Robert Martin was a keynote speaker at our District 9930 Conference back in May 2010.

Robert has now spent more than 30 years advocating for the rights of disabled New Zealanders.

He has a learning disability and spent much of his childhood inside institutions and living with foster parents.

In 2018, he became the first person with learning disabilities to chair a United Nations meeting during a session.

He served on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the 2017-2020 term, and is seeking re-election.

Robert wanted a leader that looked and sounded like him, and when there wasn't one, he decided to fill the gap.

Robert has received numerous awards along the course of his journey. He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2008, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. And there is a strong Rotary connection as well; Robert is an Honorary Member of the Whanganui Daybreak Rotary Club, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.

Sir Robert has been made a knight companion in the New Year's Honours list.

Supplied by
Colin Olesen
Rotary District 9930 Governor 2009-2010
Rotary Club of Maketu