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2007/ Board, Secretary 07/13,
New Zealand History
Norman R. Winterbottom "1905 Society" 2010
As Rotary in New Zealand continued to prosper in the post World War
II years it again became necessary to reform the two North Island
Districts. District 292 had grown to 69 clubs in the northern half of
the North Island and in Pacific Island nations and District 294 covering
the lower half of the North Island had 59 clubs. In his book “Rotary in
the Seventies” the late PDG Bert Dreaver describes how “Governors and
other District officers normally travel by roads which climb over some
lofty mountain ranges as well as a massive plateau and they found that
the tortuous routes between Waipawa/Waipukurau in the south and Huntly
and Thames in the north represented not only a gap of miles, but a
canyon separating community interests.” In 1967/68, District Governors
Jack Porter of Bistrict 292 and Win Bassett of District 294 proposed the
establishment of a new District. Because of the topography of the
country and the overseas travel required, it was increasingly difficult
for District Governors to fulfill their duties to RI and the clubs.
With effect from 1 July 1970, a new District designated 293 was created. The new District, occupied the area of the central North Island from Huntly and Thames in the north to Te Kuiti and Waipukurau in the south, thus absorbing portions of Districts 292 and 294. The new District 293 under Governor Ian Drabble (Te Puke club) had 43 clubs and 2,416 Rotarians., while District 292 under Governor Peter Rigg of Orewa comprised 43 clubs and 2,490 Rotarians. Peter Rigg then aged 39 is the youngest District Governor to hold the office in New Zealand. District 294 under A. Irvine of Wellington South comprised 44 clubs with 2,439 Rotarians.
The clubs in the new District comprised those in the four provincial cities of Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Napier, with the remainder being sited in smaller rural communities separated by some distance and in topographically varied countryside ranging from plains to mountainous. In the early days of the District, roads were not easy to navigate and at least five District Governors wrecked their motor vehicles while carrying out their official duties.
In July, a national conference of 125 Interactors was held at Hamilton and a further week-end gathering took place in October at Napier. In August, 1970, Rotaractors
from District 293 attended a national conference at the University of Auckland. Both Interact and Rotaract in New Zealand have suffered severe declines over recent decades and few clubs now exist although efforts are being made to re-establish Rotaract.
In August-September, 1970, members of the Whakatane West club organised a party of 30 to travel to Taveuni and Vanua Levi Islands in the Fiji Group to carry out educational aid projects.
The first District 293 District Conference was held early in 1971 at Tauranga attended by 379 Rotarians and the first conference awards were made, and Nick Carter of the Mt Maunganui club made a donation of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, being the first New Zealand Rotarian to do so.
1971: The District Governor elect was Eric E. Wiig (Napier West) who died before assuming office and on 3 July, 1971, Ian Drabble received the following cablegram from the new RI President Ernst G Breitholtz:-
DEEPLY REGRET LOSS OF ERIC WIIG STOP WOULD BE GRATEFUL IF YOU WOULD AGREE TO SERVE AS ACTING GOVERNOR PENDING BOARD SELECTION OF DISTRICT GOVERNOR STOP IT WOULD MEAN MUCH TO ROTARY INTERNATIONAL AND YOUR DISTRICT IF YOU WOULD SERVE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR IF ELECTED BY BOARD STOP AWAIT YOUR FAVOURABLE CABLE REPLY
Thus, Drabble served for two consecutive years as District Governor.
This Rotary year all four Districts held a combined conference at the thermal resort of Rotorua in District 293. To commemorate the Jubilee of the establishment of Rotary in New Zealand the District established the South Pacific Trust with a target of $50,000, an amount of $2,000 was contributed towards a Hall of Residence at Waikato University and $5,000 was contributed towards building a coolroom-freezer on the Pacific Island of Tonga. A new club was chartered at Fairfield, a suburb of the provincial city of Hamilton.
Under the leadership of DG Brian Bradshaw (Putaruru) in 1972-73, $5.000 from the Jubilee Trust was provided to clubs to carry out a variety of projects, and in excess of $92,000 in money, materials and labour distributed in aid to Pacific island nations.
In 1973, the District under DG Bill De Costa (Gisborne) saw the establishment of three new Rotaract clubs in Hamilton North, Cambridge and Central Hawkes Bay.
