Posted by Christine Meredith on Mar 13, 2019
Last weekend (4th March) during a discussion over the District 5020 USA/ Canada exchange group I became aware that a NSW group already in Palmerston North needed people to host in the Hutt Valley.  I put my name forward. 
The exchange was otherwise end up with all going to various Air B&Bs.  Anne Abbott then picked up a single lady - this was later changes so that I had one extra and Anne had a couple.  Suddenly I was hosting a couple from Orange, NSW.
On Thursday when picking them up from Otaki and the PN hosting I volunteered to also host Anne’s single lady as well.  The Sewing room came into being the 2nd spare bedroom.  Val Samuelson from Wagga Wagga Sunrise Rotary, Ian Sawtell from Orange Rotary and wife Rhonda the incoming President of their Inner Wheel became part of my household until Sunday.
As all no plans for this exchange had taken place we hosts from Rotary clubs in the Hutt Valley were able to generate our own plans to suit our Rotarian guests.  Visiting some areas of interest in the Hutt valley.  A trip organized to Weta Workshop, dinner at the Petone Workingmen’s club and a film at the Lighthouse cinema became talking points for guests and hosts.  The ability to not have set goals each day were appreciated as guests could pick and choose what to do and when most of the time.
Lazy lunches and dinners became talk fests as we all discussed our Rotary and Inner Wheel projects and fundraising ideas. Some are being taken back to NSW for Rotary and others to the Inner Wheel.  Rhonda brought out a game she had bought and didn’t know the rules for.  It became games fest and much discussion on rules interpretation. Winners were threatened with making drinks.
Our last night together I found a Rotary Banner at home which I presented to Val Samuelson and an Inner Wheel one for Rhonda.  Ian said he will send a banner over if Anne was not given one.
Sunday 10th March Ian and Rhonda were taken to Wellington railway to get the Northerner early (7am) and then Val taken to the airport for her flight to Sydney.
I had a ball and enjoyed meeting other Rotarians, the bonus for me was also meeting and talking Inner Wheel with Rhonda.  My dog is now looking for his new found friends and their treats!
Would I do it again?  One word…. YES!  And the chance to even visit these great people when the return exchange takes place in September.