tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa.
Welcome to Rotarians, families and friends to the District 9930 Changeover. Thank you all for being here. Indeed we are fortunate to be gathering today face to face.
For Rotary this has been a year like no other. The pandemic has affected how our organisation operates globally including in our part of the world.
The Australia New Zealand conference and Governor-Elect training planned for Alice Springs was held as a virtual event.
As was the International Assembly and more recently the Rotary Convention planned for Taiwan. The increase in lockdown levels in March prevented the South Pacific President Elect Development seminar from going ahead in Christchurch. At very short notice the event was successfully held on Zoom.
Holger Knaack was the first Rotary International President not to sit at his desk in his office in Evanston Chicago. Instead he was confined to working from his  home on the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany. During the year, Holger visited more Rotary Clubs than any of his predecessors using the amazing platform of Zoom. I am convinced that this man was the right person to lead us during these times. In his farewell last week he quoted Jean-Paul Satre “ Perhaps there are more beautiful times- but these are ours”. Holger Knaack isn’t your typical Rotary President, not just because he wears jeans and avoids wearing a tie. Unlike his predecessors, he didn’t rise step by step through the ranks of Rotary offices. Sure he served as Club President and District Governor, but he had held only one Rotary International post, that of training leader before becoming a Rotary International Director. Holger provided us with the theme for 2020-2021 “Rotary Opens Opportunities”. The colours of the three doors represent blue for Rotary, Yellow for Rotaract and Red for Interact. He told us that everything that we do in Rotary opens an opportunity for someone, somewhere.
The Three Doors were the inspiration for my theme for the year: “Let's make it Happen – Create Opportunities to Collaborate Around the World, In Our Communities and in Ourselves”.
Around the world, I am pleased to report that with the support from District 9930 and the Havelock North Rotary Club, the FACES project to produce facial prosthetics for cancer patients in Brazil was approved by The Rotary Foundation in record time.  We are making real progress with Project Nepal to expand the facilities at this leading hospice and palliative care centre. Immediate Past District Governor Peter Maxwell will be undertaking a new role to develop support in the UK for this project. Our District is also supporting Interplast to provide desperately needed surgical care at a hospital in Bhutan.
As I have travelled around the Clubs in our District I have experienced the collaboration in our communities. Just to mention a few examples: the work of Te Awamutu Rotary with the Lake Rotopiko conservation project to establish a National Wetlands Centre. The combined Napier Clubs native tree planting along the foreshore from Bay View to Westshore. Tauranga Rotary Club’s ongoing painting of the buildings at the CCS Centre. Rototuna Rotary’s three-year commitment to Dr Robbie Francis’ Lucy Foundation. Rotary Wairoa’s donation of a Holter monitor to the local hospital. The opening of the Kuirau Park Market by Rotorua North Rotary and 24 years of the Charity Fundraising Cocktail Parties that Hastings Karamu has organised raising millions of dollars to support the Helicopter Ambulance service and more recently the Hawkes Bay Sports Park. These are only some examples of the work our 50 Rotary Clubs have undertaken during the year.
I don’t want to focus too much on myself. However, I will say that when I gave my introductory speech as District Governor Nominee Designate at Leonie Tisch’s conference in 2018 I acknowledged that while I came from the bottom end of District 9930 with 80% of our Clubs north of Taupo, I would treat all Clubs the same regardless of the distance. I believe that I have achieved this as it was very important to me to make myself available. Wendy and I appreciate the hospitality that has been shown to us during our Club visits not only by those who opened their homes to us but the many wonderful Rotarians who welcomed us on our Club visits.
On those official Club visits, I have encouraged Clubs to feel comfortable with their current projects and to consider other programmes that we can become involved with. I covered some of these including RGECAF, Kiwi Can, the JR McKenzie Youth Education Fund, business mentoring and Rhyming the Alphabet project to complement Dictionaries in Schools. I am often made aware by Rotarians that there are too many programmes and projects often not sanctioned by Rotary for Clubs to undertake. I make no apology for that – it’s wonderful that we can pick and choose. Community service is what we do!
In addition to the official visits, Wendy and I attended eight Club Anniversaries during the year. Some of them very special including the 75th anniversaries of the Te Awamutu, Morrinsville and  Tauranga Rotary Clubs and the 50th Anniversaries of the Katikati and Fairfield Rotary Clubs.
There were many highlights during my year as Governor, including the opening of the new Kuirau Park market in Rotorua, the presentation by the six Districts in New Zealand of a PHF+5 to Dr Ashley Bloomfield, attending the District 9980 conference in Waimate as the Governor representative and of course our own very successful conference in Hastings in May.
