Good evening to everyone and a big welcome to you all. It is great to see so many Rotarians and friends. Charter night is a time for celebration of our past achievements, reflection on those projects and all those involved, in particular those who are no longer here to share this occasion and anticipation of our future service to our community of Howick in particular and the wider community in New Zealand and overseas.
 
I am sad to tell you that Past President Phil Beresford died recently. Let us pause for a moment's silence as a mark of respect for his service.
 
However, let me start with tonight’s theme “Mad Hatters.”
 
Some of you will have recognised the Mad Hatters Tea Party in Lewis Carol’s story of Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps some may be wondering if Lewis Carol was a Rotarian and the story is in fact his reflection on his last meeting. Others may be wondering if it is my reflection on my initial few months as your president. I couldn’t possibly comment!!!! It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s an enjoyable party. So get in the spirit and have fun.
 
We have a lot of visitors tonight:
 
MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown and Rebecca. Simeon thanks for making the effort to apply for leave from Parliament to join in our celebration.
 
Howick Local Board Chairman David Collings, Councillor Sharon Stewart and David.
 
Rotary Dignitaries – Dave Hawke our ADG; Presidents Irena Giles - HMB; Duncan Loney- Pakuranga
 
RYLArians 2018 – Grace Cussell and Sean Kerr. Grace is a future ruler of the world and Sean is the rocket scientist you always wanted to meet!
 
Friends of the club – Hazel Hanlon; Morrin Cooper; Shirley and Daren Curtis (HMB)
 
Past Members – Ted and Colleen Aislabie; Bruce and Marjorie Burton; Max Heron; Bob and Hazel Jollands; Kay McKirdy
 
Thank you all for honouring us with your presence tonight.
 
There are a significant number of club members who would normally be with us tonight. 11 are overseas no doubt enjoying themselves. You may have noticed the Monks and Fox’s promoting Bookarama in British Columbia via Keyway – very helpful really, and spare a thought for those who are unwell or recovering from surgery 4 that I can think of.
 
So what is “Charter Night”?” To answer that question naturally I turned to “Giving Back – A history of the Rotary Club of Howick by our beloved late Brian Hanlon.
 
Tonight we celebrate the presentation of our club’s charter. It took place on Tuesday 26th September 1961 at Pakuranga College and this club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Newmarket.
 
There were 26 members and included among them was Bill Percival who remained a member until he died a few years ago.
 
Looking through the book proved to be very enlightening and entertaining. Let me share a few excerpts with you:
(Marked pages)
 
1966-67 – end of year “ladies night”; car rally, Gt. Barrier kids, RNZAF flying boat; Brian Hanlon in a tutu (Hazel why did you let him out of the house?)
 
1999 – Charter Night; Max Heron line dancing (that thought should stop you eating too much tonight; try not to drown out the image with too much drink!
 
Bulletin in 1963 – A man in Rotary is one thing, rotary in a man is something else!! Now that’s food for thought.
 
1979 – Thomas Brydon Trust – Read the comment
 
1998 – Be warned your past is on display here at Hollywood night – Bob and Hazel Jollands; Bruce and Marjorie Burton; Dapper Fred Holland and Marilyn Monroe!!
 
So tonight we are celebrating our past – special times, special projects, special people!
 
But don’t let's forget our future. We can look to our past for inspiration to take us into the future.
 
We have a legacy of supporting many great causes Some involve partnering with others to leave something for our descendants. Two wonderful examples are Mangemangeroa where we support the Friends of Mangemangeroa in their restoration work and Howick Historical Village where local history is a credit to all involved.
 
We have an opportunity with our neighbouring clubs to work with our community to make this an even more special place through active engagement with the Pest Free Howick and Pakuranga project. There are a number of communities throughout New Zealand who now enjoy the returning native species everyday, we can become one of them.
 
Tonight we celebrate Howick Rotary making a difference in the past and in the future.
 
Thank you  (Pause)
 
Please stand for the invocation before our meal:
 
“Lord help us to remember as we walk along life’s pathway that whatever we might say, let it be the truth.
 
Whatever steps we take in life, let them build goodwill and better friendships.
 
Whatever goals we strive to accomplish, let them be beneficial to all concerned.
 
We ask you to help us to never lose sight of our many blessings, including the food we partake of today.
 
Amen.”
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