Auckland Airport Rotary Club prepares for Multicultural Festival

Officials and members of the Rotary Club of Auckland Airport at a Quiz Contest at which they won the Second Prize. The picture here features Matthew Koshy, Preeti Singh, Amitesh Singh, Guy Slocum, Ravin Shankar, Robin Ritchie (Back Row); Keith Tetzlaff (President) and Karandeep Kaur (Front).

Guy Slocum
Auckland, June 24, 2024

The Rotary Club of Auckland Airport Inc is gearing up for another event of its famous Multicultural Festival, an annual event much loved by different members of the Auckland community.

Auckland Rotary (to give it the name by which it is most known) is, despite the name, a regional club that draws its members from as far afield as North Shore and Weymouth.

Like all other Rotary clubs, we are pledged to improve the lives of those who live in our local communities. That ranges from raising money for good causes to addressing the development needs of our younger generation.

We like to promote the notion that we do not just talk about community needs but that we are people of action who create change for good.

The Beginning

Rotary International was started by Chicago Lawyer Paul Harris on 23 February 1905.

Paul had grown up in a small Midwest town where everybody knew each other, and inter-family camaraderie was widespread. Working as a lawyer in Chicago, he was frustrated by the lack of a similar ethic in the big city, especially as he knew that there was a great need among the poorer families.

Meeting with three friends and one of their offices they resolved to form a charitable club to provide service within the community. They called the Club ‘Rotary’ because they rotated their meetings around the four offices.

Word spread rapidly through the legal community and using the model created by the four friends, clubs sprang up right across the United States.

Rapid growth

Growth was so rapid that, within five years of formation, they were able to run, in 1910, their first convention at which it was decided that to create cohesion among the clubs, they should form the ‘National Association of Rotary Clubs.’

One year later, on 22 February 1912, the first Rotary Club outside North America was formed in Dublin, Ireland. This trend continued at such a rapid rate that, later in 1912, the name was changed to “The International Association of Rotary Clubs.”

Surprisingly, growth even continued through World War I and, in 1922 the organisation had become so global that the name was shortened to Rotary International, the name we still have today.

Currently, the global membership is just over 1.4 million caring individuals in over 360,000 clubs worldwide.

Eradicating Polio

People ask what the Rotary does; three representative examples would be the following:

International Projects: in 1985, Rotary International set out to eradicate Polio by immunising the world population of children.

At the time, 127 countries were polio endemic. Today, there are just two.

All clubs have contributed money to polio eradication every year, and, to date, over US$ 1.1 billion has been collected towards this cause.

Regional Projects: a few years ago, the Oceania Region, of which Airport Rotary is a member, embarked on a plan to set up child immunisation clinics on six Pacific Islands where the practice was virtually non-existent.

Today, all six islands have their immunisation clinics, trained nurses and a system for training nurse replacements when the need arises.

Local Projects: Auckland Airport Rotary discovered a few years ago that a local School was desperately short of iPads.

Working with the school, the Club mobilised local businesses and ran a festival on the school grounds. Approximately $7000 was raised during the festival, mainly from food cooked and sold by parents and a raffle of items provided by local businesses.

A Rotary Grant raised the final sum to over $11,000 which allowed the club to present several iPads to the school.

About the Multicultural Festival

The idea of a multicultural Festival came out of the Covid lockdowns when disagreements between families, colleagues and associates spawned a divided society quite unlike the Kiwi togetherness of pre-Covid years.

Applying their usual dynamic approach, the members of Auckland Rotary got together and produced, three years ago, many ethnicities gathered in Bucklands Beach Hall to celebrate their togetherness and understand the positive nature of each different ethnicity. To deliver this aim all partygoers brought a dish that represented the food most served in the home of their ethnicity. Throughout the evening the team organised acts, displays and other presentations representing the various ethnicities present. The performers included Thai Dancers, Chinese Singers, Maori Dancers and a host of other acts – often brilliantly performed by troops of Children.

Although the original event was designed to be a one-off show to start the healing of a divided society, the universal opinion of all those who attended was that it should continue as an annual event. Delighted with this success, the members of Airport Rotary accepted the challenge, and the next show will be on 12 October 2024.

Please mark your diaries now and be sure to think about the dish you will bring.

We will start the event at 6 pm on 12 October at Bucklands Beach Memorial Hall, 48, The Parade, Bucklands Beach. Ample parking is available.

Guy Slocum is the Past President and current Membership Chair of the Rotary Club Auckland Airport Inc. The above article and the accompanying photograph were sent by the Club. 

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