Well that was April – where did it go?
Whilst we were all locked down life did not stand still. We have found that ......
  • Rotary does actually “Connect the World”.
  • We can learn new skills – especially around video conferencing and the use of Zoom. Whether we like it or not, it does work when needed. Maybe we could think about using zoom for all our committee meetings? Rotary International recently held their board meeting via Zoom – 66 participants spread over 19 countries using 7 different languages,  (where there’s a will there’s a way). 
  • Rotarians have been involving themselves where possible in their communities – delivering shopping etc. I understand that the Rotorua Clubs have some 80 people that they are helping in this way – and Rotarians from Morrinsville have been busy shopping in New World in a similar vein
 
Tauranga Sunrise inducted 3 new members – via Zoom. I understand that Ukraine has seen their membership increase by some 300 members since they have moved their club meetings online – as people who normally live too far away from normal club meetings or through work cannot get there – now find that they can connect in and get involved. Food for thought.
  • Katikati is setting up a Business Mentoring service – using the skills and experience of members to help local businesses. Rototuna is also looking at setting up a similar scheme with Te Waka – the local Economic Development Agency.
  • Rotarians are helping charities to get their fundraising going again by helping to prepare Op Shops for re-opening
  • Foodbanks and “sharing sheds” (where surplus produce is shared in the community) are being supported.
  • Whilst Rotary’s International Convention in Hawaii due to be held later this month has been cancelled – the decision has been made to hold a virtual Convention in June – see www.riconcension.org for more details.
  • And the list goes on,  if your club has any novel initiatives – then please share these either through this newsletter or on the District’s various Facebook pages. 
Looking ahead
  • We are exploring how we can say Thank You to all the essential workers who have kept things going whilst most of us have been locked down in our bubbles. A suggested two-stage initiative has been circulated to your Assistant Governors for consideration. This involves holding a club event to say thank you  – followed by four Regional Events where key people can be more formally thanked.
  • Whilst we need to hold our AGM (normally held as part of our conference) and also get next year’s budgets approved (normally done at District Training Assembly) we have taken the decision – with the club's approval to hold these online. So Rotarians are invited to join us on 28th May at 7.00 pm – online for these meetings which will be held one after the other. More details on how to connect will be circulated shortly.
  • One of the big advantages of holding our meetings via Zoom is that we can involve participants from anywhere in the world.  Can I suggest that we take advantage of this by inviting speakers to talk to us who would not normally be able to travel to our meetings? For example – on our conference website ( https://www.9930conference.org/speakers/ )  there is still the list of the speakers who were going to come. I am sure that they would be willing to speak to your club. Cam is a professional speaker, but he will probably be the only one to charge. A name to add to this list is Archbishop Sir David Moxon, who was the Director of the Global Freedom Network ( see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0imviDZxj0  ) who has told me that he is happy to speak to Rotary Clubs. If you do have a special speaker – please let the other clubs around you know so that they can join in with you.
There is one structural change that we are bringing into the District. At the present time, we have 12 Areas each with their own Assistant Governor. The Districts Board, with a consultation with the AGs, has conducted a review identifying the following
  • Areas have been in place for many years.
  • With the “ebb and flow” of clubs, areas vary from 2 to 7 clubs.
  • The expansion of the key towns and cities within the District need to be addressed proactively.
It has therefore been decided to move the Areas into 4 Clusters namely Waikato, Coastal Bay of Plenty, the Lakes and Hawkes Bay with the AGs in the clusters working as a team with one of their number (from each cluster) being invited to attend District Board Meetings.  The existing Areas will be maintained but they might evolve further over time.
The advantages we see from these changes are
  • AGs become part of the decision tree.
  • AGs become conversant with the workings of the District and be better channels of communication to and from their clubs.
  • AGs can be more proactive in their area
  • This change will bring our District more in line with other NZ Districts.
I heard a quote from a club president recently, "Who wants some lemonade?  Making lemonade out of lemons is a strategy that is near and dear to many of us.  So, how about we make a little lemonade together?"   We are living in a rapidly changing environment that needs bold imaginative and timely interventions. What may be right today may well be wrong or different tomorrow, so we need to be agile, responsive and willing to change as our communities need us more than ever before.
Churchill is reputed to have said “never waste a good crisis” – so Rotarians likewise. We must grasp the opportunity to adapt to this new world and take advantage of these changes, so we remain relevant. We need to be flexible, not stubborn. In Maori stubborn translates as upoko mārō which literally means frozen soil. Frozen soil stops growth. If Rotary is to thrive, we must make sure our soil is well fertilized and watered.
 
Ka noho ki to kainga (Stay home)
Pakaru te hurihanga (Break the chain)
Kia ora ai te iwi (Save lives)
 
Kind regards
 
Keep safe and well
Peter Maxwell
District Governor 2019/20
Rotary District 9930
Mobile 027 432 8872