New Taihape Rotary president reaching out
At 10 members, Taihape’s Rotary club isn’t the biggest in the world but new president Michael Andrews has big plans.
He’s out to break the ‘‘male, pale and stale’’ mould he says is causing the service club organisation to lose members as the public’s interest in what it does fades away or is distracted by other activities.
It is a process that has begun in Taihape with the membership of a 27-year-old Malay doctor, he said.
Andrews, who hails from the smoked marlin and kumara country of Ruawai in Northland, has only been in Taihape for five years after moving south to be nearer his grandchildren, who live in Wellington.
He said to prevent Rotary’s decline from becoming terminal, it had to reach out to the young people in the community and make it relevan to people’s lives.
To that end he’s got involved in athletics at Taihape Area School while at the same time aiming to boost a junior Rotary movement at the school.
Andrews said he also planned on visiting all seven of the rural schools in the Taihape hinterland so he could get a handle on what the kids were interested in and what Rotary might have to offer them.
Another sign that Rotary was picking up in Taihape was the ‘‘friends of Rotary’’ group that had started up.
These were people - 52 at last count - who stayed in touch via email to see what projects or speakers Rotary had coming up.
Andrews said Rotary had ‘‘huge’’ revenues worldwide, which had enabled it to help wipe out polio, for example.
But a lot of service clubs around the country were getting smaller as their members grew older, which made their future uncertain unless they refreshed both their membership and what they did for their communities.
Andrews has only recently taken over as president at a handover function in Mangaweka, so wasn’t ready yet to discuss future projects.
‘‘I’ll be in touch,’’ Andrews said.
Mitchell Brown with Michael Andrews, and his children Tamsin, left, Kezia, and Simon.