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District Governor Awards

5 July 2020

The club's near $2million Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade Project received special commendation at the Rotary District 9970 changeover lunch in Christchurch. Project leader Trevor Marshall received a District Governor's Medal and, on behalf of the club, immediate past-president Karen Stade accepted a DG's Special Award for the project. Outgoing DG Gary Hopkinson was particularly impressed by the extent of collaboration by Rotary clubs in the Top of the South Island. Congratulations Trevor!

Fred Coe Trophy Recipient

2 July 2020

Immediate past president Karen Stade was awarded the Fred Coe Trophy, which acknowledges a club member who has gone above and beyond his or her Rotary duty. Karen took over as club caretaker-president when the 2019-2020 president Mike McMellon unexpectedly had to leave the role part way through the year, and kept the club connected via Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown and level 3 restrictions.Congratulations Karen!

New PHF Noel Tait

2 July 2020

Noel Tait is the club's newest Paul Harris Fellow (PHF), following his induction at the annual changeover. Noel has been a club member for more than 16 years and is someone who amply demonstrates the qualities of a Rotarian and PHF. He's played a key role in the Rotoiti Lodge upgrade, is a regular croupier at the club's casino fundraising events, and is the club's social organiser extraordinaire. Congratulations Noel!

New President Martin de Rutyter

2 July 2020

The club's annual changeover dinner saw Martin de Ruyter take the presidential chains, along with new Nelson Rotary president Gaile Noonan. It was the first time Whakatu and Nelson Rotary clubs have held a joint changeover and signifies an intention by both new presidents to work more co-operatively on projects, especially in the centennial year of Rotary in New Zealand.

Rata Foundation $100,000 grant

26 June 2020

We are very fortunate to again have the Rata Foundation support the Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade project with a second $100,000 grant. The grant will be used to get the lodge roof commercially painted, install new drapes and flooring throughout the entire lodge, and buy a second passenger van to transport lodge groups and their gear to activities. Thanks Rata Foundation!

Breaking News: Back to Trailways

22 May 2020

It's been a long-time coming as we've faced the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions on how many people can congregate but finally, we can announce that Whakatu Rotary will recommence its breakfast meetings at Trailways Hotel on Friday 5 June. Looking forward to seeing members in person! Everyone, please be aware that meeting attendance and breakfast will be by RSVP only while we remain living with Covid-19 restrictions.

Zooming in under Covid-19

April-May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown prevented Whakatu Rotary from holding its weekly meetings, but members kept in regular touch each week via Zoom video meetings. They zoomed in for a morning coffee once a week and, at the end of each week, joined others for a social drink and chat. It was also a great way to bring in former members and other Rotarians.

Remembering the Christchurch Mosque Shootings

10 March 2020

A group of members attended a Nelson-Whakatu Muslim Association event at the Trafalgar Centre to remember the first anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque shootings and to promote and create opportunities for interfaith and intercultural understanding and identify shared values.

Tasman Asian Food Festival

8 February 2020

Members again put up the decorations for this annual Multicultural Nelson-Tasman run festival at Richmond's Washbourn Gardens. After several years on the job, we're getting pretty good at stringing up what are some pretty heavy decorations! They really make for a colourful event.


18 March 2020

We acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and reasonable concerns of our club members about the local situation.

With that in mind we think it is both prudent and responsible that Whakatu Rotary suspend our weekly club meetings until at least after Easter 2020. There will therefore be no club meetings on 20 March, 27 March, 3 April or 10 April (Good Friday).

The rationale behind out decision is as follows: 

(1) Some of our members could be at increased risk from COVID-19, due to their age, health and possible contact with people who have recently returned from overseas.

(2) Many of our members work in environments where there are groups and individuals who are more vulnerable.

(3) The venue we normally use at Trailways makes it difficult to limit physical contact, maintain physical distancing and carry on with personal hygiene, such as hand washing.

(4) As Rotarians we should be role modelling the desired behaviours and reinforce public health messaging from health and government authorities.

(5) While we have systems in place that would help with contact tracing if required, weekly meetings are not absolutely essential and reducing the potential for any contact is being responsible.

(6) Many organisations in Nelson have taken a similar approach and we believe we should do the same.

(7) We aren’t alone in cancelling our club meetings, projects and conferences. Other Rotary clubs and Districts are making similar decisions.  The board will need to talk about what to do with payments being made by members for meetings we have cancelled.


Just a reminder of the basic precautions:

A) Wash your hands.

B) If you don’t need to travel overseas, then don’t. 

C) Wash your hands.

D) If you sneeze, do it into your elbow

E) Wash your hands

F) If you’re sick, stay home.

G) Wash your hands.

