About Nelson Rotary

Last updated 5 September 2022

We are privileged and proud to have been part of Nelson’s story since 1927. Over the years, we have been involved in hundreds of projects and initiatives that, cumulatively, have helped make the city and wider Nelson/ Tasman region a great place to live and play.

In many instances, we have been early supporters of new community initiatives such as Founders Park, the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, The Great Taste Cycle Trail and the Tahunanui Recreation Reserve. 

The beauty of the city has also been enhanced by the 11,000+  trees we have planted along the access routes, the city river banks and reserve areas, together with other projects in the public parks and gardens.

Perhaps the jewel in the crown are the “hanging baskets ” in the city centre which are a feature of our city in the summer months.

We have partnered in staging community events such as the  Masked Parade. We  have participated in the initial development  of events such as the Blessing of the Fleet. We have also created  annual fundraising events including the Motor Home show, and its predecessor the Boat Show, which became part of the annual events calendar.

Rotary works across the whole spectrum of social wellbeing with support to health, education , the arts  and  social service groups.

We have always had a focus on youth development as fundamental to developing a healthy city. It was this that lead to the development of Big Brothers Big Sisters to support children of solo parent families, and the establishment  of the Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre for secondary school students across the top of the south.  Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Summer Science school participation and Exchange Programmes have provided significant personal development opportunities for generations of  future leaders.

Over the years we were involved in establishing local branches for National support groups e.g. CCS (formerly known as Crippled Children Society) and Health Camps and/or in helping them work through change to ensure their ongoing development and survival. Most often the latter involved Rotarians becoming members of their boards to help improve governance and managerial control.

Sometimes our interest has  been triggered by identifying good things from  other communities but more often than not it has been through collaboration with others locally to address an identified gap . The Nelson Male Room Inc  project “Whare Haumaru”  for  homeless men in our community is an example of that.

During its life the club has changed as society has changed, to ensure it remains relevant. Much of the formality of earlier years has gone including some that were once barriers to joining. The club has also been the incubator of many friendships that come from working together in a common cause.

  What makes Rotary different:

  • Our vision is community-wide and beyond. We think globally but act locally.
  • We identify  gaps in our community and help provide solutions to bridge them or to leverage them as opportunities.
  • Our professional associations and community reach helps us harness the support of others in achieving required project or programme outcomes.
  • We identify solutions, utilizing the knowledge, experience and skills of our members through a multi-disciplinary team approach.
  • We become passionate in pursuit of key projects and initiatives to create lasting change.

With the inability of Government and Local authorities to meet the  increasing needs of communities,  the role played by Rotary now, and in the Future, is increasingly important.

Our projects often take us into the wider Tasman region, as occurred with the Great Taste Trail and Lake Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre

 The growth of Rotary in Nelson/Tasman led to development of a further 6 Rotary clubs and later a further 17 Probus Clubs in the wider Nelson/Tasman region though, over the years, some have reflagged their clubs under other names, essentially the activities and models remain the same. The Probus development extended Rotary’s reach and support of “seniors” and today the resultant clubs cater for over 1400+ members - reflecting changing demographics. These clubs provide an important support system within the community through participation in social activities including walking and cycling, travel and special interest groups.  

Nelson Rotary also acknowledges others in the Nelson Tasman community, who make a significant contribution to business and/or community, through the presentation of the Sir Jack Newman Award or a community Paul Harris Fellow recognition.

Sir Jack Newman Award.  This award is named after a noted Nelson business person, sports personality, philanthropist and foundation member of the Rotary Club of Nelson, providing 69 years of service until his passing in 1997. 

This award is presented from time to time to a person who has demonstrated commitment to the city and region that parallels Sir Jack’s own contribution and reflects his adherence to the ideals of Rotary.

Pic Picot, Founder of Pic's Peanut Butter, receiving the Sir Jack Newman award

Paul Harris Fellow (PHF). Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary in the USA. The Rotary club of Nelson confers Community PHF’s from time to time to individuals who, through service, have made a significant contribution to the Community and it’s wellbeing, and complements the work of Rotary.

Philip Chapman, Director of the Male room Inc, was recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow for his work with the homeless of Nelson.
Thanking Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health - Guest Speaker for the Sir Jack Newman Awards, 23 June 2022
Rotary Nelson Logo
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