In April this year a group of Hall Rotarians and their partners visited New Zealand and stayed in the Manawatu, being home-hosted by fellow members of the Rotary Club of Feilding. While the visit was a short one, a lot was squeezed in.
PDG Eric Linklater from the Feilding Club had visited the Rotary Club of Hall a number of times over the last 20 years whilst visiting his daughter and grandchildren in Canberra. As coincidence would have it, his daughter Janine and son-in-law Chris are now both active members of the Rotary Club of Hall.
There are a many similarities between the two clubs. Feilding is a rural community with many Rotary members having a rural background and a similar outlook on life to those of us in the Hall Club, and so it was that on one of his visits in 2012, PDG Eric suggested a friendship exchange between the two clubs.
Our Kiwi hosts were very generous, not only in opening their homes to us, but also in their time – on our first day we visited the Te Apiti Windfarm, Totora Reserve in the Pohangina Valley & went 4WDing at Makoura Lodge in the Ruahine Ranges, & all this before the dinner meeting with the Feilding club.
The next day was spent in Feilding at their Farmers’ Markets, held in Manchester Square, followed by a visit to the Coach House Museum and the Feilding Saleyards on one of the busiest days they have had, with over 35,000 sheep passing through on their way to greener pastures.
A free afternoon saw us heading in different directions, some walking the hills through the Manawatu Gorge, while others walked the streets of Feilding or visited the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North, and others went driving through the Manawatu countryside.
After another fabulous and jovial evening meal provided by our hosts, overlooking the lights of the Manawatu, we all tucked off to bed before heading in different directions in the morning. Most of our club members spent a week or two exploring the North Island in pairs or solo, with President Brian and Community Director Chris probably getting closest to experiencing the real New Zealand.
The pair went tramping (bushwalking) for three days through the rainforest around the picturesque undisturbed Lake Waikaremoana National Park where they experienced a day and a half walking through the rainforest in the rain and mud.
The trip was a great success and we all look forward to hosting the Rotary Club of Feilding when they visit us in September for Floriade and some some other exciting excursions we have planned for our friends from over the ditch.