Posted by Peter Woodcock on Nov 14, 2017

Special guest and speaker this week was our very own District Governor Malini Raghwan, member of the Suva Rotary Club in Fiji.  It was interesting to hear that Malini’s induction into Rotary matters was as a RYLA participant in NZ some years ago.

A few challenges started the address.  First, to keep up the momentum of introducing more women into Rotary membership.  District 9920, with 28% women members is well ahead of the world average of 20% but there is still a way to go.

Secondly is the age issue – we were reminded that Paul Harris was only 37 when he founded Rotary – average age across NZ is in the 60s – and rising.  Rejuvenation Is essential if we are to pass on a  functioning legacy to future generations

Next is the need to up the ante in publicising what Rotary does – use the Rotary badge to connect with others and broaden the exposure where and when possible.

Malini gave sincere thanks for our involvement in the financing and assembly of Emergency Response Kits which have been so welcomed in past natural disasters in the Pacific. 500 such kits are in waiting for the next emergency which, with the approaching hurricane season, could come at any time.

With a universal Rotary emphasis on the environment, we were encouraged to keep up the tree planting activities, spearheaded by the Trees for Survival programme. Malini gave an insight into the initiative of her own club to support the spread of mangrove areas in the Islands as one means of protecting shores, homes and people in a scenario of rising sea levels.

There is a drive in place to find specific detail of volunteer time devoted to Rotary matters – to give statistical substance to a reality many of us are well aware of. Our club was encouraged to be in on this initiative.

In answer to a question about the number of Rotary Districts in our area, Malini stated that the question is being addressed and that current thinking is that the six districts could become three before too long.

Members could not help but be impressed by the sincerity, enthusiasm, dedication and graciousness of our DG who seems to be relishing her role, arduous though it may be – off to Tahiti later this week – and Alan Davies’ expression of thanks was warmly endorsed.