The Rotary Club of Rotorua West          District 9930    Club No.18573

Inc Societies No.884350 .....Charities Commmission  No.CC47298


The Rotary Club of Rotorua West - Chartered August 19th, 1965

Pictured receiving the congratulations
of the Rotary District Governor,
Mr T.R.C. Overton (right), is the
President of the new club,
Mr T. G. Teirney (second left).
Looking on are Mr P. Verrall (left),
President of the Rotorua Rotary Club,
and T.P. Humphrey, Vice-President
of the new club.


The decision made by the Rotorua Club to form a second club saw the Provisional Rotary Club of Rotorua West meet for the first time on Thursday 20 May 1965 in the Soundshell Restaurant at the Rotorua Lakefront with 26 Rotarians prepared to join the new club.

In those early days of Rotary it was necessary for clubs to have a defined territorial area to draw its membership from. An area of the city roughly to the north and West of the Utuhina Stream and Old Taupo Road was defined for the new club and hence the new club became the Rotary Club of Rotorua West.

Charter President Tom Tierney, a Past President of the Rotorua Club, and 28 other Charter Members, many from the Rotorua Club, then celebrated with Rotary officials, the formal charter of club of Thursday 19 August 1965 in the Soundshell Auditorium.

About 250 people attended the prestigious dinner and charter presentation ceremony, including five Past District Governors and many Rotarians from throughout the country. Mayor of Rotorua, A.M. (Murray) Linton, gave the keynote address with an international flavour.


- Inaugural Meeting, Thursday 20 May 1965. First meeting of the Provisional Club at the Soundshell. 26 Rotarians put their signature on the line to form the Rotary Club of Rotorua West.

Charter Members.
President: Tom Tierney Fibrous Plaster Manufacturing
Vice President: Peter Humphrey Concrete Products Manufacturing
Treasurer: Jim Colebrook Diesel Repair
Sergeant: Jack Todd Tyre Manufacturing

John Bjarnesen Furniture Manufacturing
Dick Burgess Refined Oil Products Retailing
Hadyn Litchwark Footwear Retailing Secretary
Wilbur White Additional Active (Concrete Products Manufacturing)
Des Blandford Industrial Engineering
Des Craig Grocery Retailing
David Dawson Electrical Contracting
Richard Gurnsey Building Construction
Frank Hart Engine Reconditioning
Merv Keyworth Joinery Manufacturing
Doug List Civil Engineering
Bill Moloney Additional Active (Grocery Wholesale)
Jack Quinlan Stationery Retailing
Ron Stone Glazing and Tiling
Kahu Te Hau Christianity - Protestantism
Brian Callinan Tyre Retailing
Trevor Culley Earth Moving
Ian Fowler Dentistry
Ivan Hancock Refined Oil Products Wholesaling
Stan Jamieson Motor Camps
Jack Lisk Grocery Wholesaling
Doug McLeay Sheep Farming
Wally Murray Bulk Milk Transport
Fred Sisson Road Sealing
Don Stubbing Painting and Decorating

Of the original charter members David Dawson remains a member of the club today.

1966 The first of many consignments of Surplus Medicines were collected from doctors and sent overseas.

A consignment of 27 Sewing Machines was sent Fiji beginning a long association with projects in that country.

The Log of Wood
- This very fine trophy, known affectionately as the Log of Wood because of its excellent use as a weighty door stop, was donated by P.P. John Bjarnesen for an annual golf haggle among members of the club and over the years has been inscribed with the names of both the notable and the notorious. The trophy continues to be contested and while the nature of the competition may change, it has the one important rule that it cannot be won by the same golfer more than once. This has meant the introduction of many novices to the game. One notable introduction was P.P. Don Stubbing who won it in 1970 and went on to become totally addicted to the game achieving much success and pleasure in the sport.

1969 Cyril Peacocke, (Education Secondary) urged the club to promote establishment of a technical college in Rotorua which later became the Waiariki Institute of Technology.

