Swiss Lion Autopsy

Penny Keeling is on a Rotary Youth Exchange to Switzerland. She has previously written of such adventures as fire breathing, hiking with mountain goats, and now she reports further:
Hi all,
I’ve been in Switzerland for over ten months and somehow I have less than two months to go!!?! The last couple of months have gone by incredibly quickly, mostly being filled with school along with two weeks of holidays and a few other activities here and there. 
School has been fun and although the days are still long, it's a bit less boring now as I can understand a lot more. In biology, we’ve been learning about Sars-CoV-2, and through this, we’ve been learning about viruses and immune responses which I find quite interesting. The other week, my friend’s biology class got to dissect a real lion. I have no idea where they got it, but it looked pretty cool. In English class, we’ve read a book made up of “Colonial and postcolonial short stories”, which has further convinced me that we are only ever able to read depressing and/or boring books in English class - regardless of the country or school. Apart from the fact that the stories are short, I’ve found that what we’re reading is on a very similar level to what we read in NZ English classes. In sport class (which is compulsory) we’ve been ice skating a couple times which was super fun, and we’ve also done trampolining twice along with various other sports. 
Only two or three kids in my class have had to quarantine over the last few weeks, no one has actually had Covid19 and the entire class has actually been in school this week. We are a rather “unaffected” class, most classes have a couple of people quarantining at any given time. Some classes have had more than half the students in quarantine at a single time, or have had two or three or four subjects taught online because the teachers were sick or having to quarantine. We have biology online which is harder, but not too different from the teacher actually being there as we still have to sit in the classroom. A couple of weeks ago, Switzerland had the highest rate of new infections in Europe per 100,000 people (I think maybe even the world), yet we didn’t get a lockdown at all, they just belatedly set a few gathering limits. I’m not exactly sure what Switzerland has done correctly, but somehow the infections are going down and there are less and less new cases every day. Our hospitals are completely full though, so I guess we just have to wait and see. 
In the first two weeks of October, we had the autumn holidays. My host-parents were working and my host siblings had online-uni so I ended up doing mostly day trips by myself or with friends. I visited; Schwyz (a town with Switzerland's founding documents), St Gallen (near the border of Germany and Austria with a really old church and one of the oldest libraries in the world), Liechtenstein (a tiny country between Switzerland and Austria), Lugano (in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland), Einsiedeln (a town with a massive Abbey) and finally, I went to Zurich a couple of times. 


In the middle weekend of the holidays, I went with my family to the west half of Switzerland where they speak French. We visited Montreux and Lausanne which were both very pretty and cool. In Montreux, they have a Freddie Mercury statue because he lived there from 1978 and also recorded six albums there. We also visited Chillon Castle, they don’t know exactly when it was first built but the first written record of it is from 1095. I found it really cool because we could go mostly everywhere in the castle and it was in almost perfect condition. We also went to the Cailler Chocolate Factory and Gruyere cheese factory which were interesting as they were both (obviously) very Swiss. On the last day of the holidays, we visited the Jungfraujoch, its a mountain that’s 3,500m high and you catch a train up to the top so now I can say I’ve been to the highest altitude train station in Europe :) We also went on a walk at the top which had some uphill sections so by the end we were probably about 3600m high. Its definitely much more tiring and puffing to be walking uphill at that altitude. It's highest altitude I’ve ever been and its pretty crazy when you think about how they literally have a train going up all the way to the top as a tourist attraction, they started building the railway line in 1896(!!!!!???) and in 1903 it opened all the way up. 
Last Saturday I visited Bern and Thun which were both very pretty. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is a city with 130,000 people. Thun is a bit smaller but really old and with a lake.  
It's crazy to think that I only have 4 weeks of school left and then I’m completely done. Our Christmas holidays start on the 18th of December and then I fly home at the beginning of January just as the holidays end. The year has gone incredibly fast and it's trippy when I think about how long I’ve been away from home for. If I’d known that there was going to be a world-wide pandemic, I probably would have done my exchange last year, but nonetheless, I have had so many new experiences and learnt so much that this year was definitely worth it. 
This is what it was like yesterday morning (The buses were still running even though there was lots of snow and the road is relatively steep) there’s a tiny bit more now 
From Penny 
Swiss Lion Autopsy Penny Keeling 2020-12-06 11:00:00Z 0

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas! So get yourself organised the easy way and order a tree from The Rotary Club of Oamaru, or come to Takaro Park between 12pm and 2pm on Sunday December 13th to pick one out. 
Trees are $10 and can be ordered by emailing
Picture indicative only.
It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas! Sven Thelning 2020-12-06 11:00:00Z 0
Rotary Oamaru WaiYou! Project - Launch of Youth Employment Success (YES) Cara Tipping Smith 2020-10-22 11:00:00Z 0

Searching for Charlie

‘’An officer needed height to determine the course of the battle in the flat desert. It also made one vulnerable to sniper fire. I don’t think anyone was hit, but you could hear the bloody bullets pinging around you.’’
Searching for Charlie Tom Scott 2020-10-01 11:00:00Z 0

Youth employment project gets under way


A project to match local youth with prospective employers was launched on Monday night with no fanfare.

