Rotary Club of Wellington North 

The Challenges and Rewards of Rotary Membership

What is Rotary?

Rotary is a world fellowship of business and professional people who enjoy each other’s company and accept the ideal of service, individually and collectively, as the basis for success and happiness in business and community life.

In Chicago, in 1905, Paul Harris and three others began meeting in their homes in rotation, hence the name Rotary. Their ideas spread slowly and it was not until 1908 that the second club was formed, in San Francisco.  The movement became international in 1910 with a third club, in Winnipeg, Canada. The first Rotary convention was held in Chicago that same year and the first Rotary club in a non English speaking country was formed in Havana, Cuba in 1916.

In the meantime Rotary had crossed the Atlantic with clubs being formed in Dublin and London.  Rotary, which arrived in New Zealand in 1921, is now a world wide organisation represented in 210 countries.

 Objectives of Rotary

The objective of Rotary is to encourage and foster the idea of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster –

1st.  The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
2nd  High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of worthiness of all useful occupations and the dignifying by each Rotarian of their occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
3rd  The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian in their personal, business and community life.
4th  The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Rotary Mottoes

Rotarians endeavour to exemplify their mottoes of “Service above Self” and “He/She Profits Most Who Serves Best” in their business, social and civic relationships by placing the obligation to serve others before the desire for profit for themselves.

The 4-Way Test
In 1932 Rotarian Herbert J Taylor, who became President of RI in 1954 55 during the 50th anniversary year, conceived a simple statement of business ethics.  Rotary International adopted it in 1943 and it is known as the 4-Way test.  This test does not provide the answers but rather asks these questions:

 Is it the TRUTH ?

Is it fair to all concerned ?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships ?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned ?

The test is a stimulus to self appraisal and a springboard to voluntary self improvement encouraging ethical instincts in everyone and constituting a simple practical guide for people of all cultures.
The Rotary Emblem
Rotary’s emblem originated in 1905.  It’s a simple wagon wheel representing “civilisation and movement”.  The cogged version was made official in 1919-20.  A keyway was added in 1929 to signify that the wheel is a “worker” not an “idler”.

But, the wheel will not act alone.  It needs energy and a force to set it in motion.  For that it relies on its members.

Rotary Membership
Each Rotary club tries to make its membership a true cross section of the community’s interests and activities by selecting, as its members, qualified persons, of all ages, whose places of business or residence are within the community and each of whom is or was personally engaged in a recognised business or profession Members hold “classifications” derived from their professional or business activity and indicating their specialisation : eg. Domestic Architecture, Commercial Law, Book Publishing.  Generally a club can have no more than five members with the same classification.

Wellington North
The Wellington North Rotary Club had its first meeting on 2 December 1965 at Sharella Motel, Glenmore Street.

Since then it has had varying venues from the Hotel Waterloo to the James Cook Hotel and finally to the present venue, The Wellington Bridge Club, 17 Tinakori Road.  It is a lunchtime club, meeting at 12.15 pm for a 12.30 pm lunch and the meeting usually concludes by 1.45 pm.  All duties are undertaken by club members on a roster basis.

During its time Wellington North Rotary Club has served the community in a variety of ways.  Perhaps worthy of particular mention was the planning, financing of and participation in the construction of a flat within the former Mary Potter Hospice to enable relatives of patients to stay close at hand at crucial stages of the patient’s illness.  In 1996 and 1997 the Club organised open days for the public to see through the new Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. As well as raising public awareness of the Museum project the open days raised over $40,000 for charities.

Funds from various activities are distributed each year to community groups needing assistance.  We have also assisted youth by sponsoring students to attend Outward Bound courses.  Rotary also has its own youth leadership award, known as RYLA, and the club regularly sponsors students to attend that course and qualify for the award.

In all activities the objectives of fellowship and service are promoted.  We hope that you will consider joining Wellington North, and enjoy the fellowship of the Club and contribute to its service in the community,

Club Geographical Area
The once strict territorial limits of Rotary Clubs have now been relaxed allowing each club to draw membership from its broader urban or rural area.  The traditional “home” area of Wellington North has been the northern area of the Central Business District plus the suburbs of Thorndon, Northland, Wilton, Wadestown, Ngaio and Khandallah.

