Grey Water Project – Headman – Tomasi

Wainikeli Preschool – Preschool Teacher – Vitalina

Naselesele Preschool & Primary – Head Teacher – Ole

Niusawa Secondary School – Head Teacher – Timoci

Buca Levu Secondary School – Head Teacher – Satya

Qila Preschool – Preschool Teacher – Tripika

Sth Taveuni Preschool & Secondary – Manager Teacher – Krishna

Vuna Primary & Preschool – Head Teacher – Maika

Taveuni Sub-Divisional Hospital to see donated ambulance

Projects that need financial support

Vurevure – Greywater Project

Ucunivatu Primary School – Toilet Block

Navakawau Primary – Water tank/guttering installation

Bouma Primary – Water Storage System Repair & Upgrade

This excludes larger projects such as the Sth Taveuni Jnr Secondary School, 2 Pre-schools (Rabi & Kioa) Dormitory for Bucalevu, Upgrade Dormitory at Niusawa, also excludes medical projects.

Best wishes and safe travels to you both.

Geoffrey & Joey

Rotary Club of Taveuni Island

 moce ROTARY ISLAND of Fiji
Next Stop – evening Catch-Up with PP Kevi Reddy ROTARY NADI, Hard Rock Cafe, NADI
 Building Peace through Service
27 September – Rotary HOWICK charter night : 51 years old
A club family celebration – a visiting fellow cluster President from PAKURANGA – a DG from the chartering club NEWMARKET – a DG’s focus on the partners on this Club birthday – HOWICK’s floral “3J’s” – a PHF recognition – fellowship – fun – fine food and drink – music to tap or dance to –  a scrumptious birthday cake

How are you doing –Sharon and I returned from Fiji late yesterday -there we learnt another phrase Seqa na Leqa- No problem – that is certainly my observation of the can-do attitude of Howick Rotarians. 

One of the privileges of being DG is I get to go not only on a listening tour around the District but also I get to see the proud legacy of Rotary in our community- Rotary Howick has a prominent legacy locally and internationally. At this point, I acknowledge all your charter members –your PDG Rob, my AG Don, a big HELLO to all the PARTNERS  of this club- also your extended Rotary family and friends who are here  to celebrate –

 SO it is another birthday celebration -51 years ago today, this club began and  took great effort to deliver Service .That was the vision back in 1961 and it obviously still is today. YOU found your unique way to serve.You and me, we are all members in a Service organisation……..

Howick,in 51 years-you have already achieved so much. Imagine how much more You- no WE can achieve when everyone begins to believe in Working Together: Nothing is impossible Working Together -Pushing Boundaries -Unleashing our Potential -Building Peace through Service. Thank you, and good evening.

28 September – first MultiCluster-MultiClub DG Visit Event in Auckland : 8 clubs – cluster 7 HOWICK, PAKURANGA, PENROSE, ST. JOHNS joined by cluster 5 OTAHUHU, PUKEKOHE, TUAKAU, WAIUKU

3 Rotary Stories to connect the dots for the DG Message 2012-2013 Working Togerther on 3 priorities with 2 Peace Emphases- 2 cluster Matching Grant updates ( a preschool project in Fiji and a community playground in Apia) on  DG Working Together Priority 2 – a Rotary Quiz with an exercise interlude – stunning table centrepieces by Dawn Johnson PAKURANGA – an Emergency Response Kits ERKS exhibit – a visit by a DG Event groupie Kelsey Janif from DG ‘s first Rotary Club Suva North – a Joint Conference 2013 – more on separate blog post

29 September  Group Study Exchange D9920-D1260 UK april may 2013 – focus Adult Literacy and Numeracy : Team Leader Interviews

Congratulations to long serving Rotarian and generally one good kiwi bloke Mike Williamson Rotary SOMERVILLE HOWICK, D-9920 Trustee for Peer support Foundation Trust.

“Some fantastic news today-I have been selected to lead a GSE (Group Study Exchange) team to London next April/May. The team of 4 all have vocations based around adult numeracy and literacy. Seven months to go-it seems ages away but I am sure it will fly around.” from Mike’s Facebook posting

 Looking Forward to Sharing your new journey supporting D-9920 Unleashing Our Potential

Phew that only scratched the surface of what Rotary and Rotarians are doing everyday in this greatest of maritime Districts – september that was some rollercoaster ride – thanks




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