A new Rotary club for Rotorua has been chartered and is gearing up to make a difference in the community. 
It is the first Rotary Club in New Zealand under the ‘Passport’ model of “flexibility, affordability, diversity, and fun”. 
Rotary Club of Rotorua Passport charter president Chris Joseph says a core group of local Rotarians set out about 18 months ago to explore the possibility of offering a club which met all the requirements of Rotary International and would be afforded full membership rights and status like traditional clubs, but embraced the newly allowed and encouraged flexibility.
This flexibility was intended to make Rotary more appealing and accessible to young professionals, millennials and past Rotarians who were otherwise lost, he says.
Chris says they developed the core values for the club and how they would ensure engagement of members and then set about building numbers to the required minimum of twenty to charter a new club. “We have been very successful in attracting our target demographic, getting them on board with our vision and enthusiastically supporting our already significant contribution to Doing Good in the World in various fundraisers and community service initiatives,” Chris says there are three membersintheir20s, five in their 30s and about five in their 40s.
He says getting younger generations on board is the only way Rotary will have a future.
“We need to bring in and engage with young people and make Rotary relevant to them, so Rotary stays relevant and growing because it’s already done so much good,” Chris says a lot of planning and preparation had to go into their Charter event.
They had to lock-in the membership numbers, then meet all the Rotary registration requirements, gain the support of the District Governor of Rotary District 9930 (Central North Island region) to make an application to charter a new Club, then plan the actual Charter Celebration. He says it was a wonderful occasion befitting the significance of mission into Rotary International and adding twenty-one charter members. Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick an honorary member of Rotary attended to witness District Governor Peter Maxwell present the club accreditation on behalf of Rotary International to Chris as Charter President.
President Chris Joseph and District
9930 Governor Peter Maxwell
Later in the evening each of the twenty-one members received their membership Induction Certificates presented by Chris, assisted by District Governor Peter Maxwell and District membership chairman Mike Smith. Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick says the club is going to make it easier for some to give this service. She says it is a more flexible approach and meets the needs of the 21st century. “We’ve noticed every club is reinventing themselves which is fantastic but this is a new approach and was supported by presidents of other clubs there on the night.
She says it is great to see another slice of the community inducted and it is exciting. Service clubs are fantastic and it is important for younger generations to get involved as it is about their futures he says. “The younger input will just give a different lens, diversity adds a broader lens, and every Rotary club has been trying to get that input.”
Reported by Shauni James
with kind permission of the Rotarua Weekender
1143 Hinemoa Street Rotorua, New Zealand