(Friday 25 June), Rotarians from all over New Zealand gathered at Kiri Te Kanawa Auditorium, Aotea Centre, Auckland, to celebrate Rotary’s New Zealand centenary.

The large-scale public event – ‘Rotary 100 Year Centennial Showcase’ – featured special performances, including an official welcome/mihi and kapa haka from Auckland Girls Grammar School’s Kahurangi Group (AGGS) and a lively display by circus theatre company The Dust Palace. The work of charities started by and linked to Rotary were also showcased.

Throughout the night, MC’d by TVNZ’s Matty McLean, inspiring stories and tributes were shared. Among the dignitaries who attended were Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff, past Rotary District Governors and Paul Harris Fellows. The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Rotary International President Elect, Jennifer Jones, the first woman in history to hold this position, paid tribute with special congratulatory video messages.

Rotary’s 100 years in New Zealand and 85 years in the Pacific are characterised by an extraordinary record of endeavour and service. This month, they celebrate their commitment to serving others with a huge celebration in Auckland. Rotary also have an ambitious programme of initiatives throughout 2021.

Throughout 2021, Rotary celebrates its New Zealand centenary and 85 years in the Pacific with two major projects for local Rotarians: Rotary Give Every Child A Future (a vaccination programme in nine Pacific Island nations) and Rotary 100 Forests of Peace and Remembrance (planting native trees throughout Aotearoa.) See Notes to Editors overleaf for full details.

These projects form the backbone of Rotary’s Mana Tanagata History Project, spearheaded by project chair John Mohi and Tony Caughey, President of the Rotary Club of Auckland. The project saw the recent publication of Mana Tangata: People of Action written by noted historian Dr Stephen Clarke. Clarke’s book brings to light Rotary Oceania’s long history of community service and remarkable achievements, not least their gold standard work to eradicate polio and the establishment of Cure Kids in New Zealand.

Since the first New Zealand clubs were founded in June 1921, Rotarians have been people of action – enriching and enhancing New Zealand communities through their commitment to serving others. There are now more than 250 clubs all over the country and Rotary have ambitious plans to reinvigorate their membership and broaden their appeal. They hope to attract new members from different backgrounds and the next generation of New Zealanders.

Over the past 100 years, Rotary Oceania has championed and poured millions of dollars into environmental causes, health care, youth development organisations, disaster relief and civic amenities.

In honour of Rotary’s milestone anniversary, Auckland’s Sky Tower was lit in the organisation’s signature colours of blue and gold.

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