DG Graeme Lee (Paeroa) in 1974 was the second governor to be drawn from the Paeroa club, the first being John Craig in 1959-60.. Enthusiastic and an excellent communicator, he established a newspaper “RENEWS and during the year, six copies were distributed to all clubs for every member. Graeme also set up a District Public Relations Committee and a District Publicity Committee. During his year two additional clubs were in the process of formation at Taupo Moana and Kihikihi, although the latter was not chartered until the following year, and he actively promoted the revival of the ROVE (Rotary Overseas Vocational Exchange) programme which had been initiated by Hilmar Moen of the Whakatane club in 1953 under the name of Rotary Youth Exchange. This programme provided work experience for one year in an overseas country. The District conference discussed and approved a number of remits, including one that endorsed the per capitation levy of $1.00 per member for District Conference administration.
In 1975, DG Bert Holmes published for the first time, the name of the District Rotaract chairman in his District Directory. All clubs in the Tauranga area, from Katikati in the north to Te Puke in the south were involved in organising his District Conference at Tauranga.
In 1977-78 a further combined conference was held in Rotorua with District 292. The Tauranga club initiated a “Pride in Workmanship” project and plaques were for the project were presented to the then prime minister, Sir Robert Muldoon and the Minister of Labour. A 19 year old German Youth Exchange student hosted by the Rotorua West club defied the rules concerning serious “dating” and maintaining a friendship with a German youth who had followed her to New Zealand. District Governor Neville Dyer, the host club and the girl’s parents all determined that she should return to her homeland but she refused. The girl’s permit to reside in New Zealand was withdrawn and she was returned to Germany. The matter received much publicity in the media and was taken up by the government’s Race Relations Conciliator, mostly arguing that Rotary’s attitude was outdated and too restrictive of modern youth. District Governor Neville declined to become involved in the media frenzy that ensued over the matter and this decision proved to be a wise one. The District received many more applications from young people wishing to participate in the Exchange, as parents approved of Rotary’s discipline.
Because of their rural nature, the Clubs tend to have small memberships and devote most of their Service activities to providing amenities within their own communities, with some outstanding achievements. They have sponsored Probus clubs where retired and semi-retired professional and business people can meet once monthly for Fellowship. These meetings broadly follow the lines of Rotary clubs but have no Sergeant-at-Arms and do not engage in fund-raising. The clubs in the District have always been ready to provide aid to disaster areas, whether they be in New Zealand or overseas. When the disastrous Cyclone Bola devastated the District’s Gisborne, Napier East Cape areas in 1988, $50,000 was raised for relief purposes. The District has provided funds for flood relief in the country’s Northland area, its own Thames region and farming communities in the South Island, suffering the effects of snowstorms.. Overseas aid has been provided to Pacific Island nations with the provision of water tanks to Tonga, medicines to Fiji, the refurbishment of a retirement home in Western Samoa, and various forms of aid in Africa, India and Papua-New Guinea. Assistance was provided by the Waihi club in hosting an Ethiopian agricultural scientist for six weeks’ study, and aid has been given to refugees from war-torn Croatia and Bosnia-Hertzogovina.
In 1986, the Rotary Club of Paeroa erected a building in the main street of the town’s commercial area. This was leased out and the proceeds put towards funding club projects.
The District is firmly committed to Youth and has actively supported International Youth Exchange. New Zealand is a multicultural nation in which the two predominant races, Maori, the indigenous people, and Europeans generally live in harmony, despite some lingering disputes resulting from land confiscations during the Land Wars of 1863-65. Both races fought alongside each other in two World Wars and recognise the courage of each in those conflicts. As a nation, New Zealand is passionate about its national winter sport of Rugby football, with intense rivalry towards the equal passion displayed by South Africans. In 1973, the nation was divided when the government of the day prohibited a proposed tour by the national team to South Africa in opposition to the Vorster government’s policy of apartheid. In 1981, a different government declined to prohibit a tour to New Zealand by the South Africans, saying that politics should not be related to sport and this decision completely divided the country. The match in Hamilton was called off by the police as protesters invaded the playing field and during the final game of the tour, in Auckland, the players were attacked with flour bombs from a low-flying light aircraft. It was in this environment that a young South African student, Nicole Oscher was hosted by the Rotary Club of Rotorua West. Although she was readily accepted without any opposition by the students, both Maori and European, at the school she attended, she became the national target of the print and electronic news media, members of parliament, the government-appointed Race Relations Conciliator, trades unions and the protest movement generally. Members of the Rotorua West club were picketed, abused and threatened as they attended their weekly club meetings. Miss Oscher, the club and the District Governor, Ian Johnson, all stood firm against this, insisting that world peace and understanding among the peoples of the world were more important than politics. It is to the lasting credit of Miss Oscher that she comported herself with such dignity and courage throughout a very difficult time.
