Food for Love co-founder recognised

Food for Love’s co-founder and operations manager, Rebecca (Bex) Sarginson, has been recognised for her contribution to the Upper Clutha community by the Rotary Club of Wānaka.
The club awarded a Paul Harris Award to Bex at a function in Wānaka on Tuesday January 23.
“It is obvious that without Bex’s driving force and passion for the community, Food For Love would not be the organisation it is today,” Rotary Club of Wānaka president Marie Fitchett said.
“The Rotary Club of Wānaka acknowledges your [Bex] foresight, inspiration, and selfless dedication to the Food For Love Trust.”
The award is named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris. An award in his name, the Paul Harris fellowship, is held in the highest regard throughout the Rotary world.
“I was blown away … it is a nice recognition of what Food for Love does,” Bex said.
“We’re going into our eighth year … and it’s great to see where it is now and it can only but get better.”
Bex was born and raised in Hāwea, a solo parent of two daughters who has juggled many hats without compromising her personal life.
In 2016 Bex and friend Louise Carney founded Food For Love, an idea she attributed to her mother who taught her that generosity and kindness, such as a willingness to do something for someone in need of support, would often arise through one’s own experiences.
This is the foundation on which Food For Love was built.
As Food For Love became established in the Upper Clutha, Bex and her team of volunteers and supporters worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 emergency despite resources being stretched to the limit.
At the end of 2019 Food For Love became a registered charity with a governing Board of Trustees. Bex was appointed Executive Officer, with this title changing to Operations Manager in 2023.
The transition to Charitable Trust status revealed the extent that Bex and her supporters had dedicated themselves to their commitment. There are almost 180 current Food For Love volunteers, some of whom are persons who have benefited from the Trust's support, in their time of need.
One of their most significant achievements occurred in 2022 when 8,100 meals were provided to people facing unexpected challenges in the Upper Clutha.
Marie congratulated Bex on her award and acknowledged and thanked the many volunteers who support Food for Love.
‘On behalf of the Upper Clutha Community and those who benefit from the workings of the Trust, we recognise and thank the volunteers for their support,” she said.
“We congratulate Bex on this well-deserved Paul Harris Award.”
Food for Love co-founder recognised  Tony O'Regan 2024-01-31 11:00:00Z 0

Crop competition raises $50,000

The Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and the Otago Rural Support Trust will be the beneficiaries of funds raised by the 2022 Upper Clutha Winter Crop Competition.

The competition, organised by the Rotary Club of Wānaka, judges the quality of local winter feed crops based on entries received from local farms. 

Its awards presentation night and fundraising auction on Friday night (June 10) raised over $50,000 for the trusts.

Rotary Club of Wanaka president Richard Wallace said the cropping competition is generously supported by the rural community, which will directly benefit from the funds raised.

“We want to make sure that our community is all the better for the effort that goes into this event,” he said.

“Supporting the helicopter trust and the rural support trust ensures that happens.”

Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust trustee Tony Sycamore said the proceeds will go towards establishing an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) path into Wānaka which will allow pilots to undertake missions in challenging weather.

Funds donated to the Otago Rural Support Trust, which assists rural individuals and their families in challenging circumstances, will support the trust’s rural coordinators who provide one-on-one support to those in need.

Competition organiser George Scott said more than 150 people attended the awards night and prizes were awarded across seven categories as well as a supreme winner.

“We had over 50 crops to judge, which was great,” he said. “The auction has been a real success and I can’t thank the businesses who supported us enough.”

This year's supreme award went to Rex Sandford of Rob Rosa Station for his dry swede crop, which judges said was exceptional given the challenging environment in the Cardrona Valley where the farm is located.

The Rotary Club of Wānaka is the official organiser of the Upper Clutha Winter Cropping Competition which is supported by the Tarras School community.

Crop Winners

Kale irrigated Hayden Dickey

Kale non-irrigated Randal Aspinall

Swedes irrigated Robbie Gibson

Swedes non-irrigated Rex Sandford

Fodder Beet irrigated Hayden Dickey

Rape Simon Maling

Turnips Jake Ruddenklau

Special Award Maddy Calder

PHOTO: Anna Munroe

Crop competition raises $50,000 Tony O'Regan 2022-06-14 12:00:00Z 0

Annual cropping competition to support the rescue helicopter again

The Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust (ORHT) will once again be the recipient of funds from the annual Rotary Club of Wānaka Cropping Competition.