But that does not mean its creators and supporters are not proud of it. They are simply waiting until we move into Covid-19 Level 1 to hold a celebration.

Youth Employment Success, shortened to the appropriate acronym Yes, has been sponsored by WaiYou!, which itself evolved from the Work Ready Passport initiative backed by the Waitaki and Waimate District Councils, schools, businesses, and community groups.

It operates under the Rotary Club of Oamaru, which has charitable trust status and provides free banking services for the National Lottery Community Fund grant.

WaiYou! chairwoman Cara Tipping Smith said Yes was a gold standard, multi-award-winning programme that made one-on-one connections between youth and employer that changed lives.

The project was not so much about placing people in jobs right away, but about them finding out what was available in the workforce, she said.

The online platform was free to use by people aged 16 to 24. They could find youth-friendly employers offering anything from an informal meeting over coffee to site visits, work experience, mentoring and apprenticeships.

Ms Tipping Smith was thrilled with the number of businesses that were taking part.

“We’ve got a bunch of businesses with a whole bunch of opportunities.

“There’s a really good range.”

Some were small operations, such as Acupuncture Oamaru, where owner Elise Blundell was already involved with the Waitaki Girls’ High School Gateway programme, and children’s wear retailer Rebellious Rose, whose owner Rachael Keen was branching out into her own clothing label.

At the other end of the scale were businesses including Canterbury Spinners Ltd and Network Waitaki. Across the Waitaki River, the Veterinary Centre Waimate was leading the way.

Each business has a short video clip showing what it does.

It was yet to go out on social media, but has been presented to the Waitaki Youth Council, Ms Tipping Smith said.

“It was quite a low-key result for what has been years in the making.

“It feels like everybody who’s been approached has said yes.

“People are saying done’ to me as the obvious person on the end of the phone, but it has been a community-led, community-developed project.”

Despite the old joke that a camel was a horse designed by a committee, Ms Tipping Smith said Yes was proof that even with a group of about 30 people collaborating, a great outcome was possible.

“This is such an awesome place to live,” she said, reflecting on “the cool stuff people do”.

Those who deserved thanks included St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen, Andy Lane from Waitaki Boys’ High School, Viv Hay from Waitaki Girls’, Lions, Rotary, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Youth employment project gets under way Sally Brooker 2020-09-26 12:00:00Z 0

Bookarama brings in $20,000


Book-lovers have succeeded in raising about $20,000 in the Oamaru Rotary Club Bookarama.

The much-loved annual sale of secondhand books, jigsaw puzzles and DVDs ran all last week at a pop-up shop at 205A Thames St.

It had been postponed twice because of Covid-19 concerns, so the Rotary Club did not expect to get anywhere near last year’s record fundraising total of more than $30,000.

However, it was “thrilled” with the amount it achieved, chairwoman Ele Ludemann said.

The generosity of the book donors and buyers – who were often the same people – was appreciated, Mrs Ludemann said.

Many people said they depended on Bookarama each year for their supply of reading material, she said.

There were hardly any fiction books left unsold, but always more non-fiction leftovers.

Some were being given to charitable organisations, the more valuable volumes were being taken to dealers in Dunedin or sold online, and the rest would go into a storage container.

A portion of the proceeds would go towards the new playground to be developed at the Oamaru Public Gardens, Mrs Ludemann said.

The Bookarama crew was made up of Rotary members who volunteered in between other commitments and people who were not club members, but helped out because they loved books.

Their expertise in assessing the value of the donated books was “really helpful”, Mrs Ludemann said.

Those sorting the books learned to become less prone to hoarding, she said.

They were becoming much more disciplined in passing on books before they were too old and worn to be treasured by a new reader.

Mrs Ludemann said she would be back to help with next year’s Bookarama.

“We couldn’t disappoint the public.

“And it’s such a great fundraiser.”

Bookarama brings in $20,000 Rebecca Ryan 2020-09-26 12:00:00Z 0

Meet the Candidates


Waitaki residents have a chance next week to grill candidates standing in the general election.

The Rotary Club of Oamaru’s candidates meeting has attracted all the Waitaki hopefuls: incumbent Jacqui Dean (National), Labour’s Liam Wairepo, Sean Beamish for Act,
Troy Allan for the New Conservative Party, Anthony Odering for New Zealand First, Greens candidate Sampsa Kiuru, Heather Meri Pennycook for Advance NZ and independent Daniel Shand.

