Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

Thanks for a wonderful year and best wishes for 2019-20

An edited version Of DG Marion's speech at District 9940 Changeover on Sunday 7th July 2019.

As District Governors, when we first meet our RI president at International Assembly (DG training), we’re charged with carrying his message and theme for the year to Rotarians throughout our Districts, and to keep our Clubs informed and inspired.                

When Barry Rassin announced his theme ‘Be the Inspiration’ I immediately thought ‘now that really is a great theme’ –  it’s one we can apply to ourselves as individuals in all facets of our lives and one our clubs can relate to; they can apply it in their interactions with each other and with communities local and global.

Barry asked his District Governors to inspire Rotarians to do more, to be more, to be the best we can be

As I visited and spoke with the 53 Rotary and 2 Rotaract clubs in our District, I asked them to consider 5 points with regard to their club: doing more and being the best they can be:

            Change – recognising that change will be needed to keep up with what people need from the service club experience now

            Taking stock – evaluating the club’s activities to ensure member engagement and enjoyment, that the impact of projects is worth the input of time and resources and that we’re not reducing our effectiveness by trying to manage too many things at one time

            Looking outwards at our community – to grow membership we need look outwards at the community – the source of members – to ensure we are making connections and staying relevant by becoming representative of that community

            Public Image – remembering to tell our stories and being aware of how we look to others. If people don’t hear what we do and don’t see us as we’re doing it, they will never recognise the value of Rotary membership

            Supporting the Rotary Foundation, particularly the End Polio Now programme – Rotary has committed to raising $50m per year for 3 years to get this job FINISHED. In this first year of the 3, we have fallen quite a bit short of that target, and missed out on a sizeable chunk of the potential $100m 2-for-1 matching donation from the Gates Foundation

Most of our clubs have committed to looking seriously at all these areas. They have recognised the need for change, but for many it is still a painful and slow process. Of course, proposing changes to tradition makes people uncomfortable, and it will lead to divided opinion, so we need to ensure that divided opinion doesn’t lead to conflict

I think we all recognise that the chicken-eating, cheque-writing model of Rotary club will cease to exist once the current generation moves on. The Rotary club of the future will look very different and although there are comforting and solid things about Rotary the way it has been for the past 4 decades, I think the time has come for us to recognise that the traditional model isn’t going to work for those to whom we want to be leaving this amazing organisation. We need to be strong enough to hand it over to our braver thinkers and say ‘do what you think is right’

Thank you to all of the D9940 Rotarians who have committed to the various aspects of our very special centenary celebration;  Celebrating 100 years of Rotary in New Zealand is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the huge contribution we have made to our country; to see how Rotary identified need and planned, resourced and delivered projects to meet that need. As Rotarians we can learn from those stories and consider how we could still offer our communities those skills and networks which allow Rotary to deliver such significant projects.

I have a lot of people to thank for my District Governor experience. Mike and I are incredibly grateful to you all for the opportunity to lead the District in 2018-19. We have been places and met people we would never have, otherwise. It has been the experience of a lifetime

I need to thank:

            PDG Bob Smith and Margaret who talked me into saying ‘yes’ and who have mentored and supported us through the 3-year journey

            My Conference committee, where all 3 Whanganui clubs were represented. We delivered an unashamedly Whanganui-flavoured conference and we have been hugely grateful for the positive response we have had to some of the ideas we put in front of you

            My own club, Wanganui North, under the leadership of President Colin Slaughter for believing in me from day one -thank you Colin and Colleen for being there for us both

            The District Leadership team – the Board and AGs, District Chairs and committees, our Treasurer, Secretary, Bulletin Editor and all those who stepped up and took on a role outside their clubs – thank you all sincerely

            The District Advisory Committee: our PDGs who all willingly shared their knowledge and experiences

            The G-train: Mitch has been in the guard’s van waving the flag, John’s been watching the gauges and Gillian’s moved up to the front carriage – we have been a tight team and I have valued the time we have spent together and all that they have shared with me … and now with the addition of DGN Mark, we have a very strong and skilled G-Train – the District is in good hands and I wish all three the very best


And mostly to you, Rotarians,  – thank you all for the differences you make every day in your own communities and to the lives of people you will never meet. The range of projects Mike and I have seen as we travelled the District has awed us – the way you are responding to need, the unique solutions you are designing to address social issues and the sheer number of volunteer hours you put into making the world a better place is absolutely staggering. So, thank you for allowing us to share your achievements, keep doing what you do, be the best you can be, tell your stories, spur others to join us. For me in 2018-19, there is no doubt that District 9940 Rotarians have Been the Inspiration


Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

Thanks for a wonderful year and best wishes for 2019-20