With pleasure I reflect that ten years ago, almost to the day, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Botany East Tamaki. The evening was memorable for a great many reasons. Firstly, having completed my 25 years in the Fire Service, I was looking for a new service organisation to work with. So a new career of sorts was developing. Secondly, I felt that I had found a second family.
I was welcomed into the club knowing full well that I wasn’t going to be around much in the early years. Then following Glyn’s nomination, the club inducted me as a member on the first week of the year. PDG Stuart Searle welcomed me on behalf of Rotary International and on top of all this, I was the first new member for the district for a newly minted District Governor, my wife Leanne.
The first couple of years I was more a visitor than a member as 90% of my Rotary attendance was at other clubs in the district accompanying Leanne. Then suddenly I am President Elect and I am faced with the prospect that my crash course in Rotary gave me significant institutional knowledge on Rotary, but I had no idea how to run a club. Perhaps somewhat brainwashed in training I started down the new visionary path we were directed to. Only to find the inertia of change can be a challenge. So a big thanks to the 5 senior members who mentored me through this period must be given.
In my tenure at the club we’ve done some amazing things. Kokako Lodge would not be where it is without our assistance. Rongomai Park would not have 9/10s of a track if it wasn’t for Rotary. And a dig at the council here, it could have had 100%!! We’ve sponsored some great young leaders through various Rotary programs. We’ve given out hundreds of dictionaries to low decile schools. We’ve packed Emergency Response Kits. We’ve supporting inbound and outbound youth exchange students. And this is to name just a few of the activities that I have had the pleasure to support. Perhaps my favourite was the couple of years that we provided Christmas Gifts to the children who were unfortunate to spend their Christmas in Kids First Hospital @ Middlemore.
There has been tough times too. From the heady days of my Presidency where we had 26 active members, to our soon to be 6, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. But the stalwart membership core we have had in the last few years has pitched in and ensured that we still continue to support our local and international community. To my fellow club members, thank you for this service. May you all continue to support the club as it re-builds in a new era.
Five years ago we moved to the country and to some degree, I was expecting to move on to another Rotary club closer to home fairly soon after this. However, moving on is easier said than done. Having delayed this a number of times as we worked to stabilize and transform our club, I called the line in the sand at the start of this Rotary year. The time has come now for that change. So I sign off from our wonderful club with its rich history with a big thank you to the club and its members for enriching my life as we all strive to good things in this world.
Mike Jaggs