Rotarians extend their vocational service into the community in many ways. Working for the New Zealand Community, who initiated the following?
- Who started The Crippled Children’s Society in New Zealand?
- Who built the first Karitane Hospital?
- Who organised the first mobile TB clinic?
- Who started Milk in Schools?
- Who began the first Health Camps?
- Who brought Defensive Driving Courses to New Zealand?
- Who extended Heritage throughout New Zealand?
- Who began the National Kidney Foundation?
- Who began the Riding for Disabled?
- Who began the Asthma Society?
- Who began the National Children’s Health Research Foundation?
If you answered Rotary to each of these questions, you would be right. Many of the early activities of Rotary are now lost in the midst of history.
It is recognised Rotary attracts individuasls from private enterprise, who are particularly good at making things happen, quickly.
Many of the following Rotary initiatives have morfed into another charity or organisation operating under a different name and not necessarily carrying the Rotary brand. These endeavours were enabled by the efforts of common, community minded, good hearted citizens, not held back by bureaucracy, but well organised, business minded and with the ability to ‘quickly make things happen’.
In 1945 the Rotary Club of Auckland established the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Committee which led to the equivalent of $200,000 being raised to endow a Professional Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland and eventually to the establishment of National Women’s Hospital.
In 1961 the same club, with the support of the Governor General Viscount Cobham, industrialist Wolf Fisher and others formed the Outward Bound Trust.
To recognise the Golden Jubilee of Rotary in New Zealand in 1971 the National Child Health Research Foundation was established and significant funding towards the Chair of Paediatrics at the Auckland Medical School was initiated.
In 1938 Sir John McKenzie established the J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund. Rotary Clubs administer the Fund in the major cities. The Youth Education Fund is however dwarfed by the J R McKenzie Trust, established by Sir John in 1940. This Trust is professionally administered, with Rotarians being prominent amongst the trustees and Sir John’s son Sir Roy McKenzie has continued the outstanding benevolence of the family through both his Rotary and community activities. By the end of 1998 the JR McKenzie Trust had given over $37,500.000 to worthy community organisations.
Many communities have adventure play grounds, fitness trails and walkways provided by Rotary clubs. You will see Community Police driving vehicles carrying a Rotary wheel, and similar vans driven by other community organisations. Fire engines have “Jaws of Life” and sophisticated heat seeking equipment funded by Rotarians.
The Ellerslie Flower Show, the largest flower show in the Southern Hemisphere is a project initiated by the Rotary Club of Auckland.
The Martinborough Fair was a Rotary initiaitve and still run by them.
RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) originated in Australia following a tragic car crash that claimed the lives of four teenaged boys in Dural, a suburb in northwest Sydney, in July 2000. The accident occurred when the 17-year-old driver, who had recently obtained his provisional license, collided head-on with a 4WD vehicle. The car carrying the teenagers was estimated to have been travelling at 110 km/h in a 60 km/h zone and was virtually torn in two on impact. Three Rotarians were key to the start of RYDA. The RYDA programme is now operated by the independent not-for-profit organisation, Road Safety Education Limited (RSE).
Rotary’s most ambitious undertaking, announced in 1985, is the PolioPlus programme. Rotary spearheaded this initiative with a pilot project in the Philippines in 1979. Rotary has partnered with WHO (World Health Organisation) UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and CDC (USA Centre for Diseases) to eradicate this disease.