The event, which starts at 7pm on Tuesday, is being held in the main auditorium of the Oamaru Opera House, after candidates meetings for the 2019 local body election and 2017 general election filled the ODT Inkbox.

“More people turned up to attend than there were seats available – we never imagined there would be that level of interest,” Rotarian Jim Hopkins said.

“But we’ve learned our lesson and we’re in the main auditorium this year.”

Candidates will have the opportunity to give an opening address, before the floor is opened up for questions.

“They can present their policies, put the case for why people should back them and, most importantly, everyone will have the chance to ask questions,” Mr Hopkins said.

He was pleased the event could be held without Covid-19 restrictions.

“We want to thank the ever vigilant health authorities in Wellington for allowing the Covid-free South Island to go back to Level 1, which means as many people as want to come along can do so.”

Entry is by gold coin donation to go towards local projects.

Meet the Candidates 2020-09-26 12:00:00Z 0

A message from NOSLAM

On behalf of NOSLaM and the Waitonui Milltrust I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who had a hand in what started as a riparian planting project and became a long drawn out affair. This Covid-19 has a lot to answer to!! Your participation in whatever manner since the beginning of the project is greatly appreciated.
A special thanks for their efforts on the planting day  go to the team at Fort Enfield for feeding everyone and the members of the Waiareka Valley Lions Club, The Oamaru Rotary Club, The Old School and The Alps 2 Ocean representatives who teamed up with some 80+ young people from Pembroke School on what has probably been the windiest day of the year. You all stood firm, your energy remained high and you and put close to 1000 plants in the ground. A wonderful effort on such a blustery day!
We look forward to seeing the plants grow and flourish over the next few years to create an environmental habitat the community can all be proud of.
A message from NOSLAM Rob McTague 2020-09-22 12:00:00Z 0

Goats and castles - Penny writes from Switzerland

Penny updates us on her latest experiences with goats, castles and wine tasting on while on Rotary Youth Exchange.
Here are some photos from the last few weeks;
Forteresse de Salses in France
One of the beaches we visited in a town called Canet-en-Roussillon, it was about 7pm in the evening and surprisingly empty
What most of the towns and villages in the area looked like.
The walk up the top of Mt Pilatus 
The track on Mt Pilatus along with the friendly-ish goat.
This photo’s taken from Germany but the trees over there are Switzerland.
My walk to school after my bus ride.
Goats and castles - Penny writes from Switzerland Penny Keeling 2020-09-10 12:00:00Z 0


Originally postponed due to Covid-19, Bookarama is back with a new format adapted to the post-Covid situation. The use of a retail store at 205A Thames Street next to Jack Sutherlands has been secured. We will be open for book drop-offs on Saturday August 8th, Monday 10th and Tuesday  11th  10am - 2pm and we will start selling on Wednesday August 12th.  Once sales start, people will now be able to drop their old books at the same time as buying their new books. Fresh books will be put out daily and the doors will be open from 10am until 4pm from Wednesday 12th to Wednesday 19th of August.
BOOKARAMA IS BACK! Sven Thelning & Ele Ludemann 2020-08-03 12:00:00Z 0
Van makes kindy accessible to all Rebecca Ryan 2020-07-30 12:00:00Z 0
Sommerferien in der Schweiz Penny Keeling 2020-07-23 12:00:00Z 0

Penny Reports - Part Two

The past two weeks of language camp were lots of fun but tiring at the same time. It was in the village of Fiesch, which is a ski resort village in the Canton of Valais (the same canton that has the famous Matterhorn). It’s in Southern Switzerland and on the other side of the mountains is Italy. There are 26 new inbounds that came into Switzerland from all over the Southern Hemisphere, and it was awesome getting to know everyone. People had come from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Zimbabwe; although most were Aussies!! I shared a room with Neve, another girl from New Zealand and Karla, from Zimbabwe. It was cool getting to know Karla because her life in Zimbabwe is so different to life in New Zealand.
Penny Reports - Part Two Penny Keeling 2020-02-14 11:00:00Z 0

Cure Our Ovarian Cancer

The Rotary Club of Oamaru was once again hosted for Christmas in the most generous way at Challenge Farm in exchange for donations for Cure Our Ovarian Cancer. Jane Ludemann's life changed with a diagnosis of low-grade serous carcinoma. Funding for research into such rare cancers is poor and so Jane decided to change that and so left her job as an optometrist and started Cure Our Ovarian Cancer. A big part of the problem is that even many doctors don't know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, so the first thing for the rest of us to do is keep the following symptoms in mind for ourselves, our wives, and our daughters:
  • Abdominal bloating or increased abdominal size
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Appetite loss, feeling full quickly or indigestion
  • Urinary changes, such as frequency or urgency
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Unexplained fatigue
Ovarian Cancer kills more women than traffic accidents and skin cancer, so if you know to look both ways before crossing the road, or to put sunblock on before going outside, then knowing the above list is the next step.
For the full story, read more about Jane in the ODT, and once feeling fully inspired, visit to make whatever donation you are able to. Apart from the small transaction fee, it all goes to the cause so it's excellent value for money as far as donations go.
Cure Our Ovarian Cancer Sven Thelning 2020-02-13 11:00:00Z 0

