My Story – John Prentice

Paul Harris Fellow Award

I became aware of Rotary in the early 1970’s while working at Precision Plastics Ltd in Mount Albert, Auckland. My employer was one of three partners that owned Precision Plastics Ltd and I had noted that he always went to his Rotary meeting on Thursdays at lunch time . I had worked my way up in this company from working in the tool room repairing plastic moulds, moving into production over a period of years, and then on to Plant Manager overseeing 140 employees and responsible for every thing to run a factory except finance and sales.

In 1978 at the age of 39 I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Mount Albert Rotary Club. I have to say that I felt very privileged to be asked to join such an important organisation that wants to make a difference to disadvantaged people across the world, along with the fellowship that comes with belonging to a Rotary Club. This led to a very rewarding 8 years as a younger member, as the other members were in the 50 plus age bracket so my first 3 years I was very much involved with the local strong Rotoract club including Youth Director for a year. In the following years I held various positions of Sergeant, Secretary Incoming President, President 1984, and Immediate Past President 1985. One of the highlights during our involvement was our daughter Nicola being selected for a matched twin exchange with Leanne from Batlow NSW. In 1985 a major topic within Rotary was whether to allow women to become members. During 1985 we moved from Mount Albert to live in a new house built on our lifestyle properly between Puhoi and Waiwera, so at the end of the 1985 Rotary year I resigned because of the 50km travel and new commitments.

That ended my involvement with Rotary until November 2010, when I joined the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise. During the intervening years I still had involvement with service clubs as a partner while my wife Beverley was involved with firstly Altrusa and then Silverdale Lions and this suited me as I had a very busy working life. We moved to Rotorua in 2003 to retire and with a commitment not to work for money again, we became involved with various charity work. The main one of these was the Waiariki Women’s Refuge where Bev was Chairperson for several years and I assisted as required. When it was suggested to me by Noel Lamberton, the current president of Sunrise Rotary, that I should consider joining the Sunrise Club it suited very well as I needed a new interest. Instead of being the youngest in this club I became one of the oldest. This decision was a very good move as I was accepted, and found myself in a younger, mixed-sex club that is dynamic, forward thinking and very active in the community. Best of all a whole lot of new friends. My main focus over these past 3 years has been the establishment and ongoing management of Charity’s, our clubs retail shop selling new gifts, cards and toys. The shop is run by community volunteers and club members, and all profits go to Rotorua Charities.