Competition organiser George Scott says this year’s funds will go towards the establishment of an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) path which will allow pilots to fly into Wānaka when visibility is poor.

“The instrument flying route is important to farmers,” George said.

“If accidents happen when the weather isn’t great you can get that helicopter right through to Wānaka; it just saves time and gets them back to Dunedin quicker.”

Under current flight rules the rescue helicopter can only fly as far as Dunstan Hospital in bad visibility. To fly into Wānaka a preassigned flight path using IFR must be established.

“This will provide an extension of the route into Dunstan Hospital and will complete IFR structure routes back to destination hospitals, in particular to Dunedin and Christchurch Hospitals,” ORHT secretary manager Vivienne Seaton said. 

“Many missions that would previously have been impossible because of low cloud can now be responded to, greatly reducing the number of occasions on which weather conditions prevent a response.”

Last year the cropping competition raised over $50,000 and George says he expects this year’s event to be a success with sponsors reconfirming their involvement.

“They’ve all been very positive about wanting to support the competition and many have been surprised to learn that the rescue helicopter can’t get into Wānaka in bad weather,” he said.

Some funds from the competition will also go to the Otago Rural Support Trust, a charitable organisation providing support to the rural community in difficult times.

Competition judging will take place in May with winners announced at a dinner and fundraising auction at the Lake Hāwea Community Centre on Friday June 10.

PHOTO: Wānaka App

Annual cropping competition to support the rescue helicopter again Tony O'Regan 2022-05-19 12:00:00Z 0

Winter cropping competition to raise funds for rescue helicopter

George Scott investigates a crop in the Upper Clutha.
A new competition is about to make its mark on the Upper Clutha’s rural sector with the judging of winter feed crops set to take place in May.
The competition is the brainchild of George Scott, a past president and member of the Rotary Club of Wanaka.
“Cropping competitions are active in other parts of the country and have been very successful fundraisers,” George said.
“Our Rotary Club has a number of retired farmers so we thought we’d give it a go here. Judging will be done by us alongside some professionals with assistance from Young Farmers Club members”.
George said it wasn’t just about the competition, but was also a way to bring the rural community together, recognise their efforts and along the way raise funds for a worthwhile cause.
“We chose the rescue helicopter as the recipient of funds raised as it’s close to the hearts of farmers. Many work in isolated areas and knowing that there will be someone there in an emergency really provides peace of mind,” George said.
Entries have been flowing in for the competition which will include swede, kale, turnip, and fodder beet crops. George said he thinks there will be more than 50 crops to judge.
“Entries and interest from the farming community has been very positive and we are confident that we can establish this event on the annual farming calendar,” he said.
The competition will culminate in an awards ceremony at Pembroke Pavilion (Upper Clutha Rugby Club) on Saturday June 11. The evening will be compered by Sarah Perriam, host of Sarah’s Country, and will feature a fundraising auction.
The Rotary Club of Wanaka is the official organiser of the cropping event which is supported by the Tarras School community and Tarras Young Farmers.
To enter the competition or to find out about supporting the auction contact George Scott at
For more information contact Rotary Club of Wanaka president Mike Elliot on 027 432 9243
Winter cropping competition to raise funds for rescue helicopter  Tony O'Regan 2021-04-22 12:00:00Z 0

$7,000 donation to Mount Aspiring College

Mount Aspiring College principal Nicola Jacobsen accepts a cheque for $7,000 from Rotary Club of Wanaka Fundraising Director Geoffrey Tomkins (right) and club president Mike Elliot.
The Rotary Club of Wanaka New Year book sale has resulted in a $7,000 donation to Mount Aspiring College (MAC).
The donation was formally made to new college principal Nicola Jacobsen at the Rotary Clubs weekly meeting on Tuesday (16 March).
The book sale, which took place at the beginning of January, was organised to help raise funds for support services at MAC and the MAC community assisted at the sale.
“I’m delighted to accept this cheque,” said Nicola. “We enjoy a wonderful collaboration with the Rotary Club of Wanaka and I’m pleased to see our collective effort at the book sale reap such a generous reward. It will be put to good use.”
Rotary Club of Wanaka president Mike Elliot said the sale was more successful than anticipated and he was delighted to make such a significant donation.
“Book sales take a lot of organising and I thank club members and the MAC community who assisted make this event such a success,” said Mike.
Nicola took the opportunity to address club members after the presentation and share her vision for Mount Aspiring College.
The Rotary Club of Wanaka is planning its next book sale in July this year (16-18 July) at the Lake Wānaka Centre.
$7,000 donation to Mount Aspiring College  Tony O'Regan 2021-03-22 11:00:00Z 0

