New Zealandís First Two Clubs
HOME GLOBAL DISTRICTS CLUBS MISSING HISTORIES PAUL HARRIS PEACE
PRESIDENTS CONVENTIONS POST YOUR HISTORY WOMEN FOUNDATION COMMENTS PHILOSOPHY
LEGAL ISSUES CLUB PRESIDENTS DISTRICT GOVERNORS TRUSTEES DIRECTORS 1ST PRESIDENT TIMELINE
EARLY HISTORY RGHF VOICES FAMOUS WOMEN ROTARY ANN JEAN THOMSON INNER WHEEL SUBSCRIPTIONS
SEARCH

New Zealandís First Two Clubs
 2007/ Board, Secretary 07/13, New Zealand History
Norman R. Winterbottom "1905 Society" 2010
Sir George Fowlds a prominent Auckland businessman, university college president and former Minister of Education travelled to the United States in 1920 where he attended a number of Rotary clubs. Impressed by the organisation, he wrote to the International Association of Rotary Clubs for information. On his return to New Zealand in December, and having been requested to forward a survey to Chicago, he set about interesting others in the formation of a club. The Association vice-president Crawford McCullough of Canada arranged for two commissioners to travel to Australia and New Zealand to establish clubs.

Special Commissioners, Canadians Jim Davidson of the Calgary Club and Lieut. Col. J Layton Ralston of the Halifax Club were in Auckland on their way to charter the Melbourne and Sydney clubs in Australia and on 4 April 1921 met with a number of prominent citizens for luncheon at the Pacific Club organised by Sir George Fowlds. Fowlds, Charles Rhodes, William B. Leyland, Robert Laidlaw, H T Merritt and Professor J. Segar formed an investigating committee at that meeting. While Davidson and Ralston were in Australia, Fowlds forwarded a report to the International Association of Rotary Clubs, a series of cables were exchanged and charters, signed by Association President Estes Snedecor and General Secretary Chesley Perry, for clubs and both dated 1 May 1921 were prepared and sent to the Commissioners. At some point a decision was made to form the Wellington club first as its charter was given the number of 950 and Auckland 951.

On their return to New Zealand, Ralston sailed for Wellington about May 17 and on arrival met with Charles C. Odlin, and others, including A.F. Roberts, D.A. Ewen, E. W. Hunt, H. Amos, M. Myers, J. B. McEwen, W.H. Morton and W. D. Stewart, to whom he had a letters of introduction. Odlin had been a guest of the Vancouver and Seattle clubs and spoke glowingly of his impressions of Rotary. On May 27 about a dozen met for lunch at the Midland Hotel and an organising committee of Ewen, Odlin, Stewart, Hunt, Lawrence and Longuet formed the organising committee.

The inaugural luncheon of the 33 charter members of the Wellington club was held at the YMCA on June 7 with A. F. Roberts, president, Charles Odlin, vice Ėpresident, J. W. Carr, secretary, E. W. Hunt, treasurer and C. A. Lawrence, sergeant at arms.. .

Davidson sailed for Auckland nine days later, where he held two meetings the day after his arrival. Invitations to a luncheon at the Pacific Club on 2 June, 1921 were sent to a number of citizens and as many as possible were interviewed beforehand. That meeting formed an organising committee of Fowlds, Rhodes, Laidlaw, Macky, Leyland, Segar H P Richmond, V. J. Larner and H. Horton.. While Davidson took a brief holiday at the thermal resort town of Rotorua, prospective members were being interviewed and on his return to Auckland for the first meeting on June 13, held at Priorís restaurant, in the Strand Arcade, there were 52 charter members with Sir George Fowlds as president, Charles Rhodes, vice president, Harry T Merritt, secretary and V.J. Larner, treasurer.

At the time, both new Zealand clubs were un-districted and Sir George Fowlds was designated Special Commissioner for New Zealand, a position he was to fill with great success.

Prepared by RGHF New Zealand Historian Norm Winterbottom

New Zealand Rotary Global 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


Go to All RGHF Menus


RGHF members, who have been invited to this page, may register

RGHF members, who have been invited to this page, may register
If a DGE/N/D joins prior to their year, they will have more exposure to Rotary's Global History by their service year.
This will be beneficial to all concerned.
*Based on paid members, subscribers, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, mobile app users, History Library users, web pages, and articles about Rotary's Global History

RGHF Home | Disclaimer | Privacy | Usage Agreement | RGHF on Facebook | Subscribe | Join RGHF |