The motto of Rotary is Service Above Self and Waugh says: “For me this means that am I able to give service to my community in a way that is far greater than working on my own, it’s really working with like-minded people that want to do good in the world.”
“For me it’s a way of giving to my community, it grew from there.”
Waugh is governor of just about half of Auckland and seven Pacific island countries, “so we’re actually the largest maritime district in the world. We cover the largest sea area of any Rotary, we have 52 Rotary clubs in this district, it’s pretty diverse”, she says.
As a district governor (for one year) she is expected to visit all the clubs in the district.
The 50th celebrations were hosted at the Aroa Nui hall in Arorangi, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen also attended. “The event was extremely well run, it really showcased the history of Rotary in the Cook Islands and what’s been achieved.”
Rarotonga Rotary had profiled their projects, the mobile health clinic the biggest assignment the club has undertaken.
Co-ordinated by the Masterton Rotary Club, other Rotary clubs also contributed to the cause.
“It really is a showcase project and, interestingly, it is now an example that my Rotary club is going to use as a model for a mobile health clinic in Nadi, Fiji.
“One of the challenges we have in Rotary is engaging young people, particularly young professional people who are really busy in their jobs, busy with their families.
“So we are changing to be more flexible and be more adaptable so that clubs can now meet in a way that suits them, rather than a rigid - you must attend every week meeting structure.
“Really it’s about projects and working together and having fun doing it, it’s important.”
During her visit, Waugh attended the Rotary meeting on Wednesday night, and met with Rarotonga Rotaract talking over project ideas.
One of the key issues is to attract new members. “They’ve got ideas for projects and getting other people engaged on a regular basis who can help out with their projects not just Rotarians, that’s good.
“However, you need to have a core number who are the ones that actually do the organising, the fundraising and the project managing.
“For the Rotaracters too, many of them travel in their jobs, getting them together in one place at one time is quite a challenge.”
How would you encourage someone to join Rotaract?
“If you want to actually get together with a group of young people who are committed to improve and do good in their community, who come from all sorts of different backgrounds, be part of Rotaract, diversity is an important element of it.”
Special award presentations were also given out on the evening to Mark Boyd, Don Dorrell and the beloved late Mousie Skews as recipients of the Paul Harris (founder of Rotary International) Fellowship.
Waugh’s husband John accompanied her to the island; they have two grown up children who were born in Athens, Greece, and four grandsons.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark was the keynote speaker and spoke of her humanitarian experiences.