Posted by Editor: FDBobko on Sep 30, 2020
September 24,  2020
Joint Meeting with Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay, New Zealand
Article by Steve Wilson
Photos by Dianne Bobko
Our September 23 meeting began at 12:30, a little later than usual in order to better coordinate with our meeting partner, the Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay, New Zealand.  What a fun meeting!  We shared information, pictures and experiences over the course of the meeting and we definitely want to do this again.  Our pre-meeting informal introductions moved right into the normal meeting time, the conversations were so interesting. We were joined by guests Giade (former Exchange Student from Italy) and Katherine Yaque (former member) from Spain.
We started by comparing our fund-raising activities.  The NZ club sponsors a car rally going from end to end of NZ (about 2500 km !)  In this case, a "banger" isn't a British sausage, it's a beater car which is bought or contributed for the rally.  Covid prevented a rally this year, but last year there were 22 cars, including a Russian Lada (NZ used to trade its butter to the Russians for Ladas, which are Russian- built Fiats;  your scribe comments that  the Russians snockered the Kiwis pretty badly on that one !).  The cars are auctioned after the event.  Next year they aim to raise about NZ $ 65,000.  Their past history of fund-raisers included a major yacht tournament and golf tournament.  Recipient organizations have included Polio Plus, emergency relief kits (cyclones in that region), Trees for Survival, the Life Education Trust, Alzheimers NZ, MS NZ and the Stuttering Association NZ.
Where is Half Moon Bay, New Zealand?
They are near Auckland.  The map below shows the route of their car rally fund raiser.\
Peter Bailey, the NZ Club President, described New Zealand and their community, which has many similarities to ours.  New Zealand has about 5 M population, 75% of it in the North, and much of that clustered around the Auckland region, toward the North end of the North island.  Half Moon Bay, NZ  is in that area.  The community features a large harbor and boat slips, mainly for pleasure boaters. Much of the residential are is on a hillside overlooking the harbor--very picturesque.  After Peter, Mary provided a brief overview of our club and community; and then Joe Brennan provided a more detailed history, from the Ohlones through Spanish land grants, Gold Rush and Portuguese/Italian  immigration, the Prohibition era, the Spanish-speaking population and recent demographic changes.  We identified our Club's emphases as education, mentoring, service to those in need and the homeless as well as seniors.  We explained the importance of the Pumpkin Festival in our community.
There were some other points of interest.  Our NZ friends were entirely unfamiliar with pumpkin pie.  They enjoy pumpkin in a variety of other applications, but not pie.  We elevated their awareness of our favorite gourd.  Interestingly, our friends report that they have very few homeless in their cities, but were aware of our dilemma.  Finally,  NZ has an admirable record of coping with Covid, and they largely attribute the low incidence to the fact that, as an island nation, they can close their borders rapidly and securely to travel
This is definitely something we want to do again.