Posted by Dave Wylie
Distinguished Guests and Rotarians
 
Over the past 17 changeovers I have heard comments about the weight of this presidential chain, and physically it is quite heavy, and I have spent some time reflecting on what that symbolises.
 
Let’s start with Chas Blackwood our first president in 1961. I wonder if he had any idea what he was getting himself into. It’s probably safe to assume that he had less of an idea than I do. He and the 56 subsequent presidents through to Gavin Green have been leaders seeking to make a difference to individuals, their communities and internationally.By my guestimate they have worked alongside more than 2,000 members over those years. Their achievements have been significant locally, at a rotary district level, both nationally and internationally.
 
If you want a measure of how significant those achievements are have a read of “Giving Back” a history of the first 50 years of the Rotary Club of Howick compiled and written by the late Brian Hanlon, a much revered member of our club.
 
As a club we make a difference in many ways and I would like to remind you of just some of ways over the past 12 months:
 
  • Financially we have supported Howick coastguard and recently Interplast among others
  • Projects we have supported include Mangemangeroa walkway, Howick Historical village and Howick fun run
  • We continue to support Howick college through programs such as the science forum, speech contest and matched twin exchange
  • We make awards to acknowledge great people in our community with an annual presentation to local police and the apprentice awards. It is pleasure to have two new Paul Harris Awardees in Dorothy Osborne and Judy Pascoe.
  • And of the many Rotary programs two examples are Student exchange, Marie Carette from France has been with us for nearly 12 months now, and RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) which is taking place right now where we have sponsored 2 of the 120 participants.
All of these and many other current activities must be funded and managed.
 
Most of that funding comes from Bookarama which is our annual 2nd hand book sale. It is a mammoth effort that calls on all our members, their families and friends to make it successful.
 
Take that snapshot of the past 12 months and multiply it by 57 years and we can all start to grasp the magnitude of what Howick Rotarians have achieved.
 
All of that is great and we should be rightly proud of all those achievements however there is no hiding from the fact we have become a group that is predominantly pale, stale and male. Now is the time for us to change that.
 
Our focus for this year, as a club, is growth and diversity together with an increase in fun and energy.
 
  • We must grow to sustain the level of service we aspire to provide to our community
  • We must diversify to represent our community. Diversity in all its forms – gender, age, ethnicity, opinion, capability and experience
Increased membership is how we will lighten the weight of this chain and all those who have built our proud legacy.
 
  • Yes it means work, hard work but lets have fun, lets enjoy one another’s company, lets celebrate each our achievements and lets support one another when we see the need. Don’t just make time, make friends!
 
We have a proud history of service both locally and internationally. We owe it to ourselves and those who have gone before us in Howick Rotary to make it even greater.
 
So I ask you to help me honour the weight of this chain by ‘Being the Inspiration” in this Rotary year.
 
Thank you
 
Dave Wylie
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