Rod Kestle gave us an update on club member Phil Aish’s incredible work assisting with the cyclone Gabrielle recovery. He outlined how Phil was pivotal in the recent successful ‘Tractor Trek’ in the Waikato during which he was hospitalised a number of times over past weeks. Despite his health issues Phil had a burning desire to help the victims of Gabrielle and offered the use of his three heavy duty tractors/excavators in the cleanup and remediation of property in the Hawkes Bay area along with his own labour. As a farmer he is only too fully aware of the anguish the farming community is currently going through.
Transportation of the machines necessitated a 600 kms trip via Fielding and a bill of $6,100 which was raised by Rod and a team of generous supporters.
Rod showed pictures of Phil driving a 20-tonne excavator on a farm repairing a washed out culvert, road and a river crossing which were preventing the local farmer from moving his stock. He described the job as very challenging and at times ‘white knuckle’ stuff working on slippery and unstable land. Phil has indicated he is prepared to stay along with his machines for up to 6-months if necessary.
According to Rod, Phil is working 6-days a week, and living in a caravan. Despite the long hours he is coping well, however Rod is concerned about Phil’s health and has asked the Stortford Lodge Rotary Club to keep a close watch on him. Likewise Rod feels our Club could support him in the form of ongoing communication which would be welcomed by Phil. While cell phone coverage is very good Rod urged members to support Phil by send him texts to which he would respond after finishing his days work.
Rod also asked if the Club could provide financial help to the tune of $6,000 to transport the machines home on completion of the job. Acting President Barry Stafford challenged Club members and proposed we top up the recent ‘Shades’ concert collection which raised $4,000 to a total of $12,000 and read out the following resolution:
‘That the Rotary Club of Maungakiekie at its meeting on 27 March , 2023
- Commend member Phil Aish for the initiative he ahs taken to assist directly with storm and flood relief in Hawkes Bay in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Stortford Lodge, and
- Request the Trustees of the Club ‘s Charitable Trust to set aside $12,000 as a storm and flood relief fund to provide relief as Phil requires.
The resolution was seconded and passed by acclamation by members present.
In the ensuing discussion the Trustee said it was important we signal to Phil our support for him, and that the Trust fund has sufficient funds in hand to cover the $12,000. It was suggested in the circumstances we should also provide a personal location beacon as a safety function.
Barry introduced the three 17-yr old students who are in their final year at High School. The original five applicants were interviewed by club members George Arulanantham, Derek Neutze, Bill Grayson and Barry Stafford. The final three, here tonight, were selected by the Forum Administrator and his team. The club part funded each student with a $1,500 donation that went towards the $2,195 two-week course fee for accommodation and meals.
All three thanked the club very much for sponsoring them and related their experiences to club members. After their speeches, Barry presented each student with a copy of the book Onehunga’s Changing Foreshore written by Stephen Lasham and sponsored by our club.
A summary of the student presentation follows:
Katrice didn’t know what to expect from the two-weeks and was a little apprehensive but said it did sounded like a good opportunity to learn something.
She said she felt well at ease during the interview with club members who “saw me as an individual”. Looking forward to her first day at Uni, Katrice found she was the first to arrive.
Three years ago, the thought of going to Uni was scary but during the course was sparked by a willingness to learn. Initially, Katrice said, that while she felt outside of her comfort zone, she did feel comfortable nonetheless and for the fist time felt she “was enough”. Katrice said she learnt it is OK to fail whereas before she was afraid of failure and now is willing to challenge herself more..
Katrice introduced club members to a word association game. The word was “blood” and over 2-minutes members had to write down the sequence of images the word bought to mind. Three members were asked what they wrote:
- Barry: Blood (5-6 words) blood banks
- ??: Blood …… nurse
- Noel: Blood …… survive
- (Ed): Blood …… many colours
Everyone came up with a difference sequence of words and the lesson learnt being “everyone thinks differently”.
Katrice added some more lessons she learnt:
- Nobody can define what you can and can’t do.
- It isn’t a question of whether you can or can’t do it, but whether you’re willing to put in the work, be brave enough to overcome adversity and resilient enough to block out the voices that say you can’t.
- When you find joy in something, never let it go.
Natasha has a curious nature and a thirst for knowledge and enjoys maths and science.
She’d love to be the first person to cure cancer or invent a robot that can perform heart surgery so people can get the absolute most out of life.
At the start of the Uni course students were formed into teams where a lot of bonding occurred especially during the volleyball competitions.
Natasha learned not to put too much pressure on herself. She really enjoyed the lectures on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and during the chemistry lecture she learnt one only really learns from doing things wrong then correcting them. Other activities the did ranged from lifting finger prints, obtaining DNA from fruit, to participating in a “Dragon’s Den” where their team had to come up with a concept to increase the Auckland city speed limit to 60-70km/hr – considered the most fuel efficient speed for a motor car. They also made cottage cheese which they had to consume and got to look close up at bacteria. Unfortunately (and fortunately) on the final day Natasha caught COVID.
