Union a return to the good old days

One of New Zealand's oldest Rotary clubs will return to its original format at the end of this month when the Rotary clubs of Oamaru and Waitaki are reunited into one body for the first time in 35 years.

Both Oamaru-based clubs will officially be amalgamated on January 29, to form a single 52-member club, with Paul Mortimer as president, and current Waitaki Rotary Club president Robert Gonzales as vice-president.

Mr Mortimer said both clubs were ''identical'' in their outlook and aims, and uniting the two would bring both clubs back under the umbrella of the Rotary Club of Oamaru, which was one of the oldest Rotary clubs in New Zealand.

''To be effective, it's good to have about 40 members to run our committees properly. And we can do more for the community as one club rather than two separate clubs, and internationally we are a global organisation.

''We do projects all round the world and locally as well, so in order to do that we need to have committees, and to be really effective, all those committees need to be working and we need members to do it.

''We're both part of the same organisation, so it's not like we were different clubs; we're the same."

Mr Mortimer said the original club (Oamaru) split in 1976 following a directive from Rotary International.

''The Oamaru Rotary Club is the original club and the membership had got to 80 members, so while you can have too few members, you can also have too many as well. It becomes too big and that's what had happened.''

An amalgamated club would also increase efficiency, he said.

''There is a strong fellowship within Rotary, both locally and internationally. If you get into trouble anywhere round the world with anything, the first port of call is to the local Rotary Club and someone will come and look after you.

"So basically we were doing separate things, but all for the same common cause.''

He said amalgamating the two clubs would also ensure there was no duplication of work and make for a stronger club.

''... the community will benefit by having a stronger club, greater resources and we are here to get our teeth into some good projects. It gives us an opportunity to work together as a group rather than working together as individuals.''


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