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December 2019 – Blog from Jannick Michel German Rotary Youth Exchange Student
My December last year was definitely the most different month I had, since I´ve been here. Why? Christmas, New Year and all the different traditions around those two really important days made this month really special for me. Before I came to New Zealand I thought that December would probably be the hardest month for me. I would be homesick, because I would miss my family, the German Christmas traditions and the cold weather. Instead, this time was just the most amazing and interesting time with the biggest cultural exchange in my whole first six months.

The start of December was the End of the fantastic South Island trip. I said goodbye to everyone and have definitely set the holiday destinations for the next 10 years, to visit all of my new friends.
My first strange experience was the purchasing of the Christmas tree. It was not the purchasing itself which was strange, probably more the fact, that Rachel and me went for a swim at the beach right before. While we were decorating the Christmas tree, I had the first time the feeling of Christmas.

Not only the Christmas tree was it, what gave me the Christmas feeling, also the amazing Christmas lights at all the houses in Tauranga, Rachel and Paul watched with me, put me in a bit of a Christmas mood
While we kept preparing for the Christmas celebration, I practiced with the Christmas Carol choir at Gate Pa and had my presentation with it on the 22nd of December. It was quite a nice experience for me, to be a part of the New Zealand way of celebrating Christmas. I´m really great full that I was allowed to take part in choir, also when I missed the most practices because of the South Island trip.

Christmas Eve is the time, when I normally celebrate Christmas with my family in Germany. Paul took me to a nice Carol service at the church at Gate pa and I think this service probably felt the most like Christmas. We heard the typical Christmas story and it was a really enjoyable night to Christmas day.

Rachel and me spent a long time cooking and preparing food for all the guests in the kitchen. And I was surprised, that we still had meat and potato for lunch, also when it was quite hot outside. I got some amazing presents from Rachel and Paul, for example an amazing trip to Whitianga in the Coromandel with one friend, the new Ziplining activity at Coromandel town , some T-shirts and many sweets. Christmas day, was because of all the yummy food like pavlova, many salads, meat and a lot more and because of all the family a really exciting and fantastic day.

Rachel and Paul gave me the best Kiwi Christmas I could imagine and because of that, I wasn’t homesick at all. I just felt like a part of the family and really enjoyed this day. I can’t say thank you often enough to Rachel and Paul! Thank you for giving me that awesome experience!

I spent the last days of December with Tijen, a Dutch boy and Rachel and Paul in a wonderful holiday house in Whitianga. We did the Ziplining at Coromandel township and went to New chump’s beach, Cathedral Cove and hot water beach where we did a lot of buggy boarding. Those trips where so scenic, and typical New Zealand, that the End of 2019 went over with many amazing experiences and trips.

It is nearly halftime of my stay here in Tauranga! 2019 was the most exciting year of my live, host parents, new school, new country and new language. All those things happened in 2019 and the time went over far to fast! I´m really happy, that I can look back on all the amazing experiences and all the new friends I got in this time and I´m looking forward to have a good start and many more exciting moments in 2020.

Up coming Speakers
Mar 09, 2020
View entire list


Apologies - Reminder Members please send apologies for the December 9th meeting to Clyde Stewart, for the December 16th Christmas Dinner please email attendance for both yourself and partner to Bevan Rakoia -

Cambodia - Undiscovered Lands Paul Noonan, informed the club of a bike trip in Cambodia, The Cycle trip confirmed by the operator Red Spokes to start in Phnom Penh on 31 May 2020, which would be in the area of school that the group can visit on Thurs 4th and Fri 5th of June, there are 5 people committed to the trip. If you are interested in the trip or know of a keen cyclist please visit 

Rotary Tauranga Book Sale 7th & 8th March 2020 - Tauranga Rotary has indicated looking for helpers with some of the heavier work, but also help with sorting. The book sale group are currently working at Harvard Way on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9 until about 12 noon.  Please wear closed in shoes and there is a sign in sheet you will need to complete.

Helpers for parking attendants for the Saturday and possibly Sunday will be much appreciated.

See recent email from Keith regarding roster.

An Island Luau Saturday 28th March 2020 - Rotary Otumoetai major fundraiser to support our International Project, Teachers Training Program in Cambodia led by the Cambodia Charitable Trust. This is an amazing project to support and we look forward to seeing you all there on the night, Cook Island Food & Dancers followed by entertainment by Kokomo, Auction Prizes to be won.

Duty Roster January - March 2020
The Rotary Club of Otumoetai Orator talk 10 February 2020
Up close in India with polio vaccinations
by Allan Gillingham
In January 2009 twenty members and partners from Rotary District 9940 travelled to India to take part in a polio vaccination programme in Firozabad, a city east of Agra with a high slum population and where polio cases had been detected. The Rotary role was to both publicise the polio eradication programme as well as visit slum areas and participate in delivery of polio vaccinations.
The programme was organized by UNICEF and we were part of a wider programme of visiting Rotarians who helped cover this and other cities. First we did a street parade on a Friday evening to hand out leaflets, then on both Saturday and Sunday mornings we were taken in small groups to the back streets of the city to help dose vaccine to babies and small children.
This was done at a central location and we subsequently visited those parents who had not participated in the programme to date.
This was a real eye opener experience to see the living environment, although any of the houses that we visited were spotless and the children cleanly dressed. The lane conditions and associated areas were however very untidy, undrained and unkempt. Not a great advertisement for the men of the community!
The role of Rotary was well publicized in the media and obviously well regarded by UNICEF and others.
  • The end is not in sight
  • Polio now endemic in only Afghanistan and Pakistan but increased in Pakistan in 2019.
  • However in a new development in 2018-19 there were 89 vaccine-induced cases in Africa, also some in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.   105 cases worldwide. This is already being used in some countries to resist the vaccination campaign.  No technical solution to this problem is available yet but work progressing on a modified vaccine.
  • The end is not in sight
  • Polio now endemic in only Afghanistan and Pakistan but increased in Pakistan in 2019.
  • However in 2018-19 there were 89 vaccine-induced cases in Africa, also some in Indonesia and Papua NG.   105 cases worldwide. No technical solution to this problem yet but work progressing on a modified vaccine.
Meetings each second and fourth Monday of the month – 5.45 p.m. for 6.30 p.m. at Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, Sulphur Point, Tauranga.  There will be no meeting on public holidays, and these dates will have been rescheduled in the same month.   All guest are welcome to join, please contact a club officer to confirm such dates.