H) Stop handshakes, hugs, and hongi. We know this will be difficult for some Rotarians, but the best thing we can do right now to show love and affection to one another, is to try new methods of greeting such as the Peace sign, or the the East Coast wave.

I) Please be mindful of the older people in your life. Check-in on them.

The Ministry of Health is providing up to date information and advice on COVID-19 check out their website for all the latest information and advice.  


We all have a role to play during this time. Look out for your neighbours, look out for your family. Look out for your friends.

Members who have speakers arranged for Friday 20, 27 March and 3 April, please contact them to advise that we have cancelled our meetings for the interim. We hope you may be able to reschedule them in future.


After Works Drinks this Friday at Arden in Hardy Street is still on and individual members can decide if they want to partake. We will also update our website and social media.


Thanks everyone. Keep safe, stay in touch, and go well.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

25 January 2020

Whakatu kicked off the new year in the company of dragons, as members helped to set up, run and take down the Chinese New Year Festival at Nelson's Queen's Gardens. Organised by club member Jingjing Jackson, herself Chinese, the day was an outstanding success, with hundreds flocking to the gardens to enjoy the Chinese lanterns, music, food and of course, the Dragon Dance.

Rotoiti Lodge Working Bee

6 October 2019

A team of Whakatu Rotarians was joined by Rotarians from Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim South clubs over the course of a week for a working bee to paint the exterior of Rotoiti Lodge. This and staining the new deck and completing interior painting, was part of a final push to complete the lodge refurbishment project Whakatu Rotary started a year ago. Everyone knows that hard work and good food go hand in hand and the team enjoyed some delicious catering through the week. It was rewarding working with other clubs on this important and valuable Top of the South Island youth outdoor education facility and we can't wait for the grand lodge relaunch next month. 

Colombian Independence Celebrations

18 August 2019

As part of our relationship with Multicultural Nelson-Tasman, a corporate member of the club, Whakatu Rotarians helped out at the second annual Colombian Independence Day celebrations at Founders Heritage Park. A team of members worked alongside Multicultural Nelson-Tasman volunteers on the food token desk on a beautiful winter's day full of Colombian music, dance, costume, games and food.

Lodge Dorms to Heat Up

2 August 2019

Thanks to a Pub Charity grant of $46,500 we will soon be able to double glaze all the windows in Rotoiti Lodge's two dormitories. This will make a huge difference to the warmth of all the bunk rooms and we know everyone who stays there in future will appreciate it!

Pergola Construction

28 July 2019

A weekend working bee saw the construction of a pergola at Rotoiti Lodge - the final stage of the new deck. The pergola provides a welcoming entrance way to the lodge. Members also painted the downstairs bathroom, and the kitchen, which is now ready for the installation of a new commercial kitchen.

Window on the Lake

24 July 2019

Out with the old, in with the new, as wooden window joinery in the living room of Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre made way for new aluminium double glazed sliding doors. These open out on the the wonderful new deck and offer guests great views of the lake and snow covered mountains in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Whakatu's Changeover Dinner

9 July 2019

The chains of office were officially handed over tonight, with outgoing president Brian McGurk placing them around the neck of new 2019-2020 president Mike McMellon. Members and partners met for the annual changeover dinner at NMIT's Rata Room restaurant. This year's theme was 'what makes me happy', which resulted in a wide range of stories told, items shown and treasures passed around.  

Whakatu wins two district awards

6 July 2019

We were honoured to be presented with two awards at the 2019-2020 district changeover dinner in Christchurch over the weekend. Outgoing Whakatu president Brian McGurk was on hand to receive from outgoing District Governor John Driscoll the Peter and Pam Smale Award for Environmental Projects (including our Saltwater Creek cleanups and tree plantings) and (pictured) a District Governor's Special Award for Best Use of Technology (our social media and online presence). What a great pat on the back for our club.

Rotoiti Lodge - All Decked Out

21 June 2019

Wow! Doesn't the new deck at Rotoiti Lodge look fantastic! With the help of so many and after weeks of work, the deck is completed, with the exception of a pergola, which will go up soon. Club members can't wait to get up to St Arnaud in warmer weather to try the deck out and to check out all the other improvements gradually coming as part of our lodge upgrade project.

Bell Trophy Winners - Again!

19 June 2019

Whakatu Rotary again took out the Bell Trophy during a toughly fought quiz night challenge at Speights Ale House.  A Whakatu team,Toportunity, headed up by club member Jo Stocker, received the trophy from club president Brian McGurk. The annual Rotary challenge was competed for by Nelson, Nelson West, Richmond and Whakatu teams.

