The Asburton Plains Rotary Club was chartered as the Ashburton South Club on 10 May 1969 sponsored by the Ashburton Club (our Mother!). The membership at the inception was 14 members. Since that time we have belonged to a worldwide organization Rotary International which has clubs across world with over 30,000 clubs and a membership of approximately 1.2 million.
The earliest project for the Club was the erection of a bus shelter on the western side of Archibald Street in Tinwald. I have been told that on its completion there was enough timber over to build another shelter on the other side of the street.
When the club was chartered the goal of the members was to improve the Tinwald area and the then the president Felix Mulligan said “No one expects us to change Tinwald overnight but to be successful any Rotary Club must eventually have an impact on the district it serves.”
During these early years the Club carried out other projects in the area including the provision of a seat outside the local pharmacy where clients could wait for their prescription to be made up.
Other projects included assistance for the development of IHC building programme, vocational talks to the pupils of Tinwald School and the swimming pool in the Tinwald Domain had its surrounds concreted and the pool painted.
One very huge undertaking was the transference of the old Waterton church which was pulled over a distance of something like 15 k’s behind a steam engine from its rural site near the coast to the present site as part of the Tinwald Plains Railway Museum . Its upkeep has also been on the agenda in the ensuing years.
Over the years the Club has constantly been a very loyal supporter of Rotary Foundation. Giving on most years the equivalent of $100 per member. The quest of Rotary International is to assist in the eradication of polio throughout the world. This has almost been achieved. Only a few countries have the disease in their midst.
Throughout the years the Club has placed a huge emphasis on fundraising activities with a view to being able to assist the Mid Canterbury area with donations for various projects.
On one occasion a $9000 grant for a child with a very serious diabetes condition to enable the child to have automatic delivery on insulin when necessary.
Other grants included the Ashburton Event Centre, the E A Networks pool, gym and sports centre along with the development of the Scout Den at Maniaroto Park.
Overseas projects have included assisting islands of the Pacific with milking machines, a cattle weighing machine and medical supplies.
During more recent years the Club has organised and become well known for its mushroom compost, pea straw and potato growing and marketing. The yearly Classic Car Rally run during Wheels Week has also become well known and supported in our community.
The Club has always also been very supportive of the youth of our district and has made every effort to give young people the opportunity to attend the various programmes such as Outward Bound, Boyle River Adventure Camp, RYLA , the Rotary Science Forum in Auckland and the Aspiring Leaders forum in Wellington.
The Primary School Speech Contest for Years 5 – 8 students has grown to be an important part of the schools yearly programme throughout the area. This has been running for the last 12 years.
The Young Totara programme has also been very conscientiously supported since its inception and a piece of land known as Totara Grove has a totara tree planted each time an award is made. More latterly an Apprentices Award has been set up in association with Advance Ashburton to recognize excellence in the trades fields.
The Club also provides members and their partners with several social occasions throughout the year – some in the form of outings or just socializing at the weekly venue. Fun is had at any meeting with members being encouraged to contribute to our funds through the use of a sergeant who fines members for small misdemeanors.