Welcome to The Rotary Club of Oamaru
Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. Becoming a Rotarian connects you with a diverse group who share your drive to give back. Read the articles below to see what projects you can become involved in.

2022 Student Interviews

The Rotary Club of Oamaru is again running mock interviews for high school students who wish to experience a realistic interview environment with actual business leaders as a practice run for real interviews for school leadership roles, prefecture, jobs or scholarships. This is a great opportunity to receive feedback in a friendly environment. The interviews will be held on September 21st 2022. Click here to apply now!
Swiss Lion Autopsy 
Penny Keeling reports on her experiences as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Switzerland as the snow sets in.
Christmas Trees on offer
The Rotary Club of Oamaru are holding a fundraiser selling freshly cut Christmas Trees for $10.00 each.
Please help us help our community by ordering your tree by emailing robinson.mp87@gmail.com or pop into Takaro Park between 12pm - 2pm Sunday 13th December to purchase your tree.
Thank you for your support!
NB - Photo is for reference only!
Searching for Charlie - Tom Scott talks on his biography of Charles Upham VC
When a heavy German machine gun somewhere beyond the minefields pinned down one of his platoons, Charlie called for another 3-ton truck and had it driven through the firestorm and parked forward of the forward positions to draw fire. Sheltering in slit trenches and sangars, his men looked on in awe, disbelief and dismay as Charlie, binoculars in hand, clambered up onto the roof of the cab where he stood legs akimbo, calculating range and directing 20th Battalion machine-gun and anti-tank gun fire at enemy positions.
2020 General Election - Meet the Waitaki Candidates
Tuesday night is shaping up to be a big night out for the politically motivated citizens of the Waitaki Electorate. The Rotary Club of Oamaru is again hosting a large Meet the Candidates night at the Opera House. The popularity of the previous events has prompted a change to the main auditorium.
Goats and Castles
Our Rotary Youth Exchange student Penny Keeling is in Switzerland and is experiencing some of the finer details of the Swiss Alps.
After much effort, from one star Rotarian in particular, her team, and some contribution from Rotary the Youth Employment Scheme has been launched and many businesses have already leapt at the opportunity.
A thank you letter from Rob at NOSLAM
Some help to purchase plant protectors, plants and signage for another NOSLAM planting project has seen a great result at Enfield, with many other organisations putting in the hard yards to get trees in the ground.
Bookarama brings in $20,000
After a mad scramble, some uncertainty, some social distancing, and a lot of community generosity Bookarama went ahead and it was apparent that the district's book worms were hungry for fresh material. 
But not as you know it!
Van makes kindy accessible to all
Last year's Bookarama raised funds for a van to make Kindergarten more accessible for Oamaru's youngest students.
Breathing Fire
Rotary Youth Exchange student Penny Keeling reports in from Switzerland where her chemistry class is learning key skills.
ODT: Monarch butterfly bid launched
Oamaru could soon be the monarch butterfly capital of New Zealand.
Running on Adrenalin: Nineteen Hours Straight
District Governor Tania Lowery and a team of other Rotarians have just completed nineteen straight hours Riding the Trains in Sydney to End Polio.
Butterfly Project about to Take Off
Gordon Martin is never idle. Lately he has been researching what it takes to encourage Monarch butterflies to thrive and he plans to have many more than usual flying around town this year by growing and distributing a large number of plants to feed the butterflies. The project in collaboration with the Waitaki Community Gardens is to be launched at 7pm on October 23rd with tickets at just $15.
Seed Cleaning Project Crops Up
For our last meeting we were fortunate to have Dr Mark Smith from the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust conduct a tour of the historic precinct for Rotarians. We saw one particular corner of the precinct which is off-limits and houses contraptions that Dr Smith hopes will move again.
Interview Skills Sharpened
Five students from Waitaki Girl's High School bravely put themselves forward for practice interviews to prepare them for the real thing when they apply for scholarships or their university course. The calibre of the students was as high as ever, and Rotarians were able to pass on their experience and knowledge to help the students put their best foot forward when the time comes.
District Governor to Ride the Trains
DG Tania Lowery is off to Sydney to raise funds to End Polio by riding 187 trains. Each Rotary Club in the district is contributing and so far over $28,000 has been raised.
Grants Going Global
We hear a lot about our District Grants being used to benefit our local community, but what about that portion of our raised funds that goes Global? Some projects are so big and significant that a District Grant doesn't do it justice. That's where Global Grants come in.
Inkbox Packed for Meet the Candidates
The three Mayoral candidates and the council candidates turned up on their best behaviour for Meet the Candidates. Questions were answered succinctly and quickly which was no small part down to Alan McLay who did an excellent job of moderator.
Meet the Candidates 2019
