Closed lodge gives funds to hospital
Matamata Masonic Lodge has made a strong last impression, more than two years after going into recess.
Former member Graeme Waterson presented a cheque for more than $7000 to the Pohlen Foundation Trust at a men’s charity dinner last month.
“When we realised our local lodge was going to struggle we decided, reluctantly, to close our doors,” Mr Waterson said.
“We thought we would like to contribute something to the community and Pohlen would be as good a place as any to put our funds.”
Trust chairperson Lady Margaret Spring thanked a number of the former members at a small morning tea last week.
“We are just absolutely delighted that you have chosen us to give the money to,” she said.
“We have made huge steps in our fundraising and we would have a much harder job if we didn’t have the community behind us.”
The money would go towards the new wing project, she said.
Matamata Masonic Lodge made a number of contributions to Pohlen Hospital over the years, including the donation of two selfadministering drug pumps.
In 2009, a joint effort between the Lodge and Matamata Grey Power, along with a subsidy by Northern Masonic Trust, saw $ 12,000 raised for Pohlen.
Charity was one of the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, said Mr Waterson.
Matamata Masonic Lodge was formed in 1924.
Before this, Freemasons in the area had to travel by train to the nearest lodge in Tirau.
The longest standing member Brian Hickson joined the Matamata Lodge in 1957 and was a member for 53 years before its closure in February 2010.
There were many misconceptions about Freemasonry, which was neither a secret society nor a religion, he said.
“It’s a philosophy on life and it’s companionship.”
Freemasons donated huge amounts of money nationally and locally to research, education, and healthcare.
Because the society did not tend to promote itself, a lot of this work went unnoticed, said Mr Morris.
“We don’t like to blow our own trumpet.”
The money for donations came from within Masonry.
There are more than 10,000 Freemasons and 273 active Lodges in New Zealand.
On the Freemasons website, Freemasonry is described as one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organisations, where integrity, goodwill and charity are the foundations of character.
It is a non-profit organisation which embraces confidentiality, the site says.
Brothers: Dick Thomson, Gordon Morris, Alistair Frew and Don Sutherland.
Socialising: Nyrene and Rex McLeod, Lady Margaret Spring and Graeme Waterson.
Support: Rachel Thomson, Shirley Frew, Fay Waterson and Elva Sutherland at Pohlen Hospital.
Catching up: Derek Barclay and Pohlen chief executive Anton Turner.