Penny Reports - Part One

In December we farewelled Penny Keeling who is our Rotary Youth Exchange student in Switzerland. She has taken time from her busy schedule of skiing, learning German, and making cheese fondue to write the following reports on her time so far.
Penny Reports - Part One Penny Keeling 2020-02-13 11:00:00Z 0

Power plans for Empire

At our latest Rotary Meeting we received an inspiring presentation from Fergus Power, the CEO of the Waitaki District Council. The Star Wars theme trumpeted from the speakers as a never-ending list of regulations under his administration scrolled past the screen and into space, and he talked about areas the council has earmarked for continual improvement, but it was the Dawn Aerospace satellite launching drones which captured Rotarian's attention.
Power plans for Empire Sven Thelning 2020-02-13 11:00:00Z 0

Rotary Christmas

The Rotary Christmas function had a strong youth exchange theme as we farewelled Penny Keeling and presented her with her Rotary Youth Exchange blazer to take to Switzerland. Therefore it was particularly fitting that we also enjoyed a visit from Bruno Rossi, his wife Agustina and their daughters Justina and Aurelia who are visiting the Ludemann's who hosted Bruno as an AFS student in 1995. It was a pleasure meeting Bruno who manages a Nissan dealership and whose family is involved in New Zealand style dairy farming in Argentina.
Penny has arrived safely in Switzerland and has made a strong start reporting on her first impressions. These are accompanied by fantastic photographs so be sure to read them and see the impact that Rotary Youth Exchange makes on the students who grab the opportunity with both hands.
Rotary Christmas Sven Thelning 2019-12-30 11:00:00Z 0

South Island Super District Proposed

Posted by Tania Lowery on Nov 11, 2019
As many of you will be aware, our Rotary District has been in discussions with our neighbouring District 9970 about the formation of a new Rotary District covering the whole of the South Island.
So as to keep everyone informed I have attached a statement which you can include in your club newsletter, and use at your club meetings.
Every Club will get an opportunity to vote on the proposal and further information on the proposed structure and how the voting process will work will be provided in the near future.
South Island Super District Proposed Tania Lowery 2019-11-10 11:00:00Z 0

Bookarama helps buy chemotherapy chair

Posted by Oamaru Mail on Nov 01, 2019


When the Rotary Club of Oamaru asked people to choose how funds raised at Bookarama should be spent, the result was a landslide.

Among other projects, book-lovers voted to support the Oamaru hospital’s proposal to offer patients the benefits of a specialised chemotherapy chair when they came in for treatment.

The idea came about when then Oamaru Rotary Club president Jim Hopkins approached the hospital to ask if the Bookarama team could use the pipe band hall as a drop-off and sorting base for books.

They agreed funding a chemotherapy chair would be a good way to “rent” the building.

Bookarama helps buy chemotherapy chair Oamaru Mail 2019-10-31 11:00:00Z 0

District Governer Running on Adrenalin

Posted by Sven Thelning on Oct 25, 2019
District Governor Tania Lowery has been running on adrenalin as she finished over nineteen hours of Riding the Trains in Sydney. Click below to read her Facebook post and see her photos.
District Governer Running on Adrenalin Sven Thelning 2019-10-24 11:00:00Z 0

ODT: Monarch butterfly bid announced

Posted by Gus Patterson on Oct 25, 2019
Oamaru could soon be the monarch butterfly capital of New Zealand.


On Wednesday night, newly formed group Friends of the Monarch Butterfly hosted an event at the Loan and Merc and formally announced its campaign to increase the local butterfly population.