The club began presenting souvenirs of Rotorua such as carved wooden tikis and canoes, and mounted paua shells to overseas visitors to the club instead of club banners. President Don Stubbing was known to tell the visitors that the gifts had special fertility powers which saw many visitors leave enthralled in expectation.

1970 First Rotary Exchange Student hosted by the club. The incoming student was Amy Thomason from U.S.A. and the outgoing student was Naomi Stubbing (daughter of charter member Don & Thelma Stubbing) who went to U.S.A.

Financial support for the Lee Chung Yong family in Korea was begun and continued for many years. Regular contact was maintained until the offspring reached adulthood.

A Clothes bank
was set up by the club at Red Cross which was a great success with 220 cases of surplus used clothing despatched in the first six months of operation.

The Club organised a public forum to discuss the problem of poor Water Quality and Choking Weed in Lake Rotorua which was a vigorously debated concern attributed to sewage discharge.

Town & Country
days were begun in association with Ngongotaha Young Farmers culminating in a rodeo at Kaharoa.

1971 Club spearheaded a programme of raffles, galas, and auctions, to raise funds from the public for a ‘Heart Lung Machine’ for the hospital. The effort is particularly notable since prior to this time most funds raised for community work had effectively come from members own pockets.

1972 The drive and enthusiasm of P.P. Tam Grave and several others saw the establishment of the Okataina Education and Recreation Trust with the eventual opening of the Lake Okataina Camp in 1975. Significant funds were raised by the club and channelled into the Trust for several years to complete the camp.

1973 Huge quantities of surplus used clothes were despatched in wool bales from the Clothes Bank at Red Cross. Seven bales were pressed in two and half hours on one Saturday morning.

More playground equipment was constructed and installed in a major project for the Ngongotaha Kindergarten. Further equipment was constructed in the years that followed.

Fifty gallons of bulk wine
was 'procured' by the Harvey Hornblow for the club and bottled for fundraising as ‘RotaWine’.

The club combined with the Rotorua and Lakes Clubs to fund and establish Rotorua Lifelink-Youthline. There was alarm at the staggering number of 200 attempted suicides per year in Rotorua. It was thought at the time that the problem could be solved quickly and that the need for counselling services would not be required for very long. The Club continues to provide significant support today.

1974 The caterer for club meetings, Jack Vuletich, lost his contract at the Soundshell and moved to the Arawa Park Racecourse. After trial club meetings at the Chevron Restaurant in Tutanekai Street the club soon followed ‘Happy’ Jack to the Racecourse.

1976 The club combined with the Rotorua and Lakes Clubs to organise a gala on the old Grand Hotel site to raise funds to convert the Old Bathhouse (Tudor Towers) into an Art Gallery as a ‘Rotary in Rotorua 50th Jubilee’ project . The gala and a music festival featured the NZ Junior Symphony Orchestra and pianist Michael Houston and raised $27,000 for the Art Gallery.
1977  Several Thousand Soft Drink Crates made obsolete by metrication were ‘procured’ by John Malcolm and smashed up to provide firewood for sale. Good fun and a great fund raiser.

1978  Don Stafford completes his description and etchings of a Maori ‘Pataka’ (storehouse) which was mounted in a presentation folder and given to visitors to club meetings.

President Graeme Beale broke the mould and welcomed ‘RotaryAnnes’ (wives & partners) to all club meetings.

1979 The club presided over a meeting at the Racecourse hosting World President Stan McCaffery. It was just the second meeting of the Rotary year for new Club President Tony Heard. It was something of a baptism by fire for the brand new president..

An $11000 van was donated by the club to Rotorua Crippled Children.

The Waiotapu Education Camp was painted by members thanks to the leadership and drive from Chas Woolley.

1980 The club accepted the invitation to organise and run ‘Family Day’ as a Rotorua Centennial Project for the Rotorua District Council. Upwards of 30,000 people attended. We won the D993 Significant Project Award for the year.

