Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Jun 14, 2018
Eyal Schwartz is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies at the University of Otago Department of Physics. He has a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics, and currently, Dr Schwartz’s focus is quantum mechanics. He is not from New Zealand, but has walked the length of the country on Te Araroa, and moved here 3 years ago. Eyal has since been busy giving presentations all over New Zealand, his very first talk was in Balclutha and now his last for a while as our community is fortunate to have him visit again three weeks before he leaves for the USA to work at LIGO for the next year to bring back even more knowledge of physics.
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Quantum World with Dr Eyal Schwartz Rebecca Hastie 2018-06-13 12:00:00Z 0 science
Posted on Feb 24, 2018


Over summer, Clutha locals had been building home-constructed rafts to  enter in the annual Big River Raft Race organised by Project Clutha. Contestants paddled their team 20km down the Clutha River between Clydevale and Balclutha to raise funds for Clutha District and Catlins Land Search and Rescue and Kaka Point Surf Life Saving Club. The Balclutha Bridge marks the finish line where the festival is held on the riverbank. Rotary Club of Balclutha hosted our chocolate wheel while one of our members, Chris, caught the race action with his drone camera.

festival outdoors
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Big River Raft Race Festival Rebecca Hastie 2018-02-23 11:00:00Z 0 festival,outdoors
Posted on Feb 06, 2018
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a leadership development programme run worldwide by Rotary. The programme is designed to help young people develop their teamwork and communication skills and fulfil their potential as leaders and is an opportunity to connect, exchange ideas and take action in their communities.
For Southern New Zealand in 2018 over Waitangi weekend, a camp for 18-26 years olds was organised by Rotary Club of Balclutha in Waihola, South Otago.
environment outdoors youth
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RYLA 2018 Waihola Rebecca Hastie 2018-02-05 11:00:00Z 0 environment,outdoors,youth
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Dec 07, 2017
Tania is our Past President for Rotary Club of Balclutha and also District Governor Nominee for Southern New Zealand in 2019-20. At our Thursday club meeting she shared a presentation about polio and Rotary's role in the hugely successful Global Eradication Initiative.
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Polio Eradication Rebecca Hastie 2017-12-06 11:00:00Z 0 health
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Nov 29, 2017
Rotary Youth Exchange students that are hosted by families in Southern New Zealand are extra fortunate to be able to experience life in some of the most beautiful areas of the country and Rotary District 9980 club members organise trips for them to really enjoy our great outdoors. In November, two Rotary Club of Balclutha members joined for five days in Stewart Island where we tramped one of NZ's Great Walks - the Rakiura Track.
international outdoors youth
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RYE Stewart Island trip Rebecca Hastie 2017-11-28 11:00:00Z 0 international,outdoors,youth
Posted on Oct 05, 2017
Cynthia has 24 years experience in the Police so has a lot of knowledge of the changing drug culture around Southern New Zealand and explains about methamphetamine and how it has become rife across our district.
Speaker - Balclutha Police Talk Methamphetamine Rebecca Hastie 2017-10-04 11:00:00Z 0
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Sep 09, 2017
