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Last night’s Zoom speaker was District Governor (Nominee) Mark Wheeler, who is coordinating the District response to our 2021 Rotary Centennial celebrations.

As we all know, Rotary began in Chicago in 1905 and found its way to Australia and New Zealand in 1921. The first clubs in New Zealand were Wellington and then Auckland. There are now 1000 clubs in the Oceania region.

The Centennial will look both back and forward. Dr Stephen Clarke is working on a history of the Wellington Club, and Rotary more widely, and has uncovered an interesting and highly relevant fact: after the major crises caused by the 1930s depression and WW2, Rotary became more energised and visionary. Mark suggested the Covid-19 crisis could provide a similar opportunity and urged us to grasp it.

Looking to the next 100 years, Mark reminded us that the values which have always underpinned Rotary are unchanging: service to others and the four-way test. Rotary is a global leader in humanitarian work and this will continue.

Mark spelled out the opportunities facing us at the local, national, and international levels. Locally, the protection of the Taupo Swamp and support for the children’s hospital are prominent. Nationally the ‘Billion Trees Project” is gathering steam, and linking nicely with tree planting at the Taupo Swamp. Internationally, the elimination of cervical cancer in the South Pacific nations has been selected as the lead project.

There is a lot going on. There will be themed public meetings and videos. Mark’s presentation was immensely detailed and can be seen here.

200 years of Rotary - 12 May 2020

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