District Governor Mark’s presentation was very focussed on the future of Rotary and a number of significant changes that are currently up for discussion. The next six months will be critical for the Club to fully understand the changes proposed. We have the opportunity to provide feedback through our Area Governors and to vote on the changes during the first half of 2022.

Brenda Lazelle reports.

DG Mark reiterated, Rotary as an organisation has never been needed more, but to do more we need to grow – but not in the traditional way. We are all being encouraged to think about how to do things – read everything – differently, and to draw on Paul Harris’ words so relevant today, – this is a changing world and we must be prepared to change with it. 
There are three key initiatives already underway or in development. In summary:
  • The Rotary Club of Mana Tangata: six clubs in our District and thirty plus nationally are too small to meet the membership threshold for the new Incorporated Societies Act going through Parliament now. The solution is chartering a new national Club, the Rotary Club of Mana Tangata (people of action). It will provide the governance, administration and financial management support to small clubs to enable them to meet the requirements of the legislation but still enable them to continue their activities that contribute so much to their communities. Otaki Club is currently piloting this model.  
  • We will have the opportunity to vote on the Australia, New Zealand, Pacific regionalisation initiative and how we wish to be managed in the future. 
  • Re-Districting: The two South Island Districts are merging to become District 9999 by June 2022. The need for four North Island Districts is now being challenged. Should we just be Rotary New Zealand for example? Is this an opportunity to achieve a louder voice and clearer message that is more easily heard? Our input is required by 30 June.
All of the above is based on the premise that while Rotary needs to change, the Club remains at the heart. The powerhouse of action is the Area Governors, and this model, with the removal of the DG role is gaining traction. Clubs are being asked to consider doing a community needs assessment to work out what our community’s needs are and build plans to meet those needs.  
DG Mark also reminded us of the major programmes we have contributed to – and are still doing so: 
  • Polio Plus – over 3 billion children have been vaccinated in the past 3 decades;
  • Rotary Give Every Child a Future – 100k children in 9 pacific countries have been vaccinated over the last 3 years. Importantly, the cold chain that was put in place with UNICEF for this programme is also serving the COVID vaccination programme; 
  • $350k+ of the committed $400k has been raised for the Wellington Children’s Hospital;
  • The Rotary Trees Trust: is a project leveraging government money to plant trees. This year, with our partners, we have planted a quarter of million trees over the length of the country;
  • 1 million masks: Taking Rotary branded facemasks to schools;
  • 1300 cartons of wipes donated to Rotary – 24 packs in a box $25 per box. Funds go to the Children’s Hospital. (See Howard for a carton). 
These projects, and the future of Rotary has youth as our focus, unlocking the potential of future generations. New Zealand youth need us and we just need to provide a platform – a mechanism for them to engage and to do stuff. We have the ability to do that.