By David Hulme, Media Support and Resources Officer D9930

A chance meeting in 2019 with a specialist dentist in Brazil created a lasting impression on Havelock North Rotarian David Smith and his wife Raeanne – so much so that it spurred him into action on his return to New Zealand.

In the old saying, to cut a long story short, it is that action that saw David recognised as the Outstanding Rotarian of the Year for District 9930 in 2020-21 at the recent changeover event in Napier.

But back to that meeting in 2019 – the couple meet Brazilian surgeon Cassiano Neto, renowned in Brazil for his work in creating prosthetics for disadvantaged patients with facial cancer and other facial destroying diseases.

In the address the Smiths were present at, Cassiano, through his partner Marilia who acted as his interpreter, said his aim was to procure two 3D printers and associated software to speed up the delivery to patients of the prosthetics.

Unlike many impressions that become just holiday memories, this project struck a real chord with David and he returned to his own club in Havelock North to see what they could do to make Cassiano’s appeal a reality.


A global grant application was developed and upon hearing of the New Zealand enthusiasm for the project, a Brazilian IT expert provided the necessary expertise to create the required software.

As a result, Havelock North became the lead international club in the Global Grant process and was successful in having it signed off by Rotary International in near-record time.

The project was completed in less than one year – becoming only the second global grant project taken on and completed in District 9930’s history.

Outgoing District Governor Grant Spackman says David’s deeds epitomize everything that is good about Rotary.

“One of the great things about our organization is the way in which its members are able to break down barriers of language, ethnicity and socio-economic disparity – all of which David achieved with this project.

“A lovely off-spin from the project is that Marilia has joined Rotary and is a very active member of her club,” Grant says.

Along with the above project, David has been secretary of Havelock North Rotary for five years and is also the current President of the New Zealand chapter of the International Caravanning Fellowship of Rotary.

The Fellowship has more than 130 members in the North Island, meeting four times a year for rallies.

“There is a saying ‘Give a busy person a job to do and it will get done". This saying is surely emphasised in what David manages to achieve,” Grant says.