In 1996 I started business as a sole practitioner from a home based studio. This involved weeks of isolation, never leaving my home and very little contact with people outside of my family and visiting clients. After two years I started to look for an organisation or group to join and attended a couple to “try them out”. They all left me feeling a little hollow and dissatisfied about their purpose. About the same time I met Rex Merrick and he mentioned his Rotary Club to me, the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise. I attended once, and felt an immediate connection with the people and the purpose of Rotary.
Whilst still in my twenties at the time, the newly formed club had a much younger age group than other clubs and a good mix of both genders, which I later found out, was new territory for Rotary. Being part of Rotary over the years has provided me and my family with many good memories. I cherish the friendships and relationships we have developed over the years through club events, community organisations and international exchange students. I am very proud of the efforts of our small club over the years. We have managed, organised, volunteered and assisted in many local and international programs that have made a lasting positive difference to people’s lives.
An experience I will never forget is being a volunteer safety marshal for a national rally car event. While standing on a corner, a group of teenagers were enjoying the spectacle. A conversation was struck between the group and me. One of the youngsters asked, “How’d you get to be a Marshal?” to which I replied, “Though my Rotary Club.” The group exploded with a hum of admiration, “Cool”, “Awesome” and “Cher”. I immediately thought, “Wow, the power of Rotary and the good we do is really getting deep in the community if these youngsters are so appreciative”. A few moments later one of the youths asked, “So what kind of Rotary do you drive?” I then spent the next twenty minutes educating them on Rotary the service club.
While the balance between family, business and Rotary can sometimes have challenges, I have always taken a long term view. All of the little contributions I can make over many years will hopefully add up to a lot in the end. I will be a Rotarian for life.