Life-changing as well as phenomenal

One of the privileges of being in Rotary is when we get the opportunity to help young people discover and explore the opportunities the world provides. Recently we supported local youth Maddi Frazer with a grant to attend the Spirit of Adventure.
Here is Maddi’s experience:
Thank you so incredibly much! I cannot express how grateful I am to have been given this grant to put towards this opportunity that has been absolutely life-changing as well as phenomenal.
Going into this, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into or what Spirit of Adventure truly was about. I didn’t realise how unique and special this would really be. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time, not only about the in’s and out’s of sailing but also leadership, many life skills and more about myself as well. I have met so many incredible people from all walks of life, who I am sure will be lifelong friends.
I can confidently say that I started this journey as a completely different person and I have pushed and shaped myself into a better version of me. I will never, ever forget this life-changing experience and will forever cherish these memories for the rest of my life.
I first initially went on Voyage #795 at the beginning of March 2020 that sailed from Auckland to Auckland taking us trainees to Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island, letting us explore part of our county some of us had never been to before. This was the most amazing experience!! On day 5 out of what was supposed to be a 10-day voyage, we were told that we had to go home early as COVID-19 had become much worse and spread far more throughout the country than when we first left 5 days earlier. After they told us we were going home, they continued to explain what was happening eventually getting to the point that we were going to be going into lockdown as soon as we got home and that we needed to get back to Auckland straight away before thay started cancelling out flights. This resulted in us not getting a full 10-day voyage as it was cut 4 days short.
Because of this, the Spirit of Adventure Trust made the decision alongside the crew that was on Voyage #795, to let us trainees go again and this time get the full 10-day voyage experience. We received this news in the middle of lockdown and I lit up with excitement as soon as I read the email, happy tears rolling down my face as I found out I got to re-experience the best 6 days of my life.
I was beyond excited to go on one of the amazing day hikes again, see whales, sharks, penguins and dolphins in the ocean, climb right to the top of the mast, learn more about how to sail, swim in the ocean, jump off the bowsprit, sail in the small sailboats, have a paddling race in the small boats and of course meet new people and make new friends from all over the country.
From here, the trainees on Voyage #795 were split up and put onto different 10-day voyages that were going to be taking place between the end of lockdown and March 2021. I was extremely lucky to be on Voyage #812 from Opua (Bay of Islands) to Auckland. I, therefore, have now done a 6-day voyage and a 10-day full voyage.
I will forever be grateful for this amazing experience and wish that everyone had the opportunity to experience what I did between these two voyages. I would love to come and talk to the Rotary Club of Wanaka further about this incredible and life-changing experience.
Again, I would just like to say Thank You!
Sincerely Maddi Frazer
Voyage #795 & #812
Maddi (left) with her new friends on Spirit of Adventure
Life-changing as well as phenomenal Tony O'Regan 2021-02-10 11:00:00Z 0

Rotary raise over $30,000

The Rotary Club of Wanaka raised over $30,000 from its charity fundraising events in October.
The club carries out two of its signature annual events at this time of year: the Rotary Club of Wanaka Book Sale, and The Rotary Club of Wanaka Duck Race.
The book sale, held at the Lake Wanaka Centre from October 2-4, raised over $15,000 which club president Mike Elliot says was an extraordinary effort.
“We weren’t sure how the book sale would go this year with all the disruption, but when the books started flowing in we thought this was going to be big,” Mike said.
More than two thirds of a container of books were sold in the sale, which Mike said was the biggest for some time.
The club’s annual duck race took place on Saturday October 24 with 1,500 tickets sold to the public and more than 120 corporate ducks sold to businesses.
Mike said sales went very well this year. “We had a great response, it is just one of those events which captures the imagination and is something all the family can do,” he said.
Final calculations are underway but the duck race will have raised more than $15,000, Mike said.
“We’re very pleased with total funds raised and thankful for the great support from the community. Funds will be used for local needs as well as some overseas causes like funding emergency response kits,” he said.
Mike said the club will now take a “breather”, with plans already underway for a summer book sale from January 2-7, 2021 to raise funds for the Mount Aspiring College hardship fund.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Rotary Club of Wanaka can contact the club here. LINK:
Rotary Club of Wanaka president Mike Elliot.
PHOTOS: Wanaka App
Rotary raise over $30,000  Tony O'Regan 2020-10-25 11:00:00Z 0

