Posted by John Prendergast on Jun 29, 2022
We’re now going to have two toasts, one to Rotary International; and the second to absent friends.  Let’s start with Rotary International.
The 29th June 1962 was a Friday, and on that Friday morning 60 years ago Rotary International President Joseph Abey was sitting in his office at Rotary headquarters in Chicago Illinois. It’s a long way from Chicago to Naenae, 13,429 kms to be precise – although back in 1962 it wasn’t quite that far because we were operating in miles back then, so it was only 8,344 miles. But sitting at his desk all those miles and kilometres away President Abey signed the charter that established the Rotary Club of Naenae, New Zealand. The Naenae Club was the eleven thousand three hundred and ninth Club admitted to membership of Rotary International, and the Naenae Club’s 23 charter members brought Rotary International’s total membership on 30 June 1962 to just on 526,000.
Fast forward 60 years to 2022, and the Rotary Club of Naenae is still here, albeit with a change of name in 1965 to the Rotary Club of Eastern Hutt. From 23 charter members 60 years ago the Club has thrived, and today has a membership of 41 – worldwide the average Rotary Club has 32 members, so you’ll be pleased to know that you’re above average – which I expect may be a new experience for some of you!
Today 37,093 Rotary Clubs around the world are members of Rotary International, and there are 1.2 million Rotarians. On average Rotary International charters a new Rotary Club somewhere in the world every 27 hours.  The RI President is Sheka Matha, and at midnight tomorrow night we will welcome, finally, Rotary International’s first female World President, Jennifer Jones - link is HERE.
Ladies and gentlemen would you please charge your glasses and be upstanding, as we propose a toast to Rotary International – Rotary International.