 How the Club is organised
The affairs of the club are managed by a board which consists of directors comprising the President, Vice President, Past President, President Elect,  Secretary, Treasurer and Committee Conveners.

The officers of a Rotary club rotate each year.  Changeover takes place at a dinner in late June.  At this function the new President and Board are inducted and new committees begin their year’s work.  First of July is changeover date worldwide for clubs districts and international offices.

All members of the club are allocated duties for the year.  These duties might be membership of a particular committee or special tasks, such as bulletin editor, or arranging the duties roster.

Club members are appraised of news and coming events through the weekly bulletin which is emailed or mailed to their homes.

Meetings and Fellowship
Our weekly club meeting usually takes the form of a brief fellowship gathering over a glass of sherry, wine or fruit juice followed by a luncheon and a brief session of club business.  There is a light hearted  session where members  can contribute a nominal sum for anything that may appeal to them.  The final part of the meeting is usually devoted to a talk of about 20 minutes by a guest speaker.  Twice a year a meeting is devoted to a forum which is an open meeting on club affairs and which may be held in the evening following a Club dinner.

The various duties of a meeting such as recording  attendance, collection of money, introducing visitors and thanking the guest speaker are arranged on a roster system.

On several occasions throughout the year luncheon meetings are replaced or supplemented by evening or weekend social events which include the members partners.  Partners are also welcome to attend any luncheon meeting.  There are also a number of informal social gatherings for smaller groups of members and partners.

Attendance and Makeups

To promote its objects, fellowship is a most important ingredient.  Consequently, Rotary has obligations regarding membership which entails responsibility for regular attendance.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, recognised by the Board, membership can be terminated for Rotarians absent from four consecutive meetings or whose attendance at their own or another Rotary Club, or at committee meetings, is less than 60% cumulatively during either the first or second six period of any Rotary year.  There are special leave provisions which may be granted on application to the Board to cover illness and other special factors which might prevent a member’s attendance for a period.

Attendance may be credited by making up at another Rotary club, committee meeting, or at a District function during the two weeks prior to or subsequent to a missed meeting.  This system of make-ups is one of the pluses of Rotary.  A member of a Rotary is welcome at a Rotary meeting anywhere in the world.  It is a great way to meet people in other towns and other countries.  Almost every week Wellington North has the pleasure of welcoming visiting Rotarians.

Rotarians in the Wellington area have more than a score of club meetings to make-up during the fortnight.   There are directories listing the meeting times and places of all Rotary Clubs in New Zealand and throughout 209 other countries.


In common with all Rotary clubs, Wellington North has four avenues of service.

Club Service means the things Rotarian do to help their club function including participation in meetings and fellowship, serving on committees, representing the club in duties outside the club, speaking at other Rotary clubs, attending inter city meetings, district assemblies, conferences, and leadership forums, and representing their club on other community organisations.

Vocational Service is the obligation of all holders of a classification in Rotary to share the ideal of service in all the relationships of their business or profession with non Rotarians, and the ideals of their business or profession with fellow Rotarians.  The vocational activities within Wellington North include liaison with two local secondary schools and a number of local primary schools.  These schools have been assisted with careers advice and Rotary programmes such as reaching out. The club has also organised Pride in Workmanship awards.

Community Service means the things Rotarians do, either as individuals or with others in Rotary, which demonstrate thoughtfulness of, and helpfulness to, others in communities, such as taking an active personal interest in their community and its people, studying their needs and problems and how to solve them, taking an active interest in young people, and promoting good will between their town and the surrounding rural community.

Each year the Community Service committee takes on a number of small projects associated with the club’s local community.  From time to time the whole club gets behind a major community project .  Funds are raised by various means including the club owned payscopes.

International Service means those things a Rotarian can do to advance international understanding, good will and peace, appreciation of others culture, customs, accomplishments, aspirations, and problems through personal contact in the Rotarians own community and by travel.  Wellington North actively supports the various student exchange programmes.  The club often has a student from another country who is hosted by club families and participates in the clubs activities.  This has led to our world wide family of former students.

Allied Organisations

In addition to Rotary as such, these are some of the other associated organisations-

Inner Wheel clubs for partners and daughters of Rotarians or former Rotarians. Several family members belong to the Inner Wheel Club of Wellington and enquiries would be welcomed.

