ROMAC is a project of Rotary districts in Australia and New Zealand


Chairman's Message


My dear ROMAC friends and supporters,

With the arrival of the COVID-19 virus into both Australia and New Zealand our day-to-day lives have changed beyond our initial comprehension.
Many doors have shut, but many more have opened in ways we could never have imagined before the pandemic. Just think of how quickly Rotarians and Rotary clubs have switched to Zoom meetings when there is no other way of holding a normal Rotary club meeting. The pandemic has given us permission to think outside the square and embrace new ideas, which amazingly coincides with the theme for the present Rotary International year: “Rotary Opens Opportunities“.

No one knows how much longer the pandemic will stay around and impede ROMAC’s ability to bring young children from our neighbouring Oceania islands into Australia and New Zealand for, in some instances, life-saving operations and procedures. At present we still have two children here in Australia who are unable to return to their homelands. And when the pandemic is over, we already have some 20 patients approved to come to Australia or New Zealand.
As with many not-for-profit organisations, ROMAC needs to continue to communicate with its supporters, both individuals and Rotary clubs, to ensure that their involvement and financial support continues.
ROMAC has a team of volunteers in each district in both Australia and New Zealand who would appreciate the opportunity to be invited to join your club meeting to show our new 10-minute video and answer your queries and questions.
Please contact me on either or 0411 044 691 if you would like us to join your meeting either by Zoom or in person.
Stay safe and stay well.
Best regards

PDG Harold Sharp OAM


Patient Stories - Past and Present




Vincent is currently the only child being treated in Australia or New Zealand by ROMAC.  It was hoped that he would be well enough to return home to the Solomon Islands this month, but border closures caused by COVID-19 have meant that he, and his mother, Cosinta, remain in Canberra where they are being home-hosted by ROMAC's District 9705 Chair, Sandra Goldstraw and her husband, Brian.  It is still not clear when he will be able to return home.

Vincent arrived in Australia in July 2019 as a 2-month old baby suffering a blockage between his oesophagus and his stomach requiring urgent surgery.  He has had a number of operations and many procedures and doctors' appointments since his arrival.

In Sandra's words: "Appreciation must go to the Canberra Hospital for accepting the complex care of Vincent and to Dr Celine Hamid and Prof Croaker for their surgical expertise.

Also to our Rotary District Committee for assisting with some of the expenses over the last 12 months.

It takes a team to look after our special ROMAC children. All children are special!"



The Bosin Twins


Eusthocia and Eaustina

The Bosin Twins are often described as the patients who laid the foundation for ROMAC as it is known today. 

The co-joined twins, Eaustina and Eusthocia, from Papua New Guinea, were born over 20 years ago on a small island near Bougainville which was, at that time, war-torn.  A difficult birth meant that half way through the delivery mum, Magdalene, was transferred to a larger island over 400 meters by boat, and then a power failure during the caesarean operation forced the completion of the delivery under moonlight!  The twins were transported to Port Moresby the following day, and then flown to Melbourne by ROMAC where they were successfully separated at the Melbourne Children's Hospital. 
Fast-forward 20 years and Eusthocia has graduated with Diploma in Business in Madang and Eaustina will graduate later this year as a primary school teacher, also in Madang.


At seven weeks of age, Jeff, from Vanuatu was a very sick baby.  He was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease and 'intercurrent pneumonia".  He was flown to New Zealand by ROMAC for corrective surgery in February 2017.  However, he suffered a cardiac arrest about 40 minutes out from Auckland and was collected in the ambulance airside and taken directly to Starship for surgery.

Today, Jeff, who turns 4 later this year is a healthy, happy and inquisitive child.  

Another great ROMAC success story!


Meet our newest Team Member

Recognition for Dan

From left: Operations Director, Judy Holland, PDG Margaret Hayes, Dan Holzapfel, District Governor 2019-20 for District 9630, Ros Kelly.