Local government elections are fast approaching and a strong field of contenders have been nominated for councillor positions and the Mayoralty. Rotary is once again hosting an opportunity to meet the candidates so come to the Opera House at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start on September 17th for a chance to hear the candidates speak and the chance to ask a question from the floor. Entry is free.
Upcoming Events
Setting the pace: District Governor's message.
District Governor Tania Lowery has put together a video address for all clubs in Rotary 9980. Tania's direction for the year is "Less hui, more doing." This will be reflected in the District Conference for 2020 at Balclutha which is going to be family friendly - right from young children through to adult children. 
Another key part of the message is the international shift in Rotary away from some traditions like attendance records which act as a barrier to membership, and a move towards other more flexible model of service club to match the modern lifestyle of potential members. 
Disaster Relief and International Development
The international reach of Rotary is second to none, and from our work locally in Oamaru we not only benefit our local causes but also international causes. Ending Polio is the obvious far-reaching example but closer to home we saw Dr Rodwell present a grim picture of the lack of progress Tonga has made in recovering from Cyclone Gita in which struck in February 2018. Disasters like this are certain to happen again and the Rotary New Zealand Community World Service is focussed on helping.
What's your personal challenge?
Tania has set the challenge for the year ahead. With Rotarians setting themselves each a personal challenge Rotary will raise $330,000 to finish the job of ending polio. This will be matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make $1m. I'd say 200% is not a bad return!
President Blair has set himself the challenge to donate $1 for every 5km on his bike. We might have to put a GPS on it for auditing purposes!
Emergency Response Kits
Throughout the Pacific clubs are ever grateful for the support New Zealand Rotarians give in times of disaster and value this as a significant part of their community service. The supply of Box and Contents is in itself a project and many Rotary clubs each year pack the kits as hands on Rotary service. The Emergency Response Kit (ERK) is the only Rotary New Zealand Humanitarian service project responding to disasters in the Pacific. The ERK also supports in-country economies with many of the items being manufactured in the Pacific and over 90% of all donations are spent in New Zealand with a smaller amount in Pacific countries to cover expenses incurred by those Rotary Clubs. Rotary New Zealand does not pay any commissions or royalties. The ERK is recognised by Governments throughout the Pacific who waive import duties and taxes, with local Rotary clubs taking responsibility for distribution in consultation with Disaster Management Offices.
Farewell Celestine!
After a tasty Belgian banquet our Rotary Youth Exchange student Celestine gave us a farewell presentation about her year in New Zealand. She told us about the amazing things she has done, the challenges and fears she has conquered and we saw the improvement in her English and how her confidence has grown. We also heard from the host families and English teachers who all spoke very highly of Celestine who will be missed as she flies back to Belgium.
A note from incoming President Blair Middlemass
Well we have got the shortest day of the year out of the way, what brilliant weather it has been considering it is winter.
All through the training days that I have been to with Rotary to prepare for the year ahead as President there has been two consistent themes. Be brave and be relevant.
The being relevant theme is the one I want to focus on. I see that we need to be relevant in the community. Relevant in the way we interact with the community that provides benefit to them. Relevant in the way we provide and support programmes that help people in our community.
An outgoing note from Past President Jim Hopkins
Now is the hour or, more correctly, now is almost the hour. Not to say goodbye, as the song famously has it, but rather to pass the baton to Blair whose year as President begins in a week’s time. He’ll outline his master plan when we meet at The Galleon (and a brilliant master plan it will be, I have no doubt) but, for now, at Sven’s suggestion, a few final thoughts as the curtain comes down and I exit stage left. 
Tasmanian Agriculture and Tourism
Sven Thelning was selected for the 2019 Professional Development Exchange to Tasmania alongside five other agricultural and tourism professionals from around District 9980. Click below to read his take on the diverse leading edge of agriculture in Tasmania.
All ages pitch in to plant trail rest area
People of all ages pitched in to plant a rest area on the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail through North Otago farmland last week.
Bibliophiles out in force for Bookarama 2019
After braving the cold outside the Loan and Merc building in Harbour St in Oamaru yesterday morning, more than 100 people streamed inside when the doors were finally flung open for the Rotary Club of Oamaru's Bookarama.


With more than 35,000 books on sale for a gold coin, the event has become something of an annual pilgrimage for many North Otago bookworms.

Leadership in Action - Rotary Youth Leadership Award 2019

Rotary Youth Leadership Awared (RYLA) Oamaru 2019 was always going to take a different approach. The key thing the club understood was that RYLA awardees wanted to experience leadership, not just hear about it. So Rotary Oamaru devised a programme that would provide leadership opportunities from the outset. And according to RYLA attendees, our programme delivered.


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