The District participates in a wide range of programmes including Group Study Exchange, Ambassadorial Scholars, RYLA, Rotaract and Peer Support for school students. .It has consistently nominated students to attend the annual Rotary International Science & Technology Forum in Auckland, and concerned that the limited number of places available at the Forum prevented participation by many eligible students, PDGs Tom Ryan and Peter Parr, in association with the University of Waikato, established the Waikato Science Summer School in 1993.. .
Public Health has always been a concern of the District. It has supported Polio Plus from its inception and the Child Health research Foundation, established in 1971-72 by District 9920. $75,000 has been raised for Child Cancer and support for Cure Kids, for research into childhood diseases.. In 1999, the 15 members of the Turangi club, with support of $7,600 from RI and the Rushville, Indiana club (D-6560) initiated the hearing and vision testing of all high school students and twenty young people were provided with corrective glasses. .In 1997 DG Ron Horsley launched the Spinal Cord Cure Appeal for $100,000 in support of the Spinal Cord Society of New Zealand. The money raised enabled Dr Deborah Stuart to travel and work with Dr Jean Peducci and her research team at the University of Alabama investigating stem cell research and the cure of paralysis caused by spinal cord damage. Dr Stuart returned to New Zealand and now heads a research unit at the University of Otago Medical School. The District is actively engaged in a number of programmes including drug awareness programmes directed at young people,
In1999, the Putaruru club of 17 members inducted Yvonne Sycamore as the District’s first woman club president. Some 19 years earlier, she had been the first recipient of the Putaruru High School Young Achievers Award, initiated by the club, which also established the Putaruru Rotary Education Trust In 2003 Trish O’Reilly of the Huntly club became the District’s first woman District Governor.
The District is an active supporter and participant in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, Trees for Survival, and the clubs assist many local cultural, environmental and health initiatives.
1970-71 I J Drabble Hamilton
1971-72 I J Drabble replacing E Wiig – Napier – who died before taking office
1972-73 B D Bradshaw Putaruru
1973-74 A H de Costa Gisborne
1974-75 G Lee Paeroa
1975-76 S H Holmes Mt Maunganui
1976-77 J R Nicholls Gisborne
1977-78 L Patmore Stortford Lodge
1978-79 G N Dyer Tokoroa
1979-80 N C Lockyer Kawerau
1980-81 G E Button Paeroa
1981-82 N R White Otumoetai
1982-83 J D Dunlop Ahuriri
1983-84 J R Webb Hamilton
1984-85 J H Marshall Napier
1985-86 I R Johnson Te Puke
1986-87 B D Burmester Tokoroa
1987-88 C A Wolley Rotorua West
1988-89 T W Ryan Otumoetai
1989-90 R J Ross Tokoroa
1990-01 J E K Judd Stortford Lodge
1991-92 D C Price Rotorua North
1992-93 R P G Parr Cambridge
1993-94 A E Cooper Te Aroha
1994-95 K L Hayman Otumoetai
1995-96 E H Mason Putaruru
1996-97 G B Kay Waikato Sunrise
1997-98 R Morgan Tauranga Te Papa
1998-99 R Horsley Taupo
1999-2000 F Cumming Rotorua
2000-01 D Bull Whakatane
2001-02 G Brazier Te Rapa
2002-03 I Holyoake Napier West
2003-04 T O’Reilly Huntly
2004-05 B Scott Rotorua
2005-06 B Revell Thames
2006-07 R Finn Rotorua North
2007-08 I Tarbutt Cambridge
New Clubs Chartered
1970 Whakatane West
1970 Rotorua Lakes
1970 Te Rapa
1970 Whakatane West
1975 Taupo Moana
1981 Tauranga-Te Papa
1985 Rotorua North
1987 Waikato Sunrise
1997 Tauranga Sunrise
1998 Tauranga Bridge (ceased 2001)
1998 Rotorua Sunrise
1999 Ahuriri Sunrise
Tauranga South, chartered 1960. Charter surrendered 2000
Tauranga Bridge, chareted 1998. Charter surrendered 2001
New Zealand History
The First Two Clubs of New Zealand
History of District 9910
History of District 9930
Rotary Club of Norfolk Island, the First Club of Norfolk Island
The History of Group Study Exchanges
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