June is Fellowship month in the Rotary calendar.  It is a time to celebrate the many achievements that Rotarians and clubs have achieved in District 9920 and beyond.  It is also time to get ready for club and district changeovers.
Now that the government has extended maximum meeting numbers to 100, some clubs are starting the journey to return to physical meetings.  While good progress has been made to crush COVID-19, precautions still need to be taken to prevent a resurgence of the virus.  The question for many clubs is to meet or not to meet.  I have been asked for advice and my response is that it is a decision that each club needs to make based on their unique circumstances.  The government guidelines on meeting numbers and physical distancing need to be factored into each decision.  Each club must assess the ability of the meeting venue to meet these requirements and they also need to consider the membership age profile of the club.  The other consideration is whether the members are ready to return.  Several clubs are trying out a hybrid meeting with a smaller group meeting and the speaker and members able to join by Zoom.
Over the last month I have visited twenty-four clubs who have been holding online Zoom meetings.  It has been wonderful to revisit clubs that Jan and I had the opportunity to visit before COVID-19.  It’s been great to see clubs actively engaging with members, hosting visitors and speakers and finding ways to assist those in need in the community.  The use of technology will be part of the new normal when we emerge from COVID-19.
Rotary International has advised that due to the current situation with COVID-19 their staff are working from home.  As a result, the physical delivery of Paul Harris Fellows (PHF) pins and certificates will be delayed.  RI will instead be providing electronic digital certificates and digital pins which can be awarded by clubs on-line via social media platforms.  This will be followed by the actual PHF pins and certificates when the RI staff return and it is safe to ship.
Clubs are reminded that District Foundation and End Polio Now contributions need to be sent to District as the close off date for collection and sending on to Rotary Foundation is less than two weeks away.
The District 9920 AGM is to be held by Zoom at 8.30 am on Saturday, 27 June.  This is a statutory meeting that needs to be held before the end of the Rotary year.  The AGM has normally been held at the district leaders-elect meeting or the district conference.  Both were cancelled due to COVID-19.  The Notice of Meeting has been sent to all clubs in the district and each club needs to nominate a representative to attend the meeting.  Pre-registration is required due to restricted numbers and these need to be sent to the District Secretary Mark Biggs who will advise the meeting link.
As part of the centennial celebrations planned for 2021, Rotary has commissioned a book, Mana Tangata: People of Action.  This landmark book will tell the Rotary story, its service in the community, its place in New Zealand and the South Pacific for the past 100 years and how it is changing to go on into the future.  The author is Dr Stephen Clarke, an independent historian who also wrote After the War, the story of the Returned Services Association in New Zealand.  Publication will be in early 2021. The recommended retail price is $49.95 (including GST).  Clubs or individuals can order a carton of 12 copies for $417 (plus GST) from: https://historybook.rotaryoceania.zone.
Last month I was privileged to attend the presentation by PDG Ingrid Waugh of Paul Harris Fellows (PHFs) to Ron and Leslie Goodey.  Ron was awarded two PHFs; one from the Rotary Club of Auckland and the other from Rotary District 9920.  Leslie was awarded a PHF by the District.  Ron recently retired after over 30 years as a trustee of the Harold Thomas Rotary Trust.  Ron was an ear, nose and throat specialist who helped thousands of people, gain or regain, their hearing and pioneered the cochlear implant or bionic ear surgery.  Both Ron and Leslie have provided significant service to the hearing impaired and have been committed to the ideals of the trust to assist children in need in both NZ and the Pacific Islands.  The Harold Thomas Rotary Trust is a great source of inspiration and funding for clubs.
I was delighted to read this morning in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, that Professor Bob Elliott was awarded a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) for services to medical research.  Bob is a member of the Rotary Club of Remuera.  In 1971 after receiving a grant from Rotary, Professor Elliott and Dr Brian Caughey founded the Child Health Research Foundation, today known as Cure Kids.  Cure Kids is the largest funder of child health research outside of the government.  Professor Elliott also invented a treatment for a fatal form of congenital heart disease and a newborn screening test for cystic fibrosis, both of which are used worldwide to this day.
Gary Langford
District Governor 2019-20