1981 Charter member Trevor Culley and Brian Stewart started work on the establishment of the Princess of Wales Health Camp in Tarawera Road.  Large sums were raised by the club over the next few years for the camp project.

Medicines were escorted to a mission station in Zambia
by Hank Buissink. Hank came home with pieces of African art and the last wooden giraffe left Africa to auction for club funds. He returned home to the club many times over following years with the very last wooden giraffe left in Africa.

Barbara Simpson took up her Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship award for a year of postgraduate study in groundwater and geothermal hydrology in Israel. While in Israel she gained a masters degree and then went on to complete a PHD. At the time Barbara was a scientist at DSIR in Rotorua and was sponsored by the club. She currently holds a Professorship of Leadership & Organisational Dynamics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. For more infomation on Barbara's successful career go to:

1982 The club organised through President Maurie McGill the formation of the Inner Wheel Club of Rotorua and helped with the  establishment of the Probus Club of Rotorua and was proud that P.P. Peter Humphrey was the founding President of Probus.

A new club banner to exchange with Rotary visitors was introduced featuring the now familiar ‘Trout Rampant’ design. It also opened the way for Presidents to impress the visitors with tall tales about the size of the trout in Lake Rotorua and other fisherman's tales.

The club started manning a ‘Water Station’ at the Fletcher Marathon. We were soon joined each year by Rotorua North at the Oturoa Road station for a very ‘wet’ annual social occasion.

The club painted the historic St Chad’s Church for the St. Chads Communication Centre in Devon Street and donated $2000 raised at the Golf Classic for further renovations.

1983  P.P.Chas Woolley spent six weeks in the village of Holopeka, Tonga, rebuilding things after a devastating hurricane. Prominent among the Rotary projects was the installation of simple village water collection and storage systems. Several kits of plastic spouting, pipe ware, fittings and plastic water tanks were donated from N.Z. over the next few years with each one packed for the trip with used clothing and other goodies.

‘Citizenship Ceremonies’ for new Rotorua migrants were hosted by the club at the Racecourse to highlight and put into action international understanding. Further ceremonies were hosted at the club in subsequent years.

1984   Club Sergeant Alan McCaulay endeared himself to fellows with a witty piece of doggerel related to the programme at each meeting. The standard had been set in earlier years by President Graham Couldrey but Alan out did the President by publishing his weekly rhymes in a booklet at the end of the year. Autographed copies sold very well.

1985  Charter President Tom Tierney had a Paul Harris Fellow Award conferred upon him by the visiting World President, Ed Cadman.

The new club of Rotorua North was sponsored by Rotorua West with P.P. Brian Dickson becoming the new club’s Charter President. Membership of Rotary in Rotorua was very strong with numbers in Rotorua West alone well over 85 members. Seventeen club members joined Rotorua North with Brian.

                                    Chas Bryers                 Chris Collins                Peter Fletcher
                                    Graham Hall                Peter Hodsell               Lloyd Holt
                                    Harvey Hornblow        Mac Judd                     George Mees
                                    Kerry Murphy              Mita Mohi                    Rex Murray
                                    George Robertson        Bruce Rykers               Warren Thompson
                                    Bing Haase                  Len Wakefield

The Chair Project - Old redundant sets of chairs were purchased at 50 cents per set from the Rotorua District Council then refurbished and on sold to raise $6000 to establish a fund that would return an income for the club. The effort was extensive and needed numerous working bees over many months to man the production line of stripping, dipping, de-rusting, re-painting and re-assembly of several hundred sets of chairs to fill the order books. A ‘Chair Fund’ remained a part of the club’s finances for many years.

1986 In the 21st year since founding, Rotorua West found itself embroiled in events and unwelcome attention centred on the South African exchange student, Nicole Oschger. It became necessary to withdraw her from Waiariki Community College when the club became targeted by protestors and activists from H.A.R.T. (Halt All Racist Tours), the Trades Council, some college staff, some students, and members of the Rotorua public. The club and President Mel Friend were labelled racist and the very heated public controversy raged on for months.

