Rotary Bulletin 19-09-2022

 Next Meeting – 3 October 22 – Please note, that there will be no meeting on the 26th of September, given it will be the Queen’s Memorial Day.

Rotary Bulletin – 19 September 22  – President Brin welcomed members to the meeting, including our Guest Speaker Niall McCormack, Ken Hayes, Secretary, Stortford Lodge Rotary Club, along with Kay Cooper, Anne Longman, and Chris Mayne Further visitors from Stortford Lodge Rotary Club included Isobel, Carl, Wendy, and Renata.   Brin also pointed out that he was wearing the Club’s Presidential Chain which has finally been returned to the Club from the engravers.

TWO-MINUTE TALK: Was given by Rotarian Grant Spackman, who spoke of his concerns regarding h climate crisis which he believes is very much at the forefront of our news these days.  He referred to the area he grew up in – Pukahu, 5 minutes south of here has seen a number of historic weather events.  Notably, the flood of 1898 redirected the Ngararoro River, to the western side of Hastings, leaving what is now the Karamu Stream to flow through Havelock North to the Clive River.

Weather events have clouded the 60 years that Grant lived in Pukahu.  His earliest memories were of the 1962 flood, with hundreds of acres under water from Mt Erin Road through Pakipaki – up to the top wire of the fences.  His father lost over half of the trees on his orchard when flood water from neighboring properties flowed into theirs.  This flood saw the advent of tile drainage across orchards and cropping land on the Heretaunga Plains.  His father reestablished himself by purchasing adjoining bare land and planting a new orchard.  Only to see this devastated by the Wahine storm in April 1968 which blew the young trees over, killing them at the roots.

Another flood in 1972 brought the drains and streams to high levels but fortunately, their drainage systems had improved immensely by then.

The opposite happened in the early 1980s when they suffered a 2-year drought in 1983/84.  During the harvest, they closed the pack house to enable their staff to go out into the orchard to remove small sunburnt Granny Smiths before they were picked into bins for packing.

During Cyclone Bola in March 1988, the wind did the damage, and they persevered through the storm to save the Golden Queen peach crop. Grant recalls the Watties Field rep, turning up in atrocious weather, looking into the bins that they were picking into, seeing the brown marks on the fruit, and making groaning noises.  To which Grant’s father said “you have two choices – either put on a picking bag and help us or get into your truck and leave.  He left!

The 1990s brought a decade of hail storms notably 1994 and 1996.  Like others, Grant will never forget the approaching sky on 3rd March 1994.  Growers throughout Hawkes Bay have their own stories about this devastating event that destroyed the province’s fruit crop.  They had just started harvesting Royal Gala that day and Grant was doing the final walk in the packhouse to start the next day.  A salesman was trying to sell him a fax machine.  With the noise of hail pounding on the corrugated iron roof, he just continued telling me the attributes of his machine.  I said, “I can’t listen to you while we are losing our livelihood, you’ll have to come back another day!”

The Pukahu district was struck again by hail in December 1996.  While equally damaging,  at least they had time to thin off most of the damaged apples before harvesting began.  Amongst all of this, there were Spring frosts.  The positive call by past orchardists that “next year will be better” will be heard again from the next generation of growers as they face the future perils of climate change.

SERGEANT’S SESSION: was given by Rotarian Mandy Kimber, who raised $54.80, fining members for various misdemeanors. Including one or two make self-confessions!


  • Next Monday will be Memorial Day for the Queen, subsequently, the next meeting will be the following Monday.
  • ROTARY CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS. Attached see the flyer from District for these excellent Christmas puddings. At a cost of only $23 (the club makes $6 from this), the price is well below the retail price of similar quality but smaller puddings in other food outlets. Last year some of our members missed out because they didn’t order early enough, so get your orders in to me at stephen.randalnz@gmail.com or phone/text me at 021 586085.
  • Ava Woodley of Iona College is collecting books for 5 – 12-year-olds and is seeking support.  The Club is happy to help.
  • Next year,   Max and his wife Liz are going to Kentucky on a Rotary Fellowship Exchange.  He will also investigate the opportunities for the Club to be involved in a reciprocal Rotary Friendship Exchange with Kentucky.
  • Tom Little will talk to the Club in 2 weeks. He will be talking about the Young Enterprise Scheme Project.
  • A quiz night will be held on 10th October to be organized by Rob and Julie Branwin.
  • A week later, the Club will be hosted by the Stortford Rotary Club on Tuesday 18th of October.
  • Dale Prebble advised members that despite unsettled weather, the painting project at the Duart Home has been completed.
  • Kevin Longman advised that the Blossom Festival will occur next weekend and reminded members of the Club’s duties at the Festival.

