Posted on Oct 20, 2019
Recapturing the good things about Rotary:
A personal perspective
Peter Stanley
Past President, Rotary Club of Otumoetai
Our Rotary Club may be gearing up for a new round of reform.  I would like to contribute my perspective by discussing the ten things that I have valued and enjoyed in my nine years in Rotary.  The ten matters that I am about to mention are not in any order, and they obviously reflect my personal preferences alone.
  1. Interesting people.  I value my association with members of this club.  The fraternity includes some quite exceptional people, and I count my good fortune in getting to know them.
  2. Service commitment.  Unlike a sports club or a hobby group, Rotary meets with a purpose and it is to do good things for other people. 
  3. Collective action.  This is the feeling of being part of something, and it arises most readily on projects where you are actually doing things.  Recently, I had these feelings when I was with Clyde, Paul, Jannick, Rachel, Bruce, and Bevan at the Garmin Tauranga Marathon. 
  4. Achievements of Rotary.  I am staggered by what Rotary has contributed to our community since it began in New Zealand over a hundred years ago, and these projects include starting a number of national organisations.
  5. Club commitment.  By this I mean the willingness of Rotarians to step up and assume positions and responsibilities, and to perform whatever task that they have to the best of their ability.
  6. Broadening experiences.  Thanks to Rotary I have done all sorts of things that I would not otherwise have done, and most notably there was participation in a golf tournament, a cycle race, and a yachting regatta.  But there have been lots of other things that I regard as broadening experiences, like hearing Winston Peters, Simon Bridges, and Tenby Powell speak, and lots of other people as well.
  7. Special occasions.  This covers Armistice Day, the club’s jubilee celebration last year, regalia night, debates, visits to and from other Rotary clubs, vocational visits, and lots more.
  8. Entertainment and food.  Most people, if they are lucky, attend one wedding or similar live show a year.  At Rotary, we have dinner and show once a fortnight and we used to be able to have it once a week.
  9. Standards of behaviour.  I need to admit a prejudice of sorts, and it is that I like to be around people who know how to behave.  As adults, I don’t think that we owe much to other people beyond courtesy and self-restraint and typically these qualities are to be found in Rotary Clubs.
  10. Apolitical.  Rotary is refreshing because it is has managed to avoid politicisation in the sense of radical identity politics around race and gender and I appreciate that.