ODT: Monarch butterfly bid announced Gus Patterson 2019-10-24 11:00:00Z 0

Grants Going Global 

Posted on Oct 11, 2019
District Grants
The District Grant allocation process has been completed for this year. All clubs should have the allocated funds in their Foundation bank accounts this week.
Global Grants
Our District Rotarians are outstanding in the difference they make around the world through using the funds from The Rotary Foundation. We have currently 11 approved grants that are open, 5 that have been submitted and two currently in draft - a total of 18. There are also a few more in the pipe line.
GG2091621, GG2091685 - Give Every Child a Future
This project is part of a larger project initiated to celebrate the Centenary of Rotary in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. The project aims to introduce three vaccines into nine Pacific Island Countries. The aim is to immunize 100.00 of the most disadvantaged children across the pacific over the next three to four years and strengthen the local health systems to make this programme sustainable into the future.
The District has recently approved a DDF grant of $5000 to Niue and Tokelau to support this initiative.
GG1987661 - Teacher Training, Mangala, Nepal
Nepal is the poorest country outside Africa. Rotary does much to assist, but the ultimate answer lies in the education of the people. The starting point is the provision of schools and attracting students to attend, but without good teaching the children don't receive the quality education they deserve. Quality Education Nepal, a project of Rotary Australia World Community Service, has been training teachers in remote Western Nepal since 2011. More than 300 teachers have joined the programme to date, receiving 50 days training over three years, with annual refresher training continuing thereafter. In April 2017 a Rotary Foundation Global Grant added 225 teachers to the programme, and this grant is to train a further 80 teachers in the adjoining Mangala area.
GG2092713 Osligi Training Farm Upgrade Project- a long term commitment by the Waimate Rotary Club
The collaborative journey began in 2009 when Robin and Margaret Aims visited the Waimate District and spoke of their challenges and experiences in Kenya over a period of some 25 years. Their ongoing work with street boys from the Kibera slums in Nairobi has shown astounding results and had reached the point where there was a need to expand the farms sustainability to grow agricultural products for income as well as educate and train these young men in a multitude of farming based skill sets.
The Waimate Rotary Club took up the challenge in 2009 and raised $60,000 to drill a water well for irrigation and develop the irrigation infrastructure to irrigate the growing passion fruit and tomatoes.
Two Volunteer Rotarian's and wives from the Waimate Club travelled to Kenya and spent a month working to further develop the property. They built 2 metre high wind breaks over about 4 kms of perimeter and the shelter from this new infrastructure ensured the constant prevailing Easterly wind was minimised to ensure much more productive crops year on year. Pigs were also purchased along with the purchase of a much needed tractor with cultivation gear donated on the spot by a Waimate Rotarian.
That investment has been nurtured and maintained by the team on the ground at Osligi and the skills training results has grown positively and sustainably from there as well as providing a skills based training platform for the student farmers.
The second investment from Rotary District 9980 came when the decision was made to move to a farm closer to Nairobi for a better marketing position for sales of farm products. The existing farm was sold as a going concern and the monies from the sale were put to good use and the water project was transferred to the new farm.
This move has allowed Robin and Margaret Aims to better manage sales and also grow more productively the vital community based educational work they do with the boys.
In 2014, a group of local people through the Waimate Airlift Charitable Trust, administered by 2 Waimate Rotarians raised the necessary funding for building a 4-room classroom facility to enable the tutoring of the boys in a fit and proper classroom environment. This has in turn become a huge catalyst for educational growth. The Rotarians of Waimate and Wellington regions outfitted the rooms with desks, chairs and training equipment. The total spend was $140,000 and the facility was opened in 2014 debt free.
The ability to service the needs of the boys has been enhanced since the addition of accommodation for some of the training staff.
Robin and Margaret have served this group of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged on the African continent for over 35 years and Waimate Rotary club awarded them both with Paul Harris Fellowships and medals at a function in our Club in March 2019. So well deserved and at that point in our Clubs journey a decision was made to provide more sustainability to finish the job that Rotary helped start.
This new training initiative supporting the rehabilitation programme of the Nairobi Juvenile Prison Service, although a risk for the farm and training team, is a calculated one to also break that cycle of violence that many of these young men are locked into.
The increased learning capability and sustainable productivity of Osligi Farm, Nairobi, Kenya will ensure that the wages are paid, some profit is generated and the farm is self-sustainable while increased numbers of young men are farm trained and find gainful employment year on year. That will in turn help grow the Agricultural economy of Kenya and it goes without saying, feeding the world is our major goal, starting in Africa.
Grants Going Global Sven Thelning 2019-10-10 11:00:00Z 0

DG to OZ

Posted by Sven Thelning on Oct 11, 2019
DC Tania Lowery is joining rotarians in District 9685 to 'Ride the Sydney trains' to support the end of Polio. Last Year Mark Anderson and his son rode all 187 trains as a fundraiser for Polio and to raise public awareness. This year DG Tania is joining them wearing her distinctive "End Polio" sneakers. Tania has asked that clubs make their Polio contribution before October 20 so that she can present a cheque from District 9980 when she is there. Already 10 clubs, the Queen's Interact group in Dunedin and an individual have made their contributions. We currently have raised $28,786.90. Please support DG Tania as she "rides the trains in Sydney to enable others to walk.
DG to OZ Sven Thelning 2019-10-10 11:00:00Z 0

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Posted by Sven Thelning on Oct 11, 2019
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is back for 2020 and is to be held in Queenstown this year. Do you know any young people who could benefit? Show them the video slideshow below to see what it's about. 
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Sven Thelning 2019-10-10 11:00:00Z 0

Learn to Interview 

Posted by Sven Thelning on Oct 10, 2019
On Tuesday five students from Waitaki Girls' High School put themselves in a new situation as Rotarians conducted practice interviews to provide a non-threatening environment for them to learn interview skills and network with Rotarians.
Learn to Interview Sven Thelning 2019-10-09 11:00:00Z 0

Seed cleaning project crops up.

