Denise and I have just returned from the UK after my trade work in Geneva and a midwifery conference in London for Denise.  We took the opportunity to have a week’s break and catch up with one of our daughters who works in Edinburgh.
Decorations for the festive season seem to have a bigger impact in a northern hemisphere winter – reindeer and snowmen seem more appropriate there and the lighting more vibrant when it is dark by 5 pm.  
The Rotary year also has a northern hemisphere basis which provides some challenges for us in the south but also some opportunities.  One challenge is the long break that our Rotary Clubs have and the loss of momentum this can cause.  This break is also an opportunity however to reflect on what we have achieved over the first half of the Rotary year and to make plans for what we would like to focus on in the second half of the year.
You may be thinking about what your Club will do to mark Rotary’s 112th anniversary on 23 February 2017 and The Rotary Foundation’s 100th anniversary in June 2017. You may be planning for your weekend in Taranaki on 21-23 April at the District Conference.
District and Club leaders and Rotarians will be thinking of what they want to achieve during the remainder of the year - increased membership, more focused service, increased giving to The Rotary Foundation and an enhanced public image in the community.   
Future leaders will be thinking about what they would like to achieve to build on the work of their predecessors.   We wish DGE Mitchell Brown and Fiona all the very best for their training in San Diego in January.  Assistant Governors and President’s Elect will be planning to attend the South Pacific Presidents Elect Training Seminar in Auckland over the first weekend in March. 
We have been impressed with the huge amount of service all Rotarians, and in many cases your partners, are providing to your communities, some of which I have managed to capture in my blog.  Even right up to Christmas, Rotarians have been out in their communities wrapping presents, collecting for local food banks, selling raffle tickets and providing presents for those in need.  
We would like to thank you for your passion, commitment, support and friendship.  But now it is time for all of us to have a rest with family and recharge our batteries for next year.       
Denise and I wish you and your families all the very best for the holiday season and we trust that the New Year will bring you even more satisfying opportunities in Rotary.