Rotary clubs donate $9,000 for mental health support

A $9,000 donation from local rotary clubs will provide much needed support for mental health services in the Upper Clutha.
The donation from the Rotary Club of Wanaka and Aspiring Rotary Club was made on Wednesday (July 1) to Community Networks Wanaka, a not-for-profit service supporting the wellbeing of the Upper Clutha community.
Community Networks provides subsidised counselling and will manage the distribution of the funds donated.
“With this generous donation, we can offer further support for clients,” Community Networks manager Kate Murray said.
“These funds will be used to help people with the cost of counselling. This can range from people having difficulty with relationships, parenting, coping with stress, feeling depressed or experiencing grief,” Kate said.
She said Community Networks had high demand for subsidised counselling, with 23 referrals in June alone.
“Last year we had 87 referrals in total so demand has certainly grown recently,” said Kate.
Rotary Club of Wanaka immediate past president Deb Budden said it was a team effort by the two local rotary clubs and the Rotary District.
“Each club has contributed and we were able to secure a grant from the Rotary District to make this substantial donation,” Deb said.
Kate expressed her gratitude to the local and district rotary organisations for the donation.
“I’d like to say a huge thankyou to the Rotary District and the local clubs for this support. There is a large need and we really appreciate this donation. It’s a great example of how we can work together to strengthen the resilience of our community.”
Community Networks offers subsidised counselling services on a referral basis. For more information click here. LINK:

From left: Aspiring Rotary’s Tabatha Wilson with Kate Murray of Community Networks and Deb Budden of the Rotary Club of Wanaka. PHOTO: Wanaka App
Rotary clubs donate $9,000 for mental health support  Tony O'Regan 2020-07-08 12:00:00Z 0

Movie premier to raise funds for polio eradication

Rotary worldwide is on a mission to end Polio and Rotary members in Wanaka are taking action on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds, and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
The Rotary Club of Wanaka is excited to be working with Ruby’s Cinema to bring a pre-release screening of the movie Ride Like a Girl to everyone in Wanaka, on Wednesday 23 October.
Each year the Wanaka Rotary Club arranges a polio movie event as a fundraiser for End Polio.  This year’s movie, Ride Like a Girl, is the inspirational true story of Michelle Payne – the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.
Members of the public wishing to support the cause should get their tickets as soon as possible.
Limited seats are available in both sessions. Contact Deans on 027-2793370 or Ian on 021-950823 to get your ticket.
Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million. 
Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to ending polio since 1985, including over NZ$8,000 (NZ$24,000 after the foundation contribution) donated by the Rotary Club of Wanaka, last year.
Movie premier to raise funds for polio eradication  2019-10-16 11:00:00Z 0
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Rotary Wanaka Book Sale

Books and Rotary Wanaka have gone hand in hand for over 24 years and with the Rotary Club iconic Book Sale starting on the 30th of September this traditional fundraiser is once again kicking off our fundraising programme for the 2016/2017 year.
After 24 years of books sales you would think we would have had enough. But fundraising events like this that involve the whole club provide a great platform for members to engage with colleagues outside of meetings and better still - talk with all the customers pouring in the door!  
Wanaka’s first Rotary Book sale was held in a small room in the main shopping precinct.  While no records can be found of the funds raised at that event, the current two book sales raised close to $20,000 last year.
Rotary Wanaka Book Sale Margaret West 2016-07-25 00:00:00Z 0

Finding Safe Haven

For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After serving her time, Bianca sought help from a local homeless organization, A Safe Haven, and moved to its shelter in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Bianca followed the program closely -- she attended all the required meetings, passed drug tests, and volunteered at every opportunity.
Finding Safe Haven 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

Saving lives in Ghana

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.
Saving lives in Ghana 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

India celebrates three years without polio

Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
The three-year achievement sets the stage for polio-free certification of the entire Southeast Asia region by the World Health Organization. The Indian government also plans to convene a polio summit in February to commemorate this victory in the global effort to eradicate polio.
India celebrates three years without polio 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0