New Tai­hape Ro­tary pres­i­dent reach­ing out

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - ALISTER BROWNE

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.

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