Saturday, 1 October 2016

New Plymouth West Rotary - a very special visit

DG Martin and President Mick O'Connor
My visit to New Plymouth West Rotary was very special for a number of reasons.

I was privileged to be presented with the tokotoko Taupiripiri which is the work of a Ngati Porou carver (one of my sons-in-law is of Ngati Porou affiliation).  Taupiripiri is the speaking cane of the Chief Spokesman and the name in simple terms means "walking arm-in-arm", togetherness".  Taupiripiri provides a Maori dimension to the office and role of the Governor of our District.

AG Colin Jackson, Polaiu'amea Kirifi, DG Martin,
Martin Chamberlain
From my school, the Club had invited the Principal of Francis Douglas Memorial College, Martin Chamberlain, and the head boy Polaiu'amea Kirifi.  Polaiu'amea gave a powerful speech earlier in 2016 that won him second place in the 2016 Race Unity Speech Awards, so I was under quite a bit of pressure to speak well. A classmate of mine is also a member of this Club and was in the audience.  He had belonged to the Interact Club that has since gone out of existence - perhaps we can reinstate it.  

New Plymouth West Rotary is involved in many projects locally and overseas and supports a range of youth programmes.

I visited the Trees for Survival project at Moturoa School and was impressed with the programme that has been developed to make this school an eco-school, educate students and provide them with life-long skills.  There was a real emphasis on cultivating and protecting rare and threatened Taranaki species.

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