Natasha found she gained a much better idea of the direction she wants her studies to go and paid special tribute to the Post Grad students there who were very good and made everything that much more interesting.
Kaydence from the “Blue Team” said, “During my school studies, I found that very few students studied both Psychology and Statistics, and even fewer were of Pacific descent. This alone was enough motivation for me to contribute to the growing representation of Pacific students, and to open opportunities to support Pacific communities in my chosen fields.”
During the course they all had to get up at 5 a.m. for the morning fitness programme which came as a bit of a shock to many as they were pushed to complete the courses.
University was not what Kaydence was expecting and sitting in on lectures was very eye opening. The Advisors there were very energetic, supportive, and provided much encouragement.
Kaydence initially didn’t have much interested in biology or AI technology but during the two weeks became much more aware of each subject and was amazed at how much the world already uses AI today.
Craig Jones came up with the original idea after approaching David Seymour, Member for Epsom, ACT Party, at a fair one year.
Craig asked David if as ACT Party Leader he would consider delivering his annual State of the Nation speech at a Rotary Charity Dinner event – as a Guest Speaker. David agreed and the rest is history.
This year’s event took place on 23rd Feb at the Sorrento in The Park, One Tree Hill. There were 109 guests and was a great start and with more publicity has potential to grow.
A great night was had by all and was topped off with a successful Auction then followed by an informative Q&A session.
Craig wanted to extend his thanks to Barry “a most able MC for the night”, Gary for handling the admin and “putting up with countless calls from me”. Bruce on accounts, Tony for coming up with our graphics, Paul for erecting the banners and Club Members Craig badgered into coming along with mates to fill tables.
David has committed to the next two years and the club is already looking forward to a bigger and brighter occasion next year.
Rod Kestle introduced fellow member Phil Aish who has been a neighbour for 41-years. Rod shared a particular story involving a noisy bull parked overnight in a trailer outside Phil’s place in their residential area that led to a complaint to the Police who stated “you can’t park that here”. The ever-resourceful Phil promised to sort it out and snuck the bull into nearby Cornwall Park, with no one any the wiser.
Both Rod and Phil are committed Christians and have worked together on many projects including Vanuatu.
Phil recapped on his association with Tractor Treks which started back in February 2018. (For a recap on Phil’s background please refer to Newsletter No.100 11 July 2022 – Ed)
This the Trek visited 22-schools in the Waikato district and had a good amount of publicity aided by David Hume who has a Journalistic background and had Cat appear on a Morning radio show.
While tractors were the main point of interest even to rural kids Phil’s Humee also attracted attention where on one occasion 32-kids managed to jam themselves in. Along the way they stopped and spoke at Rotary Clubs and took every opportunity to promote the cause (Childrens Mental Health and Wellbeing) and promote the Rotary organisation.
Every tractor had a Rotary sign on the front with the drivers wearing the familiar bright green hi-vis Feelings for Life jackets.
The weather was bad at times but didn’t deter the Deputy Mayor of Cambridge turning up along with drenched kids who still enjoyed the day.
Rod said, Cat drove her tractor in the morning and he it in the afternoon. Along the way they met a man who said his son committed suicide at 45-yrs just showing that mental health can happen at any age.
Rod emphasised Members need to get behind Cat and continue to support her as much as we can.
Cat wanted to share the 3-important stats relating to Child mental wellbeing in NZ and each of which has personally impacted Cat personally.
- 1-in-4 children will experience mental health issues before they’re 18-yrs
- 50% of mental health issues start at the age of 12-yrs
- 15 young people are hospitalised with self-harm every day in NZ
Cat has already trained 250-teachers and spoken to over 5,500-children this year already and will shortly be visiting 16-schools in Northland in March & April this year as part of The Rotary Foundation sponsored Te Tai Tokerau Tamariki Mental Wellbeing Project (launched this week on 3rd March 2023 at the Mania View School, Whangārei).
Part of the planning of the Waikato Tractor Trek involved the local Rotary Clubs contacting their local schools and booking a time for Cat to visit them.
Cat is having an impact on schools who are now including Cat’s course material alongside the Ministry of Education Positive Behaviour for Learning scheme (PB4L). Find out more about PB4L here: https://pb4l.tki.org.nz/
Next year’s Tractor Trek planning is already underway which will be in Papamoa, Western Bay of Plenty.
Gary thanked Phil, Cat and Rod and commented on how many things Phil has achieved in his 76-yrs and more recent years.
