Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 29, October 1985

Paeroa Rotarians marked the 80th Anniversary of their organisation with a special programme on the evening of 26th February 1985.

There was a special invitation issued to all past members, their wives and widows of former Rotarians to attend the meeting and in all there were over 60 present to be welcomed by the club President, Vaughan Baker.

Following dinner, Past District Governor, Garth Button, compered the evening of four speakers, who covered the inaugural meeting which led to the formation of the movement to where it is today.

Special mention was made of two former members, Phil Leigh, a foundation member of the Paeroa club on September 16th 1943; Jim Brown, who joined on march 4th 1944; and present member Alf Jenkinson, who joined on August 1st 1946, he being the longest serving member present.

In his introductory remarks, Mr Button said from small beginnings in 1905 in Chicago the movement had grown today to have 21,000 clubs in 159 countries with a membership of over one million, - one of the largest service clubs in the world today, he said.

Past President Ron Tyrell told members the Rotary commenced with a meeting of four men, a mining engineer, a merchant tailor, a coal dealer and a lawyer in an office in Chicago on February 23rd 1905.

They set the foundation stone for the movement as a club which meets regularly, seeks new ideas and has one member from each profession, "so as to avoid business competition from within the club which could upset the harmony among members".

He said it took three years before the next club was formed and the movement "took off", spreading across the world. It reached New Zealand in 1921.

The Paeroa club was formed in September 1943 and then it went on to help establish the Thames, Waihi and Te Aroha clubs.