Rotary Club of Balclutha was a sponsor to the 2017 Clutha Mud Trudge and members volunteered as marshals for the event. We had fun maintaining the mud at the beginning of the race track and supervising obstacles where we encouraged participants such as Spiderman, a NASA crew, grannies, mulleted bogans, a band of Elvis Presleys, Where's Wallys, pirates, bumble bees and ladybirds as they fluttered into pools of mud! There was lots of huffing and puffing, it was a challenging course but also lots of shrieking and giggling, a successful fundraising event full of fun, organised by St John Balclutha.
See The Clutha Mud Trudge Facebook for photos and results as well as Richard Schofield Photography and Richard Schofield Photography Facebook for some incredible shots of the action.
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Clutha Mud Trudge Rebecca Hastie 2017-09-08 12:00:00Z 0 outdoors
Posted on Sep 08, 2017
4th September 2017 Rotary Youth Speech Competition
On Monday evening, students of schools around the district, their families and friends gathered in the hall and library at South Otago High School to see Year 7 and Year 8 contestants stand and speak about their chosen topic. They had to prepare a 3-4 minute speech and it was apparent that hours of work had been put in to writing and practising. Every speech was incredibly interesting and students spoke confidently and passionately, making a difficult job for us judges! We can all be extremely proud of the contestants for their hard work and proud to have such socially conscious children in our district.
After tallying up the judges' scoresheets, the 2017 speech competition winners are:
                    Year 7                                        Year 8
1st Place     Jess Crawford (Clutha Valley)    Anton Hutton (Rosebank)
Runner Up   Pagan Cross (Balclutha)             Luanna Valli (Clutha Valley)
Runner Up   Xavier Kee (Balclutha)                Sam Williams (Clinton)
More photos below...
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Rotary Speech Competition Rebecca Hastie 2017-09-07 12:00:00Z 0 youth
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Sep 02, 2017
The Rotary International president's theme for the 2017-2018 Rotary year is "Making a Difference" and, with an environmental focus, Rotarians worldwide are to plant a tree this year. In Otago, members from each Rotary club in the region took turns on Saturday from 9 o'clock in the morning until 3 in the afternoon to plant 470 native seedlings at Sinclair Wetlands!
Te Nohoaka o Tukuiauau (Sinclair Wetlands) is an area of swampland and open water between Lakes Waihola and Waipori in the Taieri Plains, 40km south of Dunedin. The wetland is an important waterbird habitat so there are ongoing restoration and enhancement projects. There are plenty of sections that will need to be replanted with trees and it was a stunning place for members of the Rotary Club of Balclutha to spend a Saturday morning.
More photos and information below...
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Sinclair Wetlands tree planting Rebecca Hastie 2017-09-01 12:00:00Z 0 environment
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Aug 31, 2017
Rotary Club of Balclutha first met Jill Penn when she was a guest speaker presenting her experiences in Bhutan, including a visit to the relatively new Rotary Club of Bhutan. Speaking as the newest member of our club now, Jill shares resources for using sign language and some of her film-making projects.
Sign Language & Short Films Rebecca Hastie 2017-08-30 12:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 24, 2017
Rotary Club of Balclutha organises a public forum to meet the candidates standing in the Clutha-Southland electorate for the 2017 New Zealand General Election. Each candidate introduces themselves and their party policies, then answers pre-prepared questions followed by any additional questions asked by the public.
Meet the Candidates Evening 2017-08-23 12:00:00Z 0
Speaker - Eyal Schwartz "Worlds Beyond the Solar System" 2017-08-16 12:00:00Z 0 science
CONGRATULATIONS TANIA LOWERY: Balclutha woman nominated southern regional Rotary District Governor 2017-08-10 12:00:00Z 0
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Aug 03, 2017

