While Gordon McInally has seen more of the world than his home country of Scotland during his reign as the international president of Rotary, he and his wife Heather have particularly loved their time ‘down under’. “Following our tour through Singapore and Australia, it made complete sense to ‘pop in’ to New Zealand on our way home” he laughed. “We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and I am extremely grateful to have been so warmly welcomed, and to have had the pleasure of seeing all the wonderful things Matamata Rotary has achieved.
Personally, as a dog lover and an avid gardener, the Rotary Memorial Grove neighboring the recently completed dog park and Stanley Walkway is a great example of a team of good people coming together to achieve great things.” Albeit a flying visit of just five days, Gordon is the first non-Australasian sitting Rotary International President to visit our shores and, along with Cambridge-based District Governor Bill Robinson and his wife Deb, it was an honour for Matamata Rotarians to host the pair at the official opening of the Matamata Dog Park last Wednesday.
 
“It’s been fantastic to meet Gordon” said President Jane Belton, “especially given that, as our historian Merv King pointed out, the last international president we hosted was Bill Boyd who served during the 2006/2007 Rotary term and was from Auckland. We certainly turned on a beautiful day for Gordon and Heather and, with 1.4 million Rotarians around the world, feel truly honoured they accepted our invitation to be part of such an auspicious occasion.”
 
Following formalities, Matamata Rotarian Peter Vossen was presented with a Paul Harris Fellows Sapphire pin acknowledging his dedication and passion for the dog park project. “If someone had told me that we would have the international president of Rotary attending the official opening, I probably would have laughed and said, yes… and the Loch Ness Monster is alive and well out there in the lake too” he laughed! “This project has been such a great team effort and while I’m thrilled to have been recognised, the acknowledgment must go to our president, Jane, for her tireless efforts in applying for various grants and her fantastic leadership, and the many community-based tradies and locals that helped really get it off the ground.
 
It’s been my pleasure to, as we say at Rotary, come as I am and do what I can!” Particular thanks go to Matamata-Piako District Council, Nick Evans Fencing, The Boltholder, Kya Day Concrete - KD Concrete, Paul Jones Contracting, Doug Hodge Bricklaying, Matamata Timber & Hardware, Matamata Glass & Joinery, Comag Roofing, Colchester Engineering and Guthrie Bowron Matamata