GUEST SPEAKER:   Rotarian Peter Mayne introduced our Guest Speaker Niall, noting the number of people who are commenting on, and most impressed with Niall’s role and connections since establishing his project “Eye Care for Africa”.  Niall McCormack BA CBA, FCOUDI, FACBO, FNORA, is about to match this year’s collection of 2nd hand spectacles for children in Africa.

Niall advised that there are 52 million orphans in East Africa and Tanzania – many of them with vision problems.  He was born in St Helen’s, England, and relocated to New Zealand in 1989, having 10 years Invercargill before returning to Hastings.  He set up Spec Savers in Hastings, but has since sold the business and is now with the Hastings Hospital.  He returned to the UK recently to see his mother and is back now, having in 2017, set up “Eye Care for Africa”.  Niall has been on a number of visits to Africa and is planning to go back shortly.

The Club made a presentation to Niall of 1366 pairs of glasses, having completed the project of gathering 2nd hand glasses from the community for Niall to take with him on the next trip to Africa.  Ken Hayes and President Brin made a formal presentation of the glasses to Niall.  Ken considered it a very good Club project to support Niall and his work.

Assistant Governor Ken Hayes, Brin Haward, and Niall McCormack

Niall referred to a former eye surgeon Fred Hollows, another New Zealander who was quite visionary and a social activist, setting a great example.  The Pacific Islands now have buildings specifically for eye surgery.  Niall was invited to join a couple to support eye surgery in Uganda, and has now set up “Eye Care for Africa”.  It has been a great experience, setting up eye testing in schools in Kenya and Serengeti, where there is more work needed, including establishing the Hawkes Bay Charity.  Having been invited to Kenya by the Taits, the former Napier couple who have built a hospital and now work in Tanzania.  There are many more areas in Africa where there is no eye care support, but the plan is to provide that support.

Thanks to Rotarians Peter Mayne and David Smith, their contact has enabled funding through Rotary and Internationally, for clubs to support the hospitals.  Niall has been in the UK to visit his mother again, aged 92, and David and Peter have got in touch with the St Helens Rotary Club, England who is delighted to also support the Charity.  It is a most exciting time and having successfully taken a New Zealand pupil to Africa to be part of the project, Niall is now hoping to arrange for a child from St Helens, to have the same experience, as the young New Zealander.

Niall has also worked professionally with a number of children in New Zealand and has noted that all children are involved in using a lot more digital screens in the classroom and also at home, damaging their eyesight.  Rules must change given the growing presence of Myopia, which has increased hugely since 1990.  Watching screens and using mobiles also creates a lack of sunlight which is important for visual.  There is also an increase in the incidence of Macular cataracts and glaucoma, creating lazy eyes.  Occlusion requires patching the eye, which in reality, is not a happy situation for children.

Niall is now working in the Hastings Hospital, providing treatment for Glaucoma.  Macular Degeneration is prevalent and it is important to check eyes which can now be scanned for eye alignment.  Diet and lifestyle are now very important.

Niall then presented the Club with a Rotary Banner from the St Helens Rotary Club in England, who invited him there to a meeting while he was visiting his mother.  The Club is delighted to be involved in “Eye Care for Africa”, thanks to the Havelock North Rotary Club.

Rotarian Ian Holford thanked Niall on behalf of the Club and members of the Stortford Rotary Club here present.  He referred to Niall’s inspirational personae and speech, noting he was still full of goals for “Eye Care for Africa”

PARTING THOUGHT from John Pollard:  “The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery”  Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister of the UK.

CLUB CALENDAR 26 September 3 October 10 October
Event/Speaker Public Holiday
Queen Elizabeth II
Memorial Day
Tom Little. Youth Parliament
Pukare Cards, Young Enterprise Scheme Project
Quiz Night with
Waipukurau Rotary
Cashier Schnell Dufty
Badges, Grace & Parting Thought Feutz Casagranda
2-minute talk Longman Patmoy
Sergeant Henderson
Speaker’s Orderly Randal
Vote of Thanks Dufty

Sue Forde
Bulletin Editor.