Updated 3 January 2021
January Masonic events.
There are a couple of things happening in our district in January:
23 December 2020
Freemasons Supply Much Needed Nebulisers
Due to the generosity of five Lodges and three personal donations, Freemasons from the Ruapehu District were able to purchase four Medix Econoneb Nebulisers for use on the medical ward of Whanganui Hospital.
When VW Bro. Laurie Hunt PDistGM was admitted to Wanganui Hospital with respiratory problems he needed the aid of a nebuliser to ease his difficulty in breathing. The ward had three machines prior to