Posted by Sven Thelning on Oct 10, 2019
The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust is a 1,000 year organisation according to Dr Mark Smith who conducted a detailed tour for Rotarians, however they certainly aren't simply watching the time pass by. As well as an interesting description of the history, current challenges and plans for each of the trust's historic limestone buildings Dr Smith also provided access to a little-known corner of Catto Wool's building where two seed cleaners have sat since being abandoned in the mid 1980's. Built by Christchurch firm Andrews and Beaven, the seed cleaners were used to clean debri and weed seed from grain when the Catto's Wool building was Meek's Grainstore, presumably before the grain was milled in what is now the Smash Palace building.
Seed cleaning project crops up. Sven Thelning 2019-10-09 11:00:00Z 0

Butterfly project no mere flight of fancy

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on Oct 04, 2019

Oamaru is becoming a metropolis of swan plants and monarch butterflies as the Waitaki Community Gardens, Rotary Club of Oamaru and members of the community undertake a project to preserve the monarch butterfly, which is declining all around the world. Oamaru Mail editor Rebecca Ryan talks to Rotarian Gordon Martin about his passion for the project.



Butterfly project no mere flight of fancy Rebecca Ryan 2019-10-03 11:00:00Z 0

McRobie pushes economy

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on Sep 20, 2019

From the Oamaru Mail:

Ross McRobie will be elected to the Waitaki District Council’s Ahuriri ward unopposed, but he still made his case to the community at the Rotary Club of Oamaru’s meet the candidates forum on Tuesday night.

McRobie pushes economy Rebecca Ryan 2019-09-19 12:00:00Z 0

Inkbox packed for political meeting.

Posted by Sven Thelning on Sep 18, 2019
The Opera House Inkbox was filled to capacity for the main political meeting of the year as the three Mayoral candidates and all but two council candidates made their case for election to the Waitaki District Council. Former Mayor Alan McLay expediently guided proceedings and with the help of the bell most of the candidates succinctly covered a range of topics from rubbish to the hospital.
Inkbox packed for political meeting. Sven Thelning 2019-09-17 12:00:00Z 0

Meet the Candidates 2019

Posted by Sven Thelning on Sep 01, 2019
The local government elections are fast approaching and as usual Rotary is hosting a meeting of the candidates for all contested council and mayoral positions.
Meet the Candidates 2019 Sven Thelning 2019-08-31 12:00:00Z 0

Travel bug caught on trip to Montana

Posted by Sally Brooker on Aug 22, 2019

From the Oamaru Mail:

Tyla Bishop has the travel bug after a recent trip to the United States.

Tyla (17) was one of six Kiwis selected for an inaugural three-week TeenAg exchange to Montana. TeenAg, the secondary school branch of New Zealand Young Farmers, chose them after they completed its Leadership Pathway Programme.

The pupils, chaperoned by Young Farmers Otago-Southland territory manager Biddy Huddleston, spent four days at the 4-H Congress at the Montana State University campus in Bozeman. They were among 350 students from around the world taking part in educational workshops, livestock judging competitions, and learning about career opportunities in primary industries.

The 4-H organisation in the United States is administered by the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

An incident involving a disgruntled university employee added drama to the last day, when the whole campus was placed in lockdown for two hours until police apprehended him.

Each New Zealander was then billeted with a host family for nine days. Tyla, who lives on a dairy farm at Georgetown, stayed with a dairy farming family which had daughters aged 18 and 16.

She had met the elder one last year when she came to Oamaru for the first leg of the exchange.

“They were very friendly,” Tyla said.

She enjoyed hanging out with the girls and their friends and riding horses – something she has always done recreationally.

There was “a lot of difference” between the two countries, but Tyla said she overcame barriers to forge many new friendships.

There were also some striking similarities – such as the friction between rural and urban ways of life.

The state of Montana is sparsely populated, having only a million people in total.

“It’s very vast countryside. It’s like New Zealand with a lot more trees.”

The Kiwis were told to research their destination before they left, so they would know what to expect, Tyla said. Her hosts were impressed by her knowledge, and also asked her about farming practices in her home country.

“They were amazed that we milk 750 cows twice a day.”

Hereford and Red Angus cattle are prevalent in Montana.

Tyla will speak about her trip to the Five Forks Young Farmers Club, and has already made presentations to St Kevin’s College and the Rotary and Lions clubs that sponsored her.

She also earned money for the venture by working on a dairy farm in the summer holidays.

At school, she is studying agriculture, biology, chemistry, statistics and religious studies.

