At our meeting on 26 September District Govenor Mitchell Brown outlined the challenges facing Rotary, together with some potential solutions.
After a greeting in Te Reo, Mitch introduced Taupiripiri, a carved talking stick owned by the New Plymouth West Rotary group. Carved by a master carver the stick comprises several sections. At the top there is a bird with it beak shut 'listening'. Other sections represent the creation of the world, our environment and finally an uncarved section representing the future. Mitch also referred to the chains of office and some of the individuals that had worn them.
The most critical challenge facing Rotary is membership. The average age of club membership is increasing. To conteract this we will push the theme 'Go Wild About Rotary'. Further interaction with our communities is key and the Rotofest event will be held in Palmerston North on 11-13 May. This will include the opening of the Wild Based Recovery Centre on the Friday. Social events will feature the Roger Fox Band and food trucks parked around the square.
One of the tools we can use to enhance our membership is the increased use of technology. In particular the use of ClubRunner and My Rotary ( are encouraged. These will help to quantify activity and provide the data that will enable us to plan future activities.
Success in membership will enable us to support our causes. Mitch reported that the number of polio cases was down to 10 from 37 the year before. The hot spots of Afganistan, Nigeria and Pakistan are disrupted by war which makes the final eradication difficult. Once there are no cases, another 3 years must pass before the disease is declared extinct. For this another $50m is required, to be matched by $100m from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Closer to home we want to support our local causes and the Mobile Medical Health Clinic in the Cook Islands. Many other worthy projects are in the offing from tree planting to conflict resolution centres.
Finally Mitch stressed the need to make investments today in order to achieve payoffs tomorrow. He illustrated this by referring to assistance he had received from Rotary which had allowed him to give back to the community through his role in Fire And Emergency Management NZ.