Community Paul Harris Fellow for Lyn Brown – April 2014  

About Paul Harris Fellow

The Paul Harris Fellow is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905. Paul Harris Fellow recognition was established in his honour in 1957 to express appreciation of the humanitarian and educational programmes of the Rotary Foundation.

Those programmes include an array of projects that save and invigorate the lives of people around the world, and enhance international friendship and understanding.

While this award is largely aimed at its own members, provision is also made for Rotary to recognise another person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of the Rotary Foundation to build world understanding and peace.


Lyn Brown, you have been selected to receive this recognition because the Rotary clubs of Hutt City, Pencarrow, Johnsonville and Wellington North, in the name of Rotary District 9940, believe that your life exemplifies the humanitarian and educational objectives of the Rotary Foundation.

We thank you for demonstrating in your life and vocation a commitment to helping people in need in the land of Timor Leste, and in particular the perioperative practices at the National hospital in Dili. You are an inspiration to us and we are delighted to make this award today.


The certificate states that you have been named a Paul Harris Fellow, “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.”

Rotary Honours Wellington Nurse for Volunteer Services to Timor Leste

For the past three years perioperative nurse, Lyn Brown, although not a Rotarian herself, has planned and implemented a major Rotary project to raise the standards of perioperative nursing care in the National Hospital of Dili, the capital of Timor Leste. Her work, coupled with the Rotary funding and administrative support, is already making an impact on what can be achieved in healthcare in that country as it emerges from its troubled past. In recognition of her volunteer services, at a recent ceremony at the Rotary Club of Wellington North, Lyn was named a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

Lyn Brown is a registered nurse with over 20 years operating theatre experience at Wellington Hospital. In 2000 she took up the position of Quality Facilitator for the Child Health Service at Capital and Coast DHB. Two years later she was invited to become the nurse member of the New Zealand team, which formed part of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, volunteer services at the National Hospital in Dili, Timor Leste.

Lyn says, “my love of the country and its people was immediate.” She resigned her DHB position to start her own consultancy as a quality healthcare practitioner, which would enable her to be readily available for work in Timor Leste. For the next 11 years she visited once or twice a year with the paediatric surgical team.

Soon after she started her visits Lyn was offered a contract by the College of Surgeons to provide an education programme in Perioperative Specialty Practice. Later, she was able to provide the course for nurses from outlying hospitals.

Following its struggle for independence from Indonesia, Timor Leste emerged as one of the world’s poorest nations. Resources were sparse and, despite the good work of the visiting surgeons, patient recoveries were hindered, sometimes fatally, by the general nursing standards, the shortage of suitable equipment and the limited understanding of the vital importance of sterility in and around operating theatres.

Lyn knew what had to be done and, despite doing what she could with her limited resources, she lacked the financial wherewithal to make the difference, which would raise the nursing standards to a new level.

Wellington North Rotary Club is leading the way with New Zealand’s, first Rotary Global Grant says Morris Robertson. The Club, along with Pencarrow, Hutt City and Johnsonville Rotary Clubs, in partnership with an Australian Rotary District, have sourced $85,000 to help support the Timor Leste Perioperative Nursing Project.

Meanwhile The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International, was introducing a new system of global grants with a limited focus, which included healthcare in developing countries. The then incoming District Governor tasked Morris Robertson, a Past District Governor of Rotary, to investigate the potential for a global grant project in East Timor. Knowing the work that Lyn was doing Morris approached her with a view to identifying a project. Lyn’s response was immediate and positive.

Lyn was able to identify specific needs, especially in the areas of sterility, essential to ensure that infection does not arise following operations. A project was designed around these needs and Wellington North Rotary agreed to be the lead club.


Click here for details of Paul Harris Fellow 2013