Papanui Rotary Club Chat
15 March 2022
My Experiences & Thoughts about Rotary
by AG Craig Murphy
Craig joined our Zoom meeting last week. He began by sharing that he is now in his second year as an ADG and feels it a privilege to be in that role as it enables him to gain a much wider understanding of Rotary and Rotarians.
Born and bred in Wellington Craig joined a major oil company at age 22 and went on to have a 31 year career with that company - many years of which were spent overseas. It was quite a different working environment than many get to enjoy and provided considerable opportunity to develop additional skills and to experience and to enjoy the living and travelling challenges the world provides.
Craig retired 18 years ago. Upon returning to New Zealand he and Shirley decided upon a life style block in West Melton on which they raised deer and grew hazelnuts. They bought a small advertising company and did a residential development over on the West Coast. Despite all of this Craig found he had time on his hands and looked at joining a community based organisation.
Previously a JC Craig asked around and found that many of his old friends from JC’s had migrated to Rotary. Deciding that a lunchtime club best served his workload he approached Riccarton Rotary of which he has now been a member for 12 years. “I found I had the time, the energy and hopefully a skill set that could be utilised. I was also looking forward to forming a new circle of friends”.
Shortly after joining the earthquakes happened and Craig proposed a project to purchase a new wheelchair vehicle for the Burwood Spinal Unit. Being told to manage this project was a challenge to a new member but with the help of many fellow club members, other Rotary clubs, local businesses and Community Trusts the $75,000 required was soon raised and Rotary was able to donate the vehicle.
This remains a highlight of Craig’s Rotary life and gave him the impetus to see what other challenges Rotary could provide. These included a term as President, appointment to two District Committees and then as an ADG. With the move to District 9999 from July 1st, 2022 Craig sees the role as ADG becoming an even greater conduit between clubs and district.
On the issue of problems facing Rotary Craig raised several.
Rotary should be fun – but for some it is not. The external problem of Covid has naturally created an environment of concern – for any health concerns but for others financial concerns have arisen. Rotary should be providing an outlet for these concerns and a framework of focussed support. This has not happened in some clubs.
Rotary should be a place where members feel welcome, wanted, safe, respected and listened to. This is not the case in several clubs nationwide. Internal politics have taken over and there is an atmosphere of bullying, barriers are being put up to stymie innovation and new ideas, the tradition of Rotary whereby older, experienced members mentor new and younger members has been forgotten.
Which then raises the problems around membership. Why would anyone seek to join a club if these issues are underlying. Putting this to one side though, Craig still feels the issue of membership is being mismanaged in some clubs. Firstly the clubs appoint the wrong person as Membership Chair. It needs an extrovert, an outgoing personality. Salesmanship. Patience. Time. Not every member has those skills.
Secondly, there is a prevailing view in most clubs that membership is the responsibility of the committee. Not so. Membership is the responsibility of every club member. The more people looking at membership the more likely results will follow. Thirdly membership needs to reflect the community each club is operating within. They differ. There is no such thing as a standard membership profile.
Another issue is the lack of public awareness of what Rotary achieves. Craig believes that at club, district, national and international levels Rotary does a terrible job around publicising its successes. People are attracted by action and success so clubs need to be ‘singing their own praises’ more often.
It’s about being seen in the community more frequently. On this Craig commented that Covid was being used as an excuse as to why clubs could not be active. There remain things like ‘meals on wheels’ and ‘food parcel providers’ screaming out for people to do deliveries. Supermarkets unable to restock shelves due to staff isolation. The opportunity to be seen is still there.
Lastly when asked to comment on the future of Rotary Craig provided both a short-term and longer-term response.  In the short-term, if Rotary clubs continue to do little to address these significant issues then Rotary may simply follow other community organisations and fade away.
But in the longer-term, providing Rotary and Rotarians address the concerns head on, then the future of Rotary should be much more encouraging. We have to remember the fantastic things Rotary achieves, from international projects such as Polio Plus through to the small scale community projects each club runs throughout the year. We have to remember the numerous people helped by Rotary. We impact on people’s lives. And currently the demand for that support has not been higher.
We need to adopt change. Without change we will fail. The old adages of ’pale, male and stale’ and ‘upper class, privileged and wealthy’ should no longer apply to Rotary. During the recent SPPEDS training Craig was buoyed by the quality of the younger Rotarians accepting leadership roles. They have great ideas. As older Rotarians we should be listening.
Being a Rotarian is a privilege. It comes with commitments to our club, our community and ourselves. The question is ‘are we meeting those commitments?’
President Grant thanked Craig for his insightful thoughts & ideas for us to consider going forward in these challenging times.
Great Day at the Bush last week!
A very productive day’s work was held at the Papanui Bush recently by attending helpers. It is looking great as we head into Autumn.
Wednesday Lotto
We still need another six numbers to be taken before we can start the next round. 
Wednesday Lotto is run to raise funds for our Sister Rotary Club in Usa River, Tanzania. It is a very easy way for us to raise funds to meet our commitment to help this club in a third world country. To date, with Wednesday Lotto we have raised $2745 for Usa River RC. 
We need a minimum of 24 numbers taken, to break even. Those numbers not taken are assigned to Usa River RC so any winnings from those numbers go directly to them. 
If you would like to participate please contact Deryn (0211615861) to choose your number. $60 payments can be made to our Charitable Trust account 03 1355 0661945 00.
Win or lose, you contribute to a worthwhile cause.
Cheers Deryn
It’s Coffee Time
Join the gang at Reality Bites each third Friday morning of the month i.e. this Friday the 15th! Laughter and enjoyment guaranteed.
Food for Thought