Rotary clubs are starting to get underway after the summer break.  I hope you had a good break and have returned full of energy and enthusiasm for the new Rotary year.
The end of last year was dominated by bush fires in Australia, a measles epidemic in Samoa and more recently the coronavirus spread around the world.  I want to thank all the Rotarians and clubs who gave so generously for the Bush Fire and Measles Appeal.
The Rotary National Science and Technology Forum has held its 31st summer camp attended by 168 Year 13 students who spent two weeks in Auckland learning and seeing the different possibilities offered for careers in science and technology.  The co-operation between Auckland University, AUT and Massey University is good to see.  Jan and I attended the opening ceremony, the BBQ midway through and the formal graduation dinner.  This event is a credit to Rotary and reinforces our investment in youth.  Well done to the hard-working trustees and organising committee.
At 1.00 am on 22 January I attended, by Zoom, the club meeting of the Rotary E Club 9920 Francophone and the Shanghai Elysée satellite club.  The meeting was timed to work for the European and Asian members and I drew the short straw.  The meeting finished at 2.30 am.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hear about the many projects the E Club is involved with in Asia, Africa and the Pacific.  Also, to hear about the way the club uses its network of 52 twin clubs to raise funds and support projects.  Another remarkable fact is the members are 100 per cent Paul Harris Fellows.
The idea for Trees for Survival began some thirty years ago.  It has proven a successful Rotary project that has offered something new and unique to our communities.  Several organisations do some of the things Trees for Survival does.  But no one else takes children through the hands-on experience of potting trees at their school, nurturing them and then planting the trees out on threatened land.  A stream of applications is being received from schools to join the programme and Trees for Survival will soon be reaching out to Rotary clubs to see if they have volunteers who would put in the few hours each year working with children in their schools.
South Pacific President-Elect Training (SPPET) will once again be held at Waipuna over the weekend of 28 February to 1 March.  Attendees will come from Rotary clubs all over NZ and the Pacific Islands.  Presidents-elect will learn about their upcoming role and responsibilities and it’s a great opportunity for them to learn, form friendships and meet their assistant governors.
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Past Assistant Governor Pam Clark.  Many Rotarians attended the funeral and our condolences go to her husband Rod and family.  Pam was also the District Chair of the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI).  Several other Rotarians also passed away recently and our condolences are with their families and friends.
The District 9920 conference has an exciting programme and line up of inspirational speakers.  The conference is to be held between 15 and 17 May 2020 in the Sir Owen Glenn Building at the Auckland University Business School.  If you haven’t already registered, a special offer has been made for groups of four or more to register at the early bird concession rate.  So get your friends to join you and register.  We are also offering a Saturday only concession for prospective Rotarians to attend.
Jan and I wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year of the Rat.  This marks the beginning of the twelve year cycle for the Chinese calendar and is auspicious to coincide with the new decade of this century.
Happy Chinese New Year- GONG XI FA CHAI