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‘Serve to change lives’: Rotary Club reminded of service’s main theme

Serving others changes lives — and not just the lives of those on the receiving end. That was the message Rotary district governor Ross Pinkham gave members of the Rotary Club of Gisborne at the Emerald Hotel last night.

“When you serve others, it changes their lives and you change your own,” Mr Pinkham said.

He is nearing the end of a series of club “visits”, although many of these have been Zoom meetings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Pinkham is district governor of District 9930, which covers the central North Island, excluding Taranaki and Manawatu, but including Waikato, the Coromandel Peninsula, the Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

The area has 49 Rotary clubs with a total of 1400 members and Mr Pinkham, a member of the Taradale club, aims to touch base with all of them. His visit to Gisborne had been postponed because of the latest Covid outbreak.

Mr Pinkham urged members to take on board the themes of Rotary International president Shekhar Mehta, of India: “Do more, grow more”; and in relation to membership growth, “Each one bring one”. For Rotary to continue as a service organisation doing good while offering its members fellowship, membership needed continuous renewal.

Mr Pinkham's comment on service was drawn from the international president's main theme, “Serve to change lives”.

“Shekhar Mehta says serving others changes lives, including our own,” Mr Pinkham said.

His own focus for his time as district governor — he has seven months left in the role — is “Health and wellbeing”.

He congratulated the Gisborne club on its successes, such as the Five Buck a Duck Race, and recommended members look out for opportunities to introduce others to Rotary and its goals.

Rotary's seven areas of focus are to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; grow local economies; and protect the environment.

Mr Pinkham grew up in Hawke’s Bay, where he served for part of his 43-year police career. He also served in New Plymouth and Dunedin, and at Ruatoria worked on the investigations into the kidnapping of police detective Laurie Naden and the murder of Lance Kupenga. He had a five-year secondment to the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, as police attache. In 2002 he was involved in the Bali bombing investigation.

Mr Pinkham held the rank of detective inspector for 21 years and was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for his investigation of homicide and serious crime.

He is the father of Rhythm & Vines co-founder Hamish Pinkham.

DISTRICT GOVERNOR VISITS: Rotary Club of Gisborne president Ray Kitchen (left) and district governor Ross Pinkham with a banner proclaiming the Rotary International theme for 2021-22, 'Serve to change lives'. Picture by John Gillies