A shiny new van for Rotoiti Lodge

14 June 2019

Add News Story hereAnother fantastic achievement in Whakatu Rotary's Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade Project with Steve Webster from the Bowater Motor Group presenting the keys of a brand new Toyota Hi-Ace van to lodge manager Russell Ferens. The van was purchased with the support of a Lion Foundation grant, funds raised by Whakatu Rotary, and the support of Bowaters. The van means lodge staff can transport students to the start of tramping tracks safely and comfortably - no more walking for an hour up a gravel road before they even start the tramp!

We nailed it!

8 June 2019

Rain, hail or shine - the weather didn't stop a team of Whakatu Rotarians from undertaking one of the more tedious parts of the Rotoiti Lodge deck construction. They spent a day over the weekend punching in thousands of nails to prevent anyone tripping on them. And club member Ruedi Schuler delivered a brand new flag pole made by his business Action Engineering.

$100,000 Rata Foundation Grant Approved!

5 June 2019

Great news this week - the Rātā Foundation has approved a grant of $100,000 to Whakatu Rotary for the Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade Project! This will be used to install a brand new commercial grade kitchen in the lodge and for new dining room furniture. Demolition of the old kitchen starts in late July.

International Convention - Hamburg

1-5 June 2019

A team of Whakatu Rotarians travelled to Hamburg, Germany to attend the 2019 Rotary International Convention. Martin de Ruyter, Karen Stade, Julie Bryant, Anna Gully, Phil Gully, and Kristine Marriott were joined by 22,000 Rotarians from 170 countries for this annual mini-United Nations get-together of Rotary members. A key theme of the convention was 'A Changing Rotary for a Changing World'. The Whakatu contingent is pictured outside one of two Houses of Friendship, which showcased Rotary projects, fellowship groups, and  action groups.

Mitsubishi vehicle handover

17 May 2019

Another milestone in the Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade Project with Tony Richards of Houston Motors handing over the keys of a brand new four-wheel drive vehicle at this morning's club meeting to the lodge manager Russell Ferens. Up until now, Russell has been using his own vehicle for lodge use. Thanks to Houstons, the Lion Foundation and the Sign Man for their roles in making this happen. The photo shows Russell, Tony, president Brian McGurk and, in the background, project manager Trevor Marshall.

New deck for Rotoiti Lodge

11 May 2019

After a week of very hard work by NMIT DOC ranger students, tutors, Mitre 10 Mega and Whakatu Rotarians, Rotoiti Lodge has a 220m square deck. We think it looks pretty fabulous. There are still a few finishing touches to be done but the deck is going to be a great addition to anyone using the lodge.

Lodge Deck Construction

5 May 2019

Our massive Rotoiti Lodge upgrade project kicked off this week with stage one - the construction of a large deck. NMIT ranger trainees, Mitre 10 Mega Nelson Helping Hands and some of our own members are working hard to build what will become a wonderful addition to the lodge facilities.

Women in Rotary 30 Years

9 April 2019

The Whakatu Club organised a great celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of women being 'enabled' to be Rotary club members. Yes, prior to 1989 only men could be admitted as Rotarians. The celebratory cocktail party at River Kitchen involved members from clubs across the region. Stories were shared by Whakatu's Karen Stade (left); the region's first female Rotarian, Alison McAlpine (Nelson club); former district governor Liz Courtney (Papanui club, Christchurch); the region's first female club president, Jenny Black (formerly the Nelson club); and this year's only area female president, Jenny Dickie (Nelson club). The Whakatu Club was established in 2003 by a group of men and women and boasts the highest percentage of female club members in the region (33 percent).The district average is just 17 percent.

New Club Photo

1 March 2019

A few new faces and plenty of familiar ones in this updated club photo, taken today by fellow club member Martin de Ruyter (always behind the camera, rarely in front of it!) at our meeting location, Trailways Hotel. 

Tasman Asian Food Festival

9 February 2019

Members helped to turn Richmond's Washbourn Gardens into a colorful venue for the annual Asian Food Festival, hosted by Muticultural Nelson Tasman. Members hung large Chinese lanterns, and strung lines of lanterns, colorful silk fish and knots, between trees.

Youth Leaders

8 February 2019

Linda Lu and Daniel Black shared their adventures and experiences from last month's Rotary Youth Leadership Award held in Christchurch. Whakatu sponsored both to the week-long youth leadership event, which they described as inspiring and life changing.

RYE Student Ollie Farewelled

23 January 2019

Whakatu Rotary president Brian McGurk farewelled the club's 2019 Rotary Youth Exchange student Ollie Franklin at Nelson Airport.  Ollie is bound for Bourneos Aires, Argentina where he will spend a year living with local Rotarians and their families and attending school. We look forward to hearing from Ollie during what will be a life-changing experience.

Have a great time Ollie!

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