The club abandoned the Racecourse for club dinner meetings and returned to the Soundshell Restaurant, at the Lakefront, refurbished as Suaves Restaurant, to complete a 21 year cycle of meeting venues.

1987  P. P. Chas Woolley became District Governor 993. 

Suaves Restaurant
at the Lakefront abandoned the club’s custom for the first meeting of the new year with a lockout and after a hastily arranged BBQ around the corner at Princes Gate Hotel the club immediately relocated there permanently.

1989 Membership of Rotary was opened worldwide to women however, the club was not yet prepared to embrace the change in Rotary legislation by having women members.

The club developed the Pathways and Gardens for ‘Whare Aroha’ Continuing Care Home. 

Malvina Major
was the star attraction for a successful fundraising concert organised by the club. Also featured on the programme was blind classical pianist Musumi Scherb, son of a club member Rudi Scherb.

1990  The Silver Anniversary (25th) of the Club was celebrated in the Soundshell Auditorium 29 September 1990 with a stylish Dine and Dance, complete with swing orchestra. Along with the celebratory speeches, Paul Harris Fellow Awards were presented to John Keaney (Mayor of Rotorua), and club member Brian Gregory. Earlier in the day an informal get together proved the ideal reunion for the many out of town guests and older members to catch up on old times before the main evening event.

1991 The club set up a permanent Car Park on the corner of Amohia/Arawa streets corner through the generosity of the La Grouw family. Public parking by monthly subscription was a significant and ongoing fund raiser for the club until the section was sold in 2002.

1992 Sue Marsh became the first woman inducted into the club followed shortly after by Royna Hook.

The club entered a float in the Xmas Santa Parade along with the other clubs which promoted Rotary and Rotary projects in Rotorua such as Polio Plus, the Rotorua Legionnaires Academy, and the Rotorua Farm Trust.

1994 First official ‘NZ Two Day Walk’ event run by the club. The Walk achieved International status in 1996 and ran the event under International Marching League criteria in 1997.

1997 The club project to place ‘Heart Defibrillators’ in the community with trained operators commenced. Club purchased the first unit and secured finance for many more.

We sold Xmas Trees to raise funds. A stock of several hundred freshly cut pine trees were donated and a reasonable fund generated which would have been greater except that other organisations had also seen the same opportunity and created an over supply. It was an entertaining and somewhat challenging exercise to get a six foot Xmas tree into the buyer’s vehicle which usually already contained a couple of tired kids and a months groceries.  

1998 The club provided funding to set up a pilot After School Homework Club for two terms at Sunset Primary School. It acknowledged that a number of pupils from the decile 1 school were seriously disadvantaged in their classroom learning due to their very poor home and social circumstances. Funding from RECT followed to keep the club going for two further years.

The club became an Incorporated Society along with a general move among other clubs throughout N.Z. The clubs became legal entities which required the Rotary rules and by-laws to be formulated into a  new context with a legal constitution and by-laws subject to N.Z. law.

2000 'Family Trees 2000' was organised by the club as a Millennium Project to have Rotorua ‘families’ donate a tree in their name as a lasting contribution to Millennium Celebrations. The trees have been planted in designated streets and reserves throughout the city and are maintained by the City Council. Several dozen trees have been planted but in spite of an enormous amount of work and promotion by Rotary, Rotorua District Council, and Rotorua Tree Trust, the project failed to ignite the expected wide spread support from the Rotorua public.

Children of Georgia Project
achieved a major milestone with the arrival from the Republic of Georgia of two graduate child psychologists, Nita and Nino, in N.Z. for 3 months home hosting and post graduate training with specialists Dr. Jane Rawls and Dr. Barry Parsonage in Hamilton.

2002  Won the District 9930 Inter-Club Quiz at Conference with team members, Sarah Callinan, Rob Vigor-Brown, Gerry Horgan, and team manager P.P.Alan McCaulay.

2002  First Woman President – Sue Marsh