“I’m hoping to go shepherding, potentially in Central Otago.”

Although it was no longer unusual for females to be hired for such jobs, “you’ve got to go the extra mile to prove your worth”, she said.

Tyla has also applied for a Coleridge Downs Training Farm two-year cadetship.

The long-term goal is to own her own farm – sheep and beef, rather than dairy.

Travel is another priority, “particularly Australia and Canada”.

Meanwhile, St Kevin’s is “very, very proud” of Tyla’s achievements in being selected for the exchange and in making the most of it, agriculture teacher Paula Eatherley said.

Travel bug caught on trip to Montana Sally Brooker 2019-08-21 12:00:00Z 0

Setting the pace: District Governor's message.

Posted by Sven Thelning on Jul 24, 2019
Click below to view the video message from Tania Lowery and some of the District 9980 executive regarding the direction for the year ahead.
Setting the pace: District Governor's message. Sven Thelning 2019-07-23 12:00:00Z 0
What's your personal challenge? Tania Lowery 2019-07-15 12:00:00Z 0

Tasmanian Agriculture and Tourism

Posted by Sven Thelning on Jun 09, 2019
In March this year I was part of a team of six professionals from the agriculture and tourism industries who made the trip to Tasmania on a four-week Professional Development Exchange to visit leading farming and tourism operations. Juliana Baxter was our team leader who gave us the benefit of her experience as a Rotarian at Invercargill North, and as Visitor Manager at the incredible Bill Richardson Transport World. Also on the team was Luisa Kuresa of Bill Richardson Transport World, Angela Juergensen of Queenstown Resort College, contractor and Winton dairy farmer Lis Rietveld, high country Merino farmer Andrew Jopp of Alexandra, and myself, a dairy farm manager and compliance contractor. The team immediately bonded well, with thanks to some planning sessions with Dave McKissock, and much of the value from the trip was from bouncing ideas and observations off each other. The following article is a very brief summation of a just few of the incredible vocational visits which Rotary gave us access to.
Tasmanian Agriculture and Tourism Sven Thelning 2019-06-08 12:00:00Z 0

Bibliophiles out in force for Bookarama

Posted by Daniel Birchfield on Jun 08, 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.

Bibliophiles out in force for Bookarama Daniel Birchfield 2019-06-07 12:00:00Z 0

Leadership in Action - Rotary Youth Leadership Award 2019

Posted by Cara Tipping-Smith on Jun 07, 2019
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.
Leadership in Action - Rotary Youth Leadership Award 2019 Cara Tipping-Smith 2019-06-06 12:00:00Z 0

‘Polio surge in Pakistan’

Posted by Babar bin Atta on May 25, 2019

Indeed, this year the number of cases of polio in Pakistan has increased and the virus transmission has intensified. Pakistan’s case count now stands at 19.

Of the total 19 cases, 13 have been detected from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while three were detected from Punjab and Sindh each.

Polio eradication is very simple: if you vaccinate enough children in a given area, then poliovirus has nowhere to hide and disappears from that area.

‘Polio surge in Pakistan’ Babar bin Atta 2019-05-24 12:00:00Z 0

To Calm Nervous Families, Pakistan Changes Polio Vaccination Tactics

Posted by Donald G. McNeil Jr on May 24, 2019
Paralysis cases spiked after a vaccination drive was derailed by false rumors that dozens of children had collapsed and died.
After serious setbacks in April led to a cluster of new polio cases, Pakistan is revamping its vaccination strategy in a renewed effort to wipe out the virus.
Donald G. McNeil Jr. is a science reporter covering epidemics and diseases of the world’s poor. He joined The Times in 1976, and has reported from 60 countries.  
To Calm Nervous Families, Pakistan Changes Polio Vaccination Tactics Donald G. McNeil Jr 2019-05-23 12:00:00Z 0

An update from the fight to eradicate polio

Posted by Bill Gates

I was born just a few months after the first polio vaccine became available. When I was a kid, I had no idea how lucky I was. Just three years earlier, in 1952, the U.S. experienced one of the worst polio epidemics in its history. More than 57,000 kids got sick with the disease. Thousands died.

An update from the fight to eradicate polio Bill Gates 2019-05-16 12:00:00Z 0

Women & Tech Event - FREE!

From the people who brought you The Electric Garden (sponsored by Rotary Oamaru), comes an extraordinary women & tech event. Even better, it's being held in Waimate, May 20th... and it's all FREE! Read all the details here and don't forget to share the news. This is a one day opportunity we may never see again.
Women & Tech Event - FREE! 2019-05-09 12:00:00Z 0
All ages pitch in to plant trail rest area Sally Brooker 2019-03-27 11:00:00Z 0

RYLA 2019 - Applications Extension!