However, it is our support of youth programmes that are at the very core of Rotary. It was a privilege to attend the Rotary Youth Exchange Debrief day in Rotorua, Greenmeadow’s Plate Debate between Napier Boy’s and Girls High Schools, a local Interact meeting in Napier and the RYLA Graduation Dinner in Hamilton. Although RYE and RANZSE are on hold, our youth programmes are growing. New Interact Clubs are being chartered at High Schools in our District the most recent in Tauranga with discussions underway for a third Club in Hawkes Bay.
After a long absence in District 9930, I am thrilled to announce that Rotaract is back !
The Rotaract Club of Hawkes Bay received its charter from Rotary International on the 10th of June. This was the culmination of months of hard work by the combined Rotary Clubs in Hawkes Bay to bring together a group of young people from Napier and Hastings who have met several times since the initial planning meeting initiated by Brian McLay in February. Those of you who met them at the District Conference will agree that they bring the power of energy and enthusiasm. Already they have decided to raise funds for Give Every Child A Future. Plans are underway for their official charter function later this month. I hope that the formation of this Rotaract Club will set the scene for new Clubs to be formed in our District. Certainly, there is potential in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, particularly at the University. I can’t think of a better way to finish our year!
2021 marks the centenary of Rotary in New Zealand and Australia with the chartering of Clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland. Events and projects to mark the occasion are already underway. The Rotary Club of Wellington held a special function at Parliament on the 24th of May with our District represented by Ross Pinkham. Auckland Rotary also celebrated with a centennial showcase at the Aotea Centre on the 25th of June that Wendy and I attended. The history of Rotary – Mana Tangata was published earlier this year and copies made available to Clubs to purchase. I must say that compared to Rotary in Australia the promotion of the Centenary in New Zealand has been lacklustre.
The delivery of the projects throughout the country has not met the level that was promised and has left our Centenary Coordinator, PDG Leonie Tisch, DGE Ross Pinkham and myself feeling underwhelmed to the point of embarrassment as we tried to publicise projects, such as the Trees of Peace and Remembrance without information coming forward from the Centenary Clubs. However, we have got on with our own projects most notably Matamata Rotary Club’s Centenary Number Plate Surround project which they have successfully promoted to Clubs throughout New Zealand and even Australia where PRIP Ian Riseley proudly owns a set. So many of our Clubs are involved with tree planting not only acknowledging Rotary’s centenary in doing so but also The Rotary Foundation’s seventh Area of Focus.
The one centenary project that covers all of Australasia and the most significant in our District is Rotary Give Every Child A Future. This is a project to vaccinate children and young women across nine Pacific Island countries against rotavirus, pneumococcal disease and cervical cancer. RGECAF has been our Governor’s Partners project and Wendy and I have been moved by the generous support given by individual Rotarians and Clubs in District 9930. This major health initiative has caught the imagination of so many, none the least Rotarian Alan White who cycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff raising funds for Give Every Child A Future. With the support of his Greenmeadows Rotary Club, a cheque for $20,000 was presented at the District Conference in May. Our District has contributed $30,000 over three years from the District Designated Funds contributed by Clubs to The Rotary Foundation’s Annual Fund. In fact, District 9930 was a year ahead of any other District in Australasia in contributing to the project.
While our vaccines have yet to be distributed due to delays created by Covid-19 and the 2019 measles outbreak, the Cold Chain equipment used to store the vaccines has arrived in the Islands and is being made available to assist the Covid vaccination programme.
While we can be proud of our achievements, we face the significant challenge of declining membership. At the District Conference I spoke of the need for diversity and inclusion in our Rotary Clubs. Encouraging the inclusion of different ethnic groups, more women and the LGBT community into our Rotary. We simply have to “Make It Happen” in order to remain relevant in our communities. Last year District 9930 became the largest Rotary District in New Zealand and the reason for this was the formation of the Rotorua Passport Club. I am convinced that the best way to increase membership is to form new Clubs and I urge you to look for opportunities to do so in your surrounding towns. Whether they be traditional, satellite, passport or cause based Clubs, we have to find new ways to expand our reach.
I cannot finish without thanking every person on this slide who has given me support, encouragement and the confidence to undertake this role. You have all been amazing. My Assistant Governors have always made themselves available including on all of my Club visits. Max Patmoy and Gavin Petrie have been exemplary in enabling information to be communicated to Rotarians. I have been very fortunate to have 50 Club Presidents who have worked hard during the year on behalf of their members and Rotary International. To the District Board and Past District Governors, thank you for the knowledge and friendship that you have extended to Wendy and me.
Wendy, this has been a long journey and I can’t thank you enough for your support. You have been there for me all of the way and my appreciation goes beyond myself and on behalf of all Rotarians for the time and commitment that you have given to our organisation.
I extend my gratitude and best wishes to my G-train colleagues, Ross, Kevin and Bill along with Dianne and Deb for a fulfilling and enjoyable year ahead.