Rotary International’s highest honour has been awarded to a Rotarian in our District for the first time in 21 years, and for only the third time ever in our District.
PDG Pat Waite QSM, JP, of Tawa Rotary was awarded Rotary’s Service Above Self Award by Rotary International President Ian Riseley in Feilding on Tuesday 6 March.
As Whanganui Daybreak Rotary reported on their Facebook page, “As Martin Garcia and Tony Fryer read through the list of Pat's achievements, both in Rotary and in other areas of life, the story of an extraordinary man was revealed”.
 Pat was taken totally by surprise, although his wife Melva had been given a heads up so that their sons Paul, Brett and Craig could also surprise Pat when the award was announced. Pat said that he “had no warning nor anticipated such an award. Indeed I kept thinking of people in the room that I would feel could be worthy candidates, not thinking for a minute that it would me. I am enormously humbled to have received the Award from my fellow Rotarian World President Ian Riseley from Australia”.
Pat, with the support of Melva, has played many roles in Rotary at the international, regional, national, district and Club levels.  As Rotary District 9940 Governor in 2007/08, Pat set up a Taskforce on Family Violence that focused on connecting Rotary with government organisations to address the serious problem of domestic violence in New Zealand.  Both he and Melva participated in Polio National Immunisation Days in India in 2009 and 2011  Pat was the District 9940 Rotary International Council on Legislation Representative in 2013 and  2016 and  they both were Training Leaders for the January 2018 International Assembly in San Diego.
In addition to his Rotary life, Pat has held several high profile positions in the business and charitable sectors, helping many organisations succeed over a long period of time.  He is currently Interim Chief Executive of New Zealand Land Search & Rescue and Deputy Chair of Diabetes New Zealand.  For many years he has used his time to help Rotary and other organisations who are serving New Zealand communities and who need his governance, financial and practical knowledge and skills to achieve their goals.
For more information about the impressive work Pat has done in the community and for Rotary please read this media release.
Pat knew both of the only two previous recipients of the Service Above Self Award, the late Sir Roy McKenzie of the Rotary Club of Wellington, in 1996, and the late Ray Harriss of the Rotary Club of Tawa, in 1997.
This award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide, and no more than one from each district, each year.  There are 532 districts in Rotary.
For more information about awards in Rotary please read the awards page on
Pat and Melva with their sons and RI President Ian Riseley