We've had some incredible applications so well done to those of you who've jumped at this chance. With some spaces available in this exceptional programme - we're extending the application through to Friday 18th January, 2019. What involved? Read on!

RYLA 2019 - Applications Extension! 2018-11-29 11:00:00Z 0

RYLA 2019 Applications Extension!

We've had some incredible applications so well done to those of you who've jumped at this chance. We have some spaces available in this exceptional programme so we've decided to extend the application process through to Friday 18th January, 2019. What involved? Read on!

RYLA 2019 Applications Extension! 2018-11-29 11:00:00Z 0
Speech Competition 2019 2018-11-28 11:00:00Z 0
Study Scholarships Open Cara Tipping Smith 2018-11-15 11:00:00Z 0 RYLA,RYLA 2019,RYLA Oamaru,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 2019,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Oamaru
Tonga Housing Crisis Cara Tipping Smith 2018-11-14 11:00:00Z 0 Cyclone Gita,Pasifika Safe Shelter Trust,Tonga

Ring for Good

Posted on Sep 07, 2018
Silent auction for one found ring. Value in the region of $1800! All proceeds to Rotary. One week only. Deadline 4pm, Friday 14th September. Get all the details here.
Ring for Good Cara Tipping Smith 2018-09-06 12:00:00Z 0
RYLA Applications Open Now Cara Tipping Smith 2018-08-04 12:00:00Z 0 RYLA,RYLA 2019,RYLA Oamaru,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 2019,Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Oamaru

Year 12 & 13 Interviews


Year 12 & 13 Student Interviews


Project Leader: Blair Middlemass



At some stage in a students life they will be required to be involved in an interview situation. This may be for a scholarship, a job interview, for a rental property, a bank loan.


As part of The Rotary Club of Oamaru's commitment to the community we assist year 12 & 13 high school students develop life skills by running a mock interview situation.



To give students an opportunity to experience an interview situation.

Provide feedback in both a relaxed verbal manner and support it with written material.



Tuesday 21st August and Thursday 23rd August 2018



Blair Middlemass at by 25 August 2018



Year 12 & 13 Interviews Blair Middlemass 2018-04-20 12:00:00Z 0

Bookarama 25-27th May

Masses of work has been done collecting thousands of books along with CDs, Vinyl, Puzzles and more - all ready for our annual Bookarama. This year's event is going to be our best and biggest yet. 
Loan & Merc, Harbour St, Oamaru
  • Friday 25th May 9am - 10pm
  • Saturday 26th May 9am - 6.30pm
  • Sunday 27th May 9am - 12pm
Free entry. BYO bags. See you there!
Bookarama 25-27th May 2018-03-21 11:00:00Z 0 Bookarama,Oamaru
Making a Difference: Tree Planting 2018-03-21 11:00:00Z 0

And then there was light

A crowd of nearly 200 people who gathered in the 1876 Oamaru Public Gardens, shouted: " Let there be light!" - and the light came on on the Craig Memorial Fountain for the first time last Friday.
And then there was light 2018-03-21 11:00:00Z 0

Public Event: Prostate Cancer Awareness with Dr. Shaun Costello

Posted by Frances Mcmillan on Aug 03, 2017
Join us for this public event: Prostate Cancer Awareness with Dr. Shaun Costello, Oncologist.
Wednesday 23 August 2017, 5:30pm

Speaking on:
- The burden of cancer
- About the prostate and prostate cancer
- Staging and prognosis
- Initial Treatment Options
- The central role of testosterone
- Treatments other than depleting testosterone 

Spaces limited to 70 registrations, please RSVP to: Robert Gonzales on 
Registration cost: $18
Finger food provided with bar open.
23 August 2017, 5:30pm at The Manor Estate - Function Centre + B&B

Brought to you by the Rotary Club of OamaruUniversity of OtagoSouthern District Health Board.
Public Event: Prostate Cancer Awareness with Dr. Shaun Costello Frances Mcmillan 2017-08-02 12:00:00Z 0

Helping people with disabilities make their own music

Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.
After their son Mateusz was born with underdeveloped eyes, Mariusz and Joanna Kania looked for ways to help him be active. When he showed an aptitude for music, they looked for a teacher and were thrilled to find the Paul Harris music school.
Helping people with disabilities make their own music 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

Finding Safe Haven

For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After serving her time, Bianca sought help from a local homeless organization, A Safe Haven, and moved to its shelter in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Bianca followed the program closely -- she attended all the required meetings, passed drug tests, and volunteered at every opportunity.
Finding Safe Haven 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

Saving lives in Ghana

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.
Saving lives in Ghana 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

India celebrates three years without polio

Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
The three-year achievement sets the stage for polio-free certification of the entire Southeast Asia region by the World Health Organization. The Indian government also plans to convene a polio summit in February to commemorate this victory in the global effort to eradicate polio.
India celebrates three years without polio 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0