Bruce Cowan lived in Balclutha for 10 years as a teacher. He has been a member of Rotary for 17 years and for the 2017-2018 year he is District Governor of Rotary District 9980. Over the past couple of years in preparation for this role, he has been the student in what he describes as "Rotary School". Bruce admitted he has a penchant for numbers, so on his visit to Rotary Club of Balclutha he taught us some figures he's learned about Rotary.

Speaker - Rotary District 9980 Governor Bruce Cowan Rebecca Hastie 2017-08-02 12:00:00Z 0
Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Jul 27, 2017
Steve Clarke has been the Waste Minimisation Officer for Clutha District Council for the past 8 months. His role is to examine any initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle. Protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to the theme for the 2017-2018 Rotary year "Rotary: Making a Difference".
Thanks Steve for explaining where our waste in Clutha ends up and for tips to be more mindful of how much we are consuming and wasting.
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Speaker - Clutha District Council Waste Minimisation Officer Rebecca Hastie 2017-07-26 12:00:00Z 0 environment

The Presidents Changeover

President Tania and Incoming President Daniel changing over.
Tania spoke first, rounding up all the achievements of the year of her presidency with humility and thanking everyone for making it possible.
Kevin Henderson was given special thanks for his contribution of the year, bringing in new projects to Rotary with the firewood cutting and splitting. Christine Eyles was made special mention with her Gary McCormack breakfast, that raised thousands of dollars for Rotary. And of course thanking Phil, as Area Governor, ensuring Tania was supported throughout her year.
Attendance awards included 4 recipients; Kevin 29 years at 99%, Brian 30 years, Phil 4 years and Tania 5 years of continuous service.
During Tania's time there have been 5 new members join Rotary, and she has highlighted the range of work that Rotary does around the world. Tania has contributed much to the club, given improved structure and given impetus for future directions.
Tania handed over to Daniel, and following her lead, Daniel gave us a glimpse of the year ahead.
Daniel is following the lead of Ian Riseley, and seeking an environmental focus for the year. So for the year ahead the following is planned:
  • All members planting a tree each this year.
  • Quality programme with the use of technology.
  • RYLA project - innovation making a positive difference.
  • Increased membership.
  • Use of global grants for new projects.
  • Training and development.
Finally, as Daniel notes, a good meeting is a short meeting - he is committed to the 7:30pm finish. Daniel then rounded up the evening with some insights into his visit to Japan and to the local Rotary club in Tokyo.
Thank you both outgoing and incoming presidents, your contribution is very much appreciated by us all.
The Presidents Changeover 2017-07-12 12:00:00Z 0
David Black, Ambassador for Project Starfish, spoke about the current status of the project. Balclutha was the only Rotary club to offer financial support for the group in New Zealand. Support was also provided by the Norwich club in the UK.
The project is about preventing the atrocities directed at children including child labour and sex slavery.
The project faces barriers of culture and communication as well as those of the environment, the scorpions, spiders and snakes.
Baseline health assessments are carried out. There are clear policies and set criteria for medical students to assess which children need the most help.
David also introduced the work Rotaracts are doing, they come from different countries to join together to assist projects e.g. transplanting banana plants, treating children from the hillside areas of Thailand as well as Project Starfish.
A new program INVADER =  Freedom from sex trafficking was outlined.
Speaker - Project Starfish 2017-06-28 12:00:00Z 0

Impromptu Night

The night speakers were running thin, with our planned speaker away doing good deeds at the local aged care facility. So Peter B and Gabrielle volunteered to say a couple of words.
Gabrielle opted for humour in her piece on 'Sanitation in London' in the mid 1800's. All a bit stinky and not well received with all having just completed their meal. Although the engineering-minded Mary, applauded the mention of the incredible feat of engineering in the design of the London sewer. Perhaps showing what people can achieve in teams with a powerful and intelligent leader, in this case Joseph Bazalgette.
Thank goodness Peter saved the night with an explanation of a bio-disaster happening in our own country in the Stewart Island fishery. Peter is a scientist/manager of Sanford, an export fish company. The disaster has wiped away livelihoods and is a threat to the ecosystem of the Stewart Island fishery.
The oyster parasite Bonamia ostreae was found within the oyster farms. In the long term, selective breeding for resilience may solve the problem, but for the short term MPI has required all oysters from the farms to be removed en masse.
Peter predicted farming of oysters will not recover and it is likely no farms will be re-established. At the moment the wild oysters have not been affected and the oysters with the parasite are safe to eat.
Thank you to both speakers.
Members Speak 2017-06-18 12:00:00Z 0

Fellowship is one of the five core values of Rotary, the others being service, diversity, integrity and leadership.

The final month of every Rotary year is Fellowship Month. This is a fitting designation since fellowship is particularly to the forefront with changeovers being very much the priority in June. For this month, Cliff and Les outlined just what fellowship means for our club as well as internationally.

Rotary continues to surprise with ways you can participate. Fellowship offers friendship exchanges, which can be from club to club, district to district and national to international. There is no excuse not to add interest to your lives and those of others. You can be in a fellowship interest group, ranging from photography, music, wine and food, golf, chess and basically anything you can think of.

There are fellowship awards and peace fellowships offering master degree studies. Rotary has set up peace centres to encourage leadership in bringing peace to the world. The presentation was excellent and a motivator to us all to make the most of our wonderful organisation.

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Monthly Rotary Theme - FELLOWSHIP 2017-06-07 12:00:00Z 0

Local Industry - Silver Fern Farms Export Meat (Food) Company


Danny Harrison, HR Manager of Silver Fern Farms shared with us some insights into the company.

The Silver Fern Farms company has a staff of over 1000 people in the processing season for lamb and beef at the Finegand site in Balclutha. There is a wide range of careers that includes engineers, software engineers, laboratory staff as well as processing staff.

This year the Chinese company Shanghai Maling bought a 50 per cent interest in Silver Fern Farms (SFF) to secure future progress.

Danny is new to the meat processing world, but with over 20 years working in education and HR he brings valued expertise to the district.

