As I count down the last few weeks leading up to my time as District Governor of D9940, I feel excited to have the opportunity to be part of our Rotary history.  What a privilege to lead the District into our centennial year during which we’ll celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years and focus forward to future-proof ourselves for the next 100 years.  I hope you’re all feeling this sense of occasion where we all have an opportunity to strengthen our Clubs towards a common purpose and make a real difference in our communities.
I reflect on Kevin’s and my time in San Diego in January at the International Assembly where incoming Rotary International President, Holgar Knaack, announced the theme for the new Rotary year.  Little did we know just how relevant and impactful his chosen theme of Rotary Opens Opportunities would be!
President Holger urged us to be flexible, to seek opportunities to position our Clubs in ways that are going to remain attractive to our existing members and attract new members.  He told us that requires boldness, courage, and being prepared to disrupt.  He said we can no longer simply continue to do things the way we always have.
The last few months have created a situation unlike anything most of us have experienced. We have indeed embraced the opportunity to be flexible. I’ve been absolutely delighted in the way that Clubs have responded to the COVID-19 threat. Many of us have grasped an opportunity to not only do things differently within our Clubs but we’ve also responded to the COVID related needs of the community.  Many Clubs have reported that their online meetings have attracted non-members – opening us to the opportunity to attract new members.
I look forward to supporting and motivating Clubs to continue to embrace innovative ways of meeting and becoming more flexible – after all, we have Rotary International’s permission and encouragement to do so. I look forward to learning about your projects that respond to the current community need.
Most of all, I look forward to celebrating this very special year with you.  Let’s all embrace the amazing opportunity ahead of us to mark Rotary’s place in New Zealand and the Pacific. Our centennial projects require our full commitment. We can do this!   
Gillian Jones