Looking Forward
As I write what will be the last Bulletin for the year there is no doubt that Covid lockdowns have impacted on our club.
The fellowship that we enjoy as Rotarians has been one casualty
Fortunately  with vaccination rates in Auckland now some of the best in the world things are looking up.  There are however still restrictions in place and that has impacted on our ability to access our normal meeting venues.
Fingers are crossed that come the end of January most of those barriers will have gone and we will be able to meet in person as a group again.
It's likely that rules around vaccination and vaccination passports will still be in place so some challenges will remain. 
I hope that families are able to get together over Christmas and New Year and have the sort of fun that makes it possible to forget the trials of the past months. 
A month of Giving
Dec 01, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021
Rotary Disease Prevention and Treatment Month
Dec 01, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021
Christmas Day
Dec 25, 2021
Boxing Day
Dec 26, 2021
New Year's Day
Jan 01, 2022
Day after New Years Day
Jan 02, 2022
Auckland Anniversary
Jan 31, 2022
View entire list
Guest Speaker
On Monday night, and what is hopefully our last meeting by Zoom, James Davies recounted his experience on RYLA and confirmed for members why that is such a worthwhile program. 
James entered the program with little knowledge of the challenges ahead but noted that being kept in the dark helped build up anticipation.  He was not to be disappointed.
An emphasis on public speaking and access to many great speakers that included Michelle Dickenson [possibly better known as Nano girl], Cam Calkoen and Murray Thom helped the week off to a great start.
One speaker in particular, Kevin Bigger, resonated with James. Kevin who with fellow adventurer, Jamie Fitzgerald took part in the world’s toughest endurance event, the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race, and trekking trekking unsupported to the South Pole. Using those experiences Kevin talked about the power of the human mind and how to deal with self-doubt. 
RYLA places a lot of emphasis on working as part of a team but never the less it came as a surprise when part way through the final presentation the Army arrived gave participants 45 minutes to pack the gear they would need the upcoming physical challenge and then put everyone in new teams. A two hour walk in the pouring rain followed by the construction of  a shelter using just a tarpaulin and some ropes , three hours sleep, up at 4.00 am and into thirty hours of challenges. 
James evaluation was that it was awesome – “we were tired, wet and hungry but it was great.” 
The final day is the traditional community day and James group packed boxes for the Salvation Army. As often happens the bonds built in such an intense and shared experience continue well after the RYLA experience is finished . This has included further support for the Salvation Army packing food boxes over the lockdown. 
The rest of James year has involved a successful two semesters doing Structural Engineering at Auckland University. 
Food Bank assistance
Following discussion between Rotarians including Peter Taylor and Peter Hawkins,  Lauri set up  a collection for food items to donate to a food bank using the back-boot of his car. 
Laurie reported that he finished up with 100 items with around 25 people making donations.
Those items have been donated to the Salvation Army.
The model used, which other members will be encouraged to replicate,  involves placing a flier in the letter boxes on your street inviting neighbours to donate items by placing them in the back-boot of car that will be parked in a designated place at a predetermined time.
A great way to support our local community and to promote Rotary.  
Sculpture Project. 
A small but keen group recently visited our sculpture project artist,  Dion, at his workshop/studio in Kumeu.
Its a lovely spot which unfortunately is also low lying and suffered when the recent floods went through that area. 
Damaged equipment that had to be replaced prevented work on the sculpture, adding to the issues of the Covid induced very long lead in times  in sourcing the specialised stainless steel the project requires. 
Never the less the project is now back on track and we are certain that this is going to be a work of art that both the Council and Pakuranga Rotary Club can be very proud of. The shape members are standing behind is one of three arms that will be clad in stainless steel and will have the smaller birds attached to that. Those three arms are then attached to a central pole and will be able to rotate and move. The total structure will be around 6 meters tall. 
We managed to restrain Peter from donning the wielding mask or grabbing the grinder and assisting Dion. 
Some humour