Rotary is also involved in the establishment of Probus clubs for retired people.  These clubs have been very well supported and, once established, become independent of Rotary.  Wellington North has sponsored the establishment of two Probus clubs.

Rotary beyond Wellington North

Wellington North is one of 60 clubs in Rotary District 9940 which extends from Wellington to Taranaki and Southern Hawkes Bay.  The affairs of the District are arranged by the District Governor, for the year, who is supported by 12 Assistant Governors, each responsible for assisting 5 or 6 Clubs, and a series of District Committees who are responsible for matters of district wide interest.

Wellington North has provided three District Governors and has a good record of supporting District Committees and their projects.  The District holds an annual convention and the District Governor is an officer of Rotary International.  Rotary International, too, has its international and zone committee structures and all this adds up to a major force for understanding in the world.  Rotary is organised into 534 Districts which transcend national boundaries.

Rotary sponsors a number of student exchange schemes.  One is the International Youth.

Exchange scheme whereby students from one Rotary District spend a year with another District.  In broad terms such students, usually in their final year of secondary education, will spend time with the families of Rotarians.  In practice in Wellington it is usual for the students to spend three to four months with each of three families so that they get a wide variety of experience of living in New Zealand.  Most countries overseas operate in a similar way.

There is also a matched student exchange scheme operating with Australia.  Under that scheme, two students are matched so that an Australian student will spend a term with his or her Australian counterpart , and then the New Zealand student will spend a term in the home of the Australian student.

Both these schemes have been extremely popular and within District 9940 there are usually 1520 students at any one time in and out of the district while the matched exchange scheme numbers vary.

Each month all members receive the District Governor’s Newsletter which reports on the activities from throughout District 9940. This is a great source for ideas about Rotary projects.

“Rotary Down Under”, the regional journal serving Rotarians in the southwest Pacific area, is mailed monthly to all members.  Although “RDU” concentrates on its designated area it also highlights all Rotary’s international activities.  Rotary Down Under also acts as a supply company for Rotary merchandise.

The Rotary Foundation

The international service programmes of Rotary have been undertaken, for the past 55 years, by the Rotary Foundation the objective of which is international friendship and understanding.

Rotary Foundation currently operates a number of programmes in the educational area and Wellington North has been involved in both the Ambassadorial Scholarship and Group Study Exchange programmes.  Group Study Exchange provides opportunities for outstanding and professional persons to visit another country.  The programme provides for the exchange of study teams between paired districts anywhere is the world.  The exchange is usually for about five weeks.

All of the Rotary Foundation educational programmes involve young people who go abroad, or come here, to study, to absorb, to learn, to communicate – working with Rotarians and others in the task of promoting better understanding among the peoples of the world.

The success of each programme is measured by the personal contacts that each awardee develops in the country visited, and by the members reached after the return home.  In every case Rotarians are the primary source of opportunities for such contact.

The Rotary Foundation, through the accumulation of funds contributed by Rotarians world wide, is a major player in raising health and educational standards throughout the world. Its largest program for the past decade has been the funding of the total eradication of polio and a number of associated diseases.  More than $500 million US dollars have been committed to this program. Rotary Clubs in New Zealand have the opportunity to raise funds, match up with a Club in a receiving Rotary District overseas and have the contribution subsidised 50c:$1 by the Rotary Foundation. Wellington North supports all these International Programmes.

For further information see

Rotary New Zealand World Community Service [RNZWCS Ltd]

The six New Zealand and South Pacific Rotary Districts have formed a charitable company which is a recognized Non Governmental Organisation able to access NZAID funds on 4:1 basis for international humanitarian projects.  There is a District World Community Service Committee which can assist clubs to identify projects and prepare applications.

RNZWCS Ltd also operated in the field of disaster relief. Its best known programmes are Emergency Resource Kits which are distributed through the Rotary network to provide immediate assistance where vital household goods are lost in a cyclone or floods and ShelterBox which provides living accommodation and household needs for up to 15, from each box, for a 6 month period.

For further information see

The Challenge

You have now read a little about the world of Rotary and what it means to be a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington North.

Rotary constantly needs renewal and new members are welcomed for the contribution they can bring and the fellowship we can enjoy with them.

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