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Books for Borneo & AGM

Irene_Corpuz_-_Books_for_Borneo_7_Apr_2015Past Pres. Irene Corpuz talked on the Books for Borneo Rotary project – a significant effort that was initiated in 2013 and involved collecting children’s books, sorting, labelling and then shipping the books to Borneo in early 2015.

Malaysia is a country so culturally and politically different to NZ, that it is difficult for us here in Godzone to comprehend just how a government could totally ignore the health and education requirements of such a sizable minority of its citizens. Indeed, the greatest barrier faced is that the people we are trying to help are not recognised as citizens at all, even though they have been born in Malaysia. So, the political ramifications of this project dissuaded us from enlisting the help of Sandakan’s own Rotary clubs.

We were fortunate to have the assistance of Irene’s sister, Lala, who lives and works in Sandakan as a Forestry and Eco Tourism advisor, and who was able to be our “contact on the ground”.

The project became known as the “Books for Borneo” project, and because we had to be so specific with cataloguing every single book to comply with Malaysian Custom’s requirements, it ultimately was called the 10,984 Books for Borneo project. Under Richard Hutchinson’s direction, 3 pallet loads of books were catalogued, weighing in at some 1.4 tonnes! 

Irene had met Kak Tahlal who said: “Uneducated children grow up to be criminals who beget children who will also grow up uneducated. We must educate our children if we are to eliminate juvenile delinquency”. Reading books are essential to learning English. Irene conveyed this incredible story that has all the elements of Rotary making a real difference in this journey to serve humanitarian needs.

A copy of Irene's presentation is available at: Books_for_Borneo_Apr2015with_notesPDF [size 5.2MB]

Last week our AGM concluded with the presentation and adoption of financial statements and the election of directors. 

Richard Hutchinson shared the following parting thought captured from a wall plaque - Ignorance can be Educated; Crazy can be Medicated; There is No Cure for Stupid.

Upcoming events




 14 April Gareth Power-Gordon    RYLA Gaylene Lines
 21 April

Matelina Leaupepe

Chief Advisor, Pasifica, MBIE

Irene Corpuz
28 April

Cassandra Shih, Internship with UN Mission, New York

Laura Sommer
 3 May

District 9940 Assembly, Palmerston North

24 May

High Tea Event

Irene Corpuz


Rotary events

One of the great things about Rotary is that there are always so many events on offer by local Rotary Clubs.  Last week President Martin had a very enjoyable evening at the Roxy Cinema for a premiere viewing of the Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren. Here are some more events recommended to Club members.

  • Saturday 25 April - ANZAC Day Special Commemoration and Breakfast organised by the Rotary Clubs of Mt Victoria and Port Nicholson. This event is fund raising for Wellington Children’s Hospital. For details, see: 
  • Wednesday 29 April - Porirua Sundown Rotary has seats available to Porirua Little Theatre’s production of “Voices from the Dark” commemorating ANZAC’s 100 years.  Tickets are $25 each and it starts at 7.30pm. If you would like any tickets please contact Don Casagranda at .
  • Thursday 30 April - Karori Rotary Club of Karori in conjunction with the ANZ Bank is holding its next business breakfast at the Karori Park Café on Thursday 30 April.  The guest speaker is Steve Sanderson, CEO of Wellington International Airport Ltd on expansion plans for the Airport. 
  • On Sunday 26 April, Plimmerton Rotary is organising a day where people can come and explore the first part of the Te Ara Piko Walkway which meanders around the Pauatahanui Inlet and its beautiful scenery.  Stage 1 is from Motukaraka point to Pauatahanui inlet.  Please let President Martin know if you would like to come for a stroll.

For information on what’s happening in our District, visit the District 9940 new website at:

Bulletin 12 April 2015

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