The Rotary Club of Pukekohe Inc. was established in August 1945 and marks its 75th birthday on 22 August this year. The club today bears little resemblance to the one chartered the year World War 2 ended.
In those days Rotary was a male-only affair with very strict rules which required members to attend pretty much every meeting, or do a “make-up” at another club. Formal dress was required at weekly meetings, and membership was limited to just one from each profession.
Today it’s a much more relaxed and welcoming organisation with no restrictions on membership and we welcome people from all walks of life who are interested in the principles of Rotary as a way of providing service to the community. Regular attendance at meetings is encouraged, but not mandatory and we leave it to members themselves to decide on the level of commitment they can manage.
In normal times we meet on the first and third Tuesday each month at 5.45 pm at Pukekohe Park Raceway, for a social hour and meal, followed by club announcements and a guest speaker. We have a wide range of very interesting speakers. On alternate weeks we have either a vocational visit, or a social visit to a restaurant, or a planning meeting for one of the main fund- raising projects. Thus the club meets weekly with members able to join in as often as their lifestyles allow.
In response to Covid-19 we are currently meeting weekly by Zoom, which is opening many new opportunities.
The club has completed many different community projects over the years. An early one was providing food parcels to Britain after the second world war. On another occasion we set out to build house in 24 hours. It was completed in sixteen and a half hours despite a heavy shower of rain and a power cut.
The IHC was the main beneficiary of that project. We built the Scout hut at Schlaepfer Park, the Pukekohe North School Hall, and the Cape Hill lookout. More recently we provided Parkside Special School with a van to transport their senior students.
We have been a regular contributor to St John and Pukekohe Community Action. Every year we sponsor Pukekohe students on different Rotary programs such as Rotary International Youth Exchange, Science symposiums, the Spirit of NZ and Outward Bound. Currently we are hosting a student from Austria.
The club has three main fund-raising activities: a charity book sale in association with Pukekohe Intermediate; a charity golf tournament in association with Pukekohe Gulf Club and the Counties Cycle Classic run out of Pukekohe Park. Sadly all three activities have been postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19.
In recent times these activities have raised over $50,000 annually which our Charitable Trust donates back into the community.
In the last few years, we purchased and donated Defibrillators to; Police first responders in Pukekohe, Waiuku and Tuakau, Buckland Bowling Club, St Andrews Church and several retirement homes. We also installed units with 24/7 public access at Pukekohe Health in Manukau Road and West Street.
Our Club is a regular donor to Pukekohe Community Action. PCA is an organisation that helps people with significant changes in their lives from death, suicide, terminal illness or separation. Pukekohe Rotary is pleased to partner with them to provide help when it is most needed. Right now, as Covid-19 is throwing many families onto hardship, we are providing funds for food parcels and telephone callers to the lonely.
We have also supported H.E.A.R.T, a Puni based organization that uses horse care and riding to teach coping skills to children with various difficulties.
Other organizations that have received donations in recent years include Franklin Hospice, Pukekohe North School Challenge course, Pukekohe Skate Park, Pukekohe Junior Golf and Hockey, Pukekohe Performing Arts, the Te Akonga Early Learning Centre and the Pukekohe North School Early Childhood Centre.
Our club is in Rotary District 9920 which includes the Islands of the eastern Pacific. Over the years we have been involved in several Pacific projects from village water systems to dental care and Emergency Response Kits for disaster relief. This April we donated cash to support the re-planting of crops following Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu.
These are just some of the beneficiaries of funds raised by Pukekohe Rotary, but by no means a complete list. Funds also go to Rotary International for the eradication of Polio Worldwide and international projects as they arise.
Pukekohe has grown rapidly into a thriving town of over 30,000 people the club welcomes new members. It provides a great way to give back to your community and at the same time make new friends and have fun and companionship with likeminded people.
If you would like to know more please visit our website www.rotarypukekohe.club and contact our secretary, Mike Jaggs, or phone Ross Beal, ph 0274 718 30; Graham Russel, ph 021 874 924; or Mark Graham, ph 027 284 898.