Tauranga’s Rotary clubs are celebrating diversity, with a fresh set of female presidents taking over in 2022.

The presidents are Carmen Goodwin of the Otūmoetai Rotary Club, Sue Boyne of the Tauranga Rotary Club, Vanessa Dodunski of the Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club, and Lynda Burch of the Tauranga Sunrise Rotary Club.  

Tauranga Rotary assistant governor Pat Taylor says the coincidental move coincides with the first international Rotary female president being elected this year.

Lynda Burch, left, Carmen Goodwin, and Sue Boyne. Photo: John Borren

“It was purely happenstance. There was nothing particularly driving it,” says Pat.  

“People sometimes have the wrong impression on what Rotarians are about. I’m hoping that things like this dispel some of those myths.”

Tauranga Rotary Club president Sue Boyne says although the diversification of the presidents is a great thing, it doesn’t matter who is at the helm.

“When I joined Rotary, it was predominantly male, and I’ve never had a problem with that. Rotary to me has always been about identifying needs in the community,” says Sue.

She is looking forward to continuing the Tauranga Rotary Club’s projects and restarting the book sale in March next year, which has not been held for two years due to Covid-19.


Rotary Tauranga president Susan Boyne

Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club president Vanessa Dodunski says while having a female president is an international milestone for Rotary, it isn’t “really a big deal” for a woman to be the president of an organisation nowadays.

“It’s about what we can do together, it’s not a specific male or female thing.

“As the first female president of the Tauranga Te Papa club, we’re trying to get out there and let people know that Rotary is for people of all sorts of backgrounds.”

Vanessa says that she is looking forward to doing their ‘big’ annual fundraiser – the duck race along The Strand.

“That’s our main fundraiser. Most of the proceeds go back to local schools. We also help out other recipients that can benefit from our fundraisers such as the surf lifesaving clubs.”

Tauranga Sunrise Rotary Club president Lynda Burch says one of the goals this Rotary year is to modernise the organisation.

“I think a lot of people see Rotary as an organisation that old people join.

“Ideally, I would like to change that, and to show people what they could be engaged in if they were to join a Rotary club.”

Lynda says that her club is focused on projects ranging from the environment to help children in the pacific by sending fabric to sewing companies to make school uniforms.

The Otūmoetai Rotary Club president Carmen Goodwin says that she is both “humbled” and “honoured” to be playing a part in Rotary’s diversity.

“Our club has had two female presidents before, both are who I see as amazing role models. It’s amazing to be stepping into those shoes after them,” says Carmen.

“We’re really stepping into the future for equity for women in Rotary. We are equal as club members and presidents.”

Carmen says that her club’s focus is going to be on the local Otūmoetai community and holding “small but frequent events”.

“Rotary is moving with the times. We are digitalising, and we are getting people from all walks of life involved.

“Coming into Rotary now is really exciting. We have a new generation of Rotarians who understand that the reason we became Rotarians in the first place is to do good in the community.”


With kind permission of
Taylor Rice
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