Mark Wheeler, District Governor 2021-22, visited our club this week and gave a wide-ranging talk about the future of Rotary, and some proposed organisational changes which we have to start thinking about. He was accompanied by Assistant Governor Kathryn Beattie.
He noted his connections with the club and paid tribute to our achievements. The current RI theme is “Serve to change lives”. He urged us to continue to serve our community and to look for new opportunities, especially in the new Covid environment. (Rotary has a proud history in combating infectious diseases: 3 billion children have been vaccinated against polio with the help of Rotary.)
Turning to the way in which Rotary is organised, he stressed that clubs are the heart of Rotary, and power lies with the clubs. They choose their own projects. It has been suggested that instead of Districts, inter-club cooperation should be at a more local, ‘area’ level, and then at the National level - analogous to having a single district for the whole country. ‘Areas’ will be defined by local needs.
If approved, this change will be piloted in Zone 8 (Australasia and the Pacific). It should be easier to work with other Rotary clubs, and other service clubs in our locality. We need to sell the Rotary story more effectively, and an option is to have a national Rotary spokesperson and ‘New Zealand Rotary’ branding.
In the meantime, there will be a District organisation for the next two years at least, with more stress on providing professional advice to clubs on levies, trusts, banking, and insurance. The District directory will be provided online.
An Incorporated Societies Bill is before parliament. It will likely put a lower limit on membership, which means that at least six clubs in our District are at risk. We will have to find a solution to this - perhaps a franchise model.
DG Mark traversed these weighty issues in fine style. We will be asked to express our preferences in due course.