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John Barber responded to Graeme Blick's reflections with many of his own.

He thanked  Graeme, for what he had shared with us tonight – and remarked that he had served our club and district very well. He went on to say:

It’s an honour to stand here and reflect back on my 50 years in Rotary, three in Tawa and forty-seven in Plimmerton, and I have been in the Club with all fifty presidents.

In the early years when I was involved in Plimmerton Rotary, it was a very young club although smaller in numbers than today. It was still a very enthusiastic and energetic club. Many of us had young families and the Rotary Club was our life. Our children loved being a part of the many and varied activities that were part of Rotary. There were:

  • Sponsored walks/ involving the local primary schools, 
  • Student exchange both at Club and District level, 
  • Rotaract,  Sons and daughters evenings, car rallies
  • Selling kiwi fruit, and various working bees.  

There are times even now when the family will recall that if something bad happened at home, it was always on a Thursday night and Dad was at Rotary!  in those days we met on a Thursday 

It was a big deal when the District Governor came to our club and was one of the highlights of the Rotary year. Rex Green a member of the Club and CEO of the Whitby Consortium opened his office to the President and the Board to meet with the DG and discuss the years activities while the President’s wife hosted the DG’s wife and ladies at her home. 

Changeover was another highlight and there was a tradition that the outgoing president conducted the sergeant session fining each member in a fun way, that linked us all together showing how important each member was, to the wellbeing of the Club.

Being a small business owner, Rotary allowed me to meet regularly with a cross section of the community.

When we finally had bedrooms available, we hosted exchange students, Cyril from France and Maike from Germany. It gave us new opportunities to share not only our wisdom and experience with a younger generation, but also learn from them, and provided an opportunity to socialize with another group of people in the Club.  We are still in touch with the students and have enjoyed visiting them and their families, when overseas. 

To all Members of The Rotary Club of Plimmerton  - those gone before me, and those still here, you have given me much to be thankful for.  And although I rank myself lowly against such a talented group of fifty presidents, I still give myself a pass mark against the four-way test (the four pillars of Rotary):
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build good will and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Having been involved in all committees in the club, I am currently the Almoner. I hope and pray that you all stay fit and well.

Reflections from John Barber - 23 May 2023

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