A special presentation was made last month to Dan Holzapfel in recognition of his long-term and very generous support of ROMAC.  Dan was presented with a plaque acknowledging his generosity to ROMAC over many years during morning tea attended by 2019-20 District Governor for District 9630, Ros Kelly; ROMAC Operations Director, Judy Holland; and long-term friend of Dan's, Past Governor, Margaret Hayes. 

Thank you, Dan!  ROMAC is very grateful for your commitment to changing lives of young children from our neighbouring islands.
Zoom, the New Norm?

The advent of COVID-19 has certainly changed how we carry out our lives, and Rotary is no exception.  Social Isolation, in an attempt to minimize the spread of the virus, has forced Clubs to reconsider how they conduct their Rotary business.  Most clubs quickly realized the importance of keeping their members involved and informed, and opted to meet on-line through such platforms as Zoom, Go-To Meetings or Google Hang-ups and in the process soon discovered that virtual meetings had many benefits.  There was no need to travel to the meeting venue, meetings were generally of shorter duration, you didn't have to dress up to attend, members and friends - including Youth Exchange Students - at remote locations could join, and Rotary Chicken was not on the menu!  Many Clubs actually saw an increase in attendance as a result.

These changing circumstances have provided a valuable opportunity for ROMAC to present to Clubs throughout the country, many of which have not had a representative from ROMAC at their Club for quite some time.   This has been particularly convenient for Clubs in country areas where a face-to-face presentation often required a long drive plus overnight accommodation for the ROMAC volunteer.  Now, using Zoom, location  is no longer a deterrent!

The 10-minute video developed last year, followed by a question and answer session provides Rotarians with a comprehensive overview of ROMAC's operation and it's many success stories, and has enabled District and Regional Chairs to present to over 100 Clubs since the pandemic began in early March.

As restrictions begin to ease some Clubs are starting to return to face-to-face meeting, but others are opting to continue to meet virtually, at least for some of their meetings.  Others are continuing with all virtual meetings for the foreseeable future.

Whether you would like a presentation in person or via Zoom, ROMAC invites you to invite us to join one of your meetings in the near future.  Contact ROMAC Chair, Harold, on or on 0411 144 691 and he will arrange for one of our Volunteers to contact you to organize a mutually suitable time for a presentation.

             ROMAC Northern Regional Chair, Wayne Litherland, preparing to address a Rotary Club via Zoom


Partner's Project Raises $10,000

        Jasmine Kiernan, wife of DG 9910 for 2019-20, Ian Kiernan, with ROMAC patient, Ben.
When Jasmine Kiernan, wife of the 2019-20 Governor for District 9910, Ian Kiernan, selected ROMAC for her Partner's Project she thought she might raise a few thousand dollars to benefit the organization.  ROMAC has always been a passion of hers and she has always enjoyed interacting with the children (and their parents) who were brought to New Zealand for treatment.  Being very creative and with an long-term interest in mosaics, Jasmine decided to create some pieces of mosaic art which could be auctioned during the official visits to Clubs she attended along with Ian.  Initially she created some mosaic plates incorporating some recent Rotary International themes.  These sold very well and so she decided to diversify into ornamental plates and pots, creating a new item each month which she sold through silent auction.  

Despite now being restricted to residing in Norfolk Island during COVID lockdown and beyond, she has achieved and announced an amazing contribution of $10,000 to go to training activities that support care of our ROMAC children in their own country. 

Jasmine plans to make a formal presentation of her donation to ROMAC once the New Zealand borders open and they are able to return. The NZ ROMAC team look forward to catching up with Jasmine and Ian and sharing their experiences and stories of the year that was.

Congratulations, and Thank You, Jasmine.

This mosaic pot was one of the last items created and auctioned by Jasmine


How you can help ROMAC

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For just $100 annually, you can become a ROMAC Friend and help us to change
the lives of more children from the Oceania Region.   Download our brochure here.


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