© 2015 Lions Clubs New Zealand
The Lions Club Of Palmerston North Middle Districts Chartered In February 1969 With 33 Members
A broad range of services and fund raising projects have been initiated and carried out over the years including the following:
From the time of our Charter we were immediately into our first fundraiser - ten week long Talent Quest in the P.N. Opera House. At the same time we procured a franchise for Cradle Pictures in the P.N. Hospital Maternity Unit (an income we enjoyed for some 14 years). It was to the Maternity Unit that we made one of our first “donations”, a “Foetal Heart Monitor”.
The first significant service project, named “Awhina” a Vocational Guidance Citizenship course, brought 70 girls of secondary school age from mainly rural areas throughout our Lions District, for a week living at the Massey University Campus, where they were introduced to a broad range of work opportunities, interspaced with sessions on personal grooming, interview techniques, and living in the city. The girls were predominantly Maori and were helped by Vocational Guidance, while hostesses, who also stayed on the Campus were provided by the Maori Affairs and the girls were individually sponsored by 202D Lions Clubs who also helped with transport arrangements. The programme was extremely successful and ran for some 15 years.
In 1975 the club successfully tendered for the contract to deliver a years supply of paper rubbish bags to every home in Palmerston North. Initially the deliveries were carried out by members of the club and their families, but the delivery teams were soon augmented by teams from secondary schools and local sporting clubs who wanted to raise funds themselves. With this help and support of local truckies, the project was organised and managed like a military manoeuvre allowing us to deliver more than 22½ thousand bundles of rubbish bags in a single day. The deliveries carried on for 25 years and provided a regular funding system for our charitable activities. Over this time more than 28 million bags were handled.
A number of our members worked in the contracting field and in the late 1970s we were offered the opportunity to contract for the demolition of houses and small commercial buildings to facilitate redevelopment. The expertise and machinery available from members made this a fairly lucrative sideline. One such demolition job in 1981 involved the old Milson Post Office, but while the office premises in front were being demolished, an inspection revealed that the house which formed the rear part of the property was quite sound and was really in too good a condition to demolish. Enquiries established the feasibility of suitable block of land was found and purchased for the purpose. The house had to be cut in two for transport but was united on the site in Pioneer Highway and lowered on to a pile foundation put in place by our members.
Members of the club worked on the building every weekend for more than 12 months, producing a finished product that we could all be proud of. The property was quickly sold, realizing a healty profit. The block of land purchased was quite large and after the section for the house was surveyed off, considerable discussion took place on our options for disposing of the balance. The upshot was that we decided to have built four two bedroom units specifically for sale to elderly people. A contract was let and the dwellings were built, with club members being involved with fencing and landscaping. The appeal of all the properties ensured they were quickly sold resulting in a very healthy profit which has continued to be to the Club‟s advantage.
One fundraiser which provided a significant income from 1972-80 but which was probably also the least popular of our projects was assisting with a weekly Housie evening which regularly attracted some 300 or so patrons to the Astoria Ballroom in Palmerston North. Even the smokers in the Club found it a rather unpleasant environment and whilst recognizing its monetary worth over the period, were not sorry to see this roster come to and end.
The club had had a liaison with the Manawatu Deaf Association and selected that group for a project to mark their 25th Charter Anniversary. A car was purchased for the use of the Associations Field Office and Tutor. This vehicle was well utilized until 1998 when our club supplied an up to date replacement.
Another highly successful undertaking was “OOPS” (Ounce of Prevention Show a display by over 50 organizations concerned with Accident Prevention or Health Preservation in one form or another. From the Dept. of Health to the Water Saftey Committee, from Ministry of Trnasport to Pregnancy Help, all enjoyed welcoming nearly 20,000 entry free visitors over the four days of this Health Fair which was to win for the Club the Ron Usmar Award for Community Service 1978/79.
A real high point in our history occurred when an invitation was issued to the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter, to address a fundraising dinner for the Lloyd Morgan Trust in Palmerston North. The invitationwas issued by the combined Lions Clubs of Middle Districts and Manawatu, and offered the inducement of a trout fishing holiday to sharpen his interest.
Our Club Secretary followed up the initial invitation with regular phone calls to President Carter‟s Secretary in the USA until, after several months, we were advised that the invitation had been accepeted and a date in February 1984 set for his visit. President & Mrs Carter and his entourage finally arrived and a busy programme ensued. They attended a club barbecue at the home of one of our members where the guest of honour insisted on getting to the business side of the barbecue to deomonstrate his skill as a cook. The fund raising function, held in the Rainbow Stadium, was attended by more than 800 paying customers who were enthralled by President Carter‟s address.
A couple of days later the President and his party left for Taupo where they spent two days at the Tongariro Lodge fishing, both in Lake Taupo and at other streams high in the Kaimanawa Ranges, before visiting Rotorua on their was to Auckland to fly home. This highly successful venture continues to be commemorated by the annual Carter Quiz for Manawatu Secondary Schools.
Middle Districts played a major role in the provision of a hanger at the Palmerston North Hospital, to house the Trans Rail Resuce Helicopter (now the Square Trust Helicopter) arranging the supply of all materials and liaising with the N.Z. Army Engineers who carried out the actual building.
An ongoing project was initiated in 1991 when our President and Past President were invited to a meeting with our member of Parliament Mr Steve Maharey and the then Mayor of Palmerston North Mr Paul Reiger, at which they were told that the city‟s Methodist and Salvation Army‟s food banks needed help. They took up the challenge and agreed to Organize a city wide food drive. They rallied Support from this and other services clubs and what became known as the Mayoral food drive was born. That first drive proved so successful that it became an annual event which still continues today.
The “Relay for Life” a project to raise funds for the Cancer Society in this area, was brought to the city in the year 2000 and could not take place without the support of this an other Lions clubs from across the region. Since it‟s inception members of this club have worked together to provide the infrastructure which ensures that the event runs smoothly. Up to 1300 people can be on site for the full twenty four hours and they need such things as security, power, toilets, rubbish disposal, tables, chairs and a host of other things, all of which have to approved ob O.S.H. This is a mammoth undertaking which continues to get full support of our members.
The Club presented a surf boat and a rescue craft in successive years to the Palmerston North Surf Lifesaving club at Himitangi. These were financed mainly by two „Garden Rambles‟ in and around the city, the organization of which was spearheaded by Margaret Baines and Jill Hart with the full support of their husbands and other club members. For this project the club received the prestigious Ron Usmar award for community services.
Our Food caravan purchased in 1994 and our chocolate wheel which formerly belonged to the Lions Club of Palmerston North (Host) provide another success story. Their appearance at local events serves to advertise both the Club and our organisation, while providing an opportunity for our members to work together for the good of the community. Between them they raise several thousand dollars each year to support our Welfare programme.
Four members of this Club have been elected as District Governors of Lions District 202D. They were:
Brian Watt (Shirley) 1984 - 85 Ron Lawrence (Gaylene) 1991 - 92
Dennis O‟Rourke (Gael) 2004 - 05 John Peach (Marilyn) 2008 - 09
The above from necessity only touches on some of the highlights of a Club that has served both its own and the wider community since 1969. To include just a small paragraph each on the various transplant appeals, the help for Ozanam house, the Lloyd Morgan Trust, Aohanui Hospice, Ronald McDonald House, The Christchurch earthquake appeal, our experiences with Youth exchanges, the various overseas aid projects over the years, Conventions and the support for groups and individuals, both to improve their lives or to
help them realize a potential talent either in New Zealand or overseas would make this brief history into something of a tome.
Suffice to say, Middle Districts Lions can be proud of the way they uphold our Motto