Barry Stafford presented Deidre Shea a gift from the club and who later this week will be retiring after 30-years at Onehunga High School (OHS) – 15-years as Principal.
On Friday Deidre will be handing over to Ms Shameen Hayat who in earlier years spent time at OHS as a Teacher Trainee.
Barry highlighted how very fortunate our club was to have Deidre as a member and for club members to have be invited bi-annually to OHS for dinner meetings.
Barry also recognised Club member Ernie Meyer for his ongoing involvement at the school providing Operational Support for the Building and Construction Dept., whose students assist with the build of a 4-bedroom house each year for Habitat for Humanity.
It was noted Deidre assisted Bill Greyson in getting students into The Rotary National Science & Technology Forum to be held at the Auckland University 7-21 January 2023.
Members and Barry stood and wished Deidre all the very best with a resounding round of applause.
Deidre responded thanking the club in return, saying “the difference the club has made to the school is awe inspiring”. She loved her job and will be moving into some part-time rolls both here and in government.
Principal Hayat will be joining the club soon as she has settled in, which we all look forward to.
The Christmas Parade on 3rd December was attended by club members Cat Levine and dad Phil Aish who drove his candy-ised Humvee while club members assisted with crowd control.
The monsta Humvee was decked out with Christmas bling and signs promoting our Club and the Feelings For Life Tractor Trek 2023 due to kick off in the Waikato on the 12th February. The Trek raises funds to make the video resources for Children’s Mental Health education in schools which is an element in the delivery of Cat’s Rotary Foundation sponsored Te Tai Tokerau Mental Wellbeing Northland Project which kicks off at the Manaia View School, Raumanga, Whangarei on the 3rd March 2023.
The Club had an overwhelming response from the public who donated around 20,0000 books that filled 624-boxes. A very wide range of reading material was received along with CDs and kids games.
The most popular genres were: Fiction (54% of all books), History, Biography, Non-fiction, Children’s, Sport, NZ, Art, Gardening. Net takings was over $12,000, up 3% from 2021 which will go directly into the community project Trust Account.
Early on Saturday, Book Buyers were lined up ready for the $20 Early bird session. The intermittent rain didn’t fail to dampen the public buying spirit that followed evidenced by the arm loads of fiction and banana-box-bargains.
The Kid’s Yellow Digger was ‘sold’ to a very generous lady who placed a last minute bid of $100.
A big thank you to the Team of 40 who contributed their time (and sore backs) hauling, stacking, sorting books for the weeks leading up to the event; the ladies who provided the baking supplies that kept the troops going for the two days; to Reido, Gwynyth, Lloyd, Bruce, Noel, Phil, Tiki, Peter M, and Barry. Not forgetting Rhett and his van and Johnny Tapu’s lads who magic’d away a good selection of remaining books that will be destined for the Pacific; to The Alford Family Trust; Matt and Sarah for their trailer; Paul for organising the tables; Tony and the Board of the Community House for putting up with us disrupting their wonderful facility.
Bill and Barry have made the executive decision of booking the facility to do it all again same time, same place, next year!
Tournament of Minds (TOM) is a problem solving program for teams of students from both primary and secondary years. Tournament’s aim is to enhance the potential of our youth by developing diverse skills, enterprise, time management, and the discipline to work collaboratively within a challenging and competitive environment.
They are required to solve demanding, open-ended challenges from several disciplines: The Arts, Science/Technology/Engineering/Maths, Languages/Literacy, Social Sciences
President Quentin welcomed a special visit from six delightful youngsters (Team Kevin) from the Royal Oak Intermediate School along with their teachers, parents and supporters who presented a report after participating in the TOM competition at the Australian National University, Canberra (our Club part sponsored pupils travel and accommodation).
The TOM competition involved Teams of Australian and Kiwi pupils from Primary and Intermediate level who are given an open-ended challenge and the briefest of instructions, to come up with a solution. After a specific time, the team then must, in 10-minutes, present their challenge solution to a panel of judges, and explain how they completed their task.
The trip was not all work and there was also time to explore the sights and sounds of Australia’s attractive Federal Capital.
Team “Kevin” presented President Quentin a very nice thank you card and note to the Club for its support.
District 9910 Governor Matt McLeod along with immediate Past District Governor Grant Smith recently visited Vanuatu which is part of our District.
On 14th November Matt handed a gift of books to the Tasirikiri Pre-Primary School on Moso Island. The school is located just off the Havannah coast of north Efate and approx 45-minutes or 30kms from Port Vila.
The school has 150-pupils from preschool age up. The reading books were funded by our club and organised by member George Arulanantham (Chair International Grants & Projects) who in turn coordinated with Asok Kumar President of Port Vila Rotary.
The books were purchased from Read Pacific run by Rae Mckean whose family have been supplying educational material to the Pacific Islands for 30-years.