Speaker - Local Industry Silver Fern Farms 2017-05-28 12:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 09, 2017

Clean water and sanitation is a human right. When people, especially children, have access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, they lead healthier and more successful lives. Nicki, Chris and Peter collectively spoke about contaminated water with up to 1.8 billion people being affected every day around the world and how projects are being initiated by Rotary to battle this issue. They approach this either with infrastructure, innovative smaller solutions e.g. ceramic water filters or by teaching good sanitation, e.g. hand washing.
Slides were shown about the Rotary group WASRAG, the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group.  
One of the issues with contaminated water is the disease cholera, a deadly disease that has its beginnings in Bangladesh. There have been 7 pandemics since, the latest in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. A vaccine is available but unaffordable by third world countries, estimated $40 million dollars.  
Peter asked the question, if this disease was in the 1st world countries, would the vaccine have been made available?
WORLD WATER day is March 22
Water and Sanitation 2017-03-08 11:00:00Z 0
Rotary members in New Zealand will be among thousands worldwide reaching out during the week commencing on World Polio Day, 24th October 2016, to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio – a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) nearly 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to 26 confirmed as of 19th September 2016.
They are in Pakistan (14),  Afghanistan (9) and Nigeria (3). To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts say a further US$1.5 billion is urgently needed. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralysing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
World Polio Day is celebrated each year. Initially it was established by Rotary to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease with no cure, but can be prevented through immunisation. The vaccine, given multiple times, almost always protects a child for life. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunising every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.
Rotarians throughout the world have been asked to contribute NZ$75 million in the year to 30 June 2017 toward the initiative. The Ministers of Health from G7 countries met in Kobe, Japan in September 2016 and their statement included: “The end to polio is also within reach. Financing polio eradication activities to ensure we have the last global case this year, will require commitments from all stakeholders to reach every child, including in challenging operating environments, with the polio vaccine.”   
Stuart Batty, Rotary’s PolioPlus National Advocacy Advisor for New Zealand, urges the New Zealand Government to reconsider its stated position and urges it to support again the GPEI as it did up to 2010. Further information may be found at
World Polio Day 2016 2016-10-23 11:00:00Z 0
Stuart and Kevin presented this month's Rotary theme on basic education and literacy.
Stuart explained the effect that basic literacy has on all aspects of life, especially that of child mortality. A child born to a mother that was illiterate had a 50% chance of not reaching 5 years old. It is estimated there are 775 million adults over the age of 15 that cannot read or write.
Rotary is working with organisations to provide basic education worldwide.
Kevin then outlined Rotary's Dictionaries in Schools programme for the Clutha District. This year 144 dictionaries will be provided to local schools.
Basic Education and Literacy 2016-09-25 11:00:00Z 0
Rotary members trekked down to the scouts hall for an evening of scouting. A bemused older group, joined in scouting activities for the fun, the nostalgia and for the competition, for those with a known competitive streak...
Rotary Night at the Scouts 2016-08-28 12:00:00Z 0
The Kepler Track is one of the 9 great walks in New Zealand. It is part of the Fiordland system of tracks and developed in 1987 as an alternative to the Milford track.
Robbie Reed outlined his adventures and life in a day as a track warden.
Life as a DOC Warden for the Kepler Track 2016-08-04 12:00:00Z 0
Nick and Pauline Simpson were recently present at the inauguration of two Chinese clubs Cheng Du and Chong Quing.  These clubs were being re-established after many years since being banned in the cultural revolution.  Nick presented flags which were received from the Chinese Clubs. 
The Simpsons Visit to China 2016-08-04 00:00:00Z 0
David Black gave an emotive speech on child slavery, specifically child sex slavery. This is a subject that we in New Zealand are not aware of being so far so away from our culture of human rights and protecting the vulnerable. David put the subject into our conscious, and the Balclutha Rotarians walked away from the meeting with an awareness and an obligation.
Project Starfish is about setting a realistic goal for each of us, making a difference to at least one child’s life exposed to this horrific exploitation of their innocence.
Story goes, a massive flood washed up many starfish on a beach, and a lone man walked along the beach picking up one starfish at a time, throwing these back into the sea. When questioned at doing such a pointless gesture in light of the huge numbers, he replied,
”It made a difference to the starfish I just threw back into the sea.”
Child Slavery in South East Asia 2016-07-27 12:00:00Z 0

Ken Franklin was warmly welcomed and he started his speech with a thank you to all the organisations that assist with the Rescue helicopter service including St John and the Fire Service.
He outlined the challenges even before the rescue mission is initiated, including the administrative and environmental (weather, night flying, over the sea) missions, however the biggest challenge was always the delivery of the right response to the patient.
Otago Rescue Helicopter Gabrielle Pearman 2016-07-22 12:00:00Z 0
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