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From Boxer to Fashion Judge


From Boxer to Fashion Judge

By David Pine

Billy and KerriWell known boxing identity, Billy Graham and his wife Kerri, made a welcome appearance at the Plimmerton Rotary fundraiser held on Melbourne Cup evening, 4 November.

Best known as a former champion NZ boxer and the man behind Naenae’s well established Boxing Academy, Billy was on hand to take part in a “funny Gamblingmoney” evening organised and hosted by the Rotary Club. It involved Club members, partners and visitors each making a donation, in exchange for which they received a generous supply of “play money” which they then proceeded to
“gamble” on a variety of unforgiving gaming tables staffed by even more unforgiving Rotarians. A hilarious time was had by all.

Chris and BillyOn a more serious note, through the generosity of those present, Club President Chris Garrett was able to make a donation of $1000 to Billy Graham, to be put towards his latest venture which is located in Cannons Creek. With strong support from local police, he and Kerri have created a new boxing academy which is housed in the former Cannons Creek Tavern building. Like the Naenae Academy, the new Academy is aimed at teaching local young men how to handle themselves competently in the ring.

Carolyn and GillChris Garrett asked Billy Graham to judge which of the ladies’  “Fascinators” was worthy of winning a prize. He chose Gill Mackersy’s “cheeky little pink and purple model”, and also Carolyn Wallace’s “highly original NZ flavoured number”. Bev Lillico came a close second for her originality.

Billy Graham was invited to tell us about his work mentoring young boys to give them discipline and focus in their lives through Boxing. In thanking the Club and visitors for their financial support, Billy pointed out that besides teaching the art of boxing, the academy also taught the young men about the importance of self-discipline, honesty, decency, and respect. There were strict rules about behaviour which, if not followed, resulted in offenders being immediately expelled from the Academy. He noted that 80% of the members of the academy did not have a father figure at home.

Billy and LatuBilly introduced his audience to two other important local people who were helping to run the Cannons Creek academy – Latu Talu,  a graduate of the academy who now assisted with training of the young men, and also Fiona Garvin, who ran the office at the new premises.

“We aim to give these young guys a sense of direction” said Billy. “ In Naenae now, you don’t see too many of the local young guys doing the ‘Naenae Walk’ anymore, and you know something else - all of the graffiti in Naenae has gone now. That’s the effect we want to have in Cannons Creek too.”

Casino eveningMelbourne Cup Casino Night

Alan NicholsAfter the Melbourne Cup race was run, Phil Whearty collected his Sweepstake winnings in real money.The Casino tables then opened for business and fortunes were won and lost in Monopoly money.

An auction was held after where some lucky punters were able to bid tens of thousands of dollars for prizes of all shapes and sizes.

A huge thank you to Alan Nichols and his team for organising this fun event.


Our Guest Speaker next week will be Vince Langford, a Plimmerton man who undertook a 12,000km bike ride through Africa in 2013 to raise money for Breast Cancer in memory of his wife Fran who died of Breast Cancer during 2011.

Stu and MareeCivic Award for Stuart Wheeler: Stuart Wheeler has been awarded a Mayoral Certificate of Recognition for his services to the community of Porirua.

Stuart commenced his working career in 1969 at Wilson Funeral Home in Wellington.

He spent five years in South Africa where he was involved as a funeral director during the Soweto Riots.  He was selected to assist with recovery and identification of the Mount Erebus disaster victims for which he was awarded a NZ Special Services Medal.

He commenced business of his own account in Auckland in 1984 where 80% of his work was with the Pacific Island Community. This work continued with the Pacific Island Community around Porirua on relocating back to Wellington.

Stuart also had the honour of directing the State Funeral of Sir David Beattie, the funeral with full Military Honours for both Major General Walter McKinnon and Lieutenant General Sir Leonard Thornton.

Congratulations Stuart on this well deserved Award.


Awards for Jessica.  The Aotea College Senior Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening was an excellent evening showcasing the amazing talent amongst the senior students, from the Southern Hemisphere top Highland Dancer to Barbershop choruses and quartets. Amongst the student to receive awards was our own Jessica, who was recognised for her attitude and effort in Music, French, Photography and Physical Education.

President-elect Adrienne Murray presented Service Above Self awards from the Rotary Club of Plimmerton  to one student from each of Years 11, 12 and 13.

There will be a working bee to do some planting around the Te Ara Piko Pathway on the Pauatahanui Inlet.

When: Tuesday 18 November

Time : 10.00am -2.00pm

Please let Peter Jackson know that you would like to help.

If you are aware of any Rotary Members being ill or needing assistance in any way due to ill health please advise our Almoner Gordon Wellwood. Best wishes to Wendy Betteridge who is recovering from a knee replacement.

Diary Dates

17 November - Wellington Rotaract Quiz Night (contact Donna Gemaries)

18 November - Planting Working Bee

28 November - Paramoana Speech Contest

29 November - Special Needs Kids Christmas party at Te Rauparaha Arena

2 December - Rotarians’ Kids Christmas party at Mana Cruising Club

5-7 December - Rotary Institute District Conference

13 December (Evening) - Adult Christmas Function at Rydges Hotel Wellington 

28-29 March 2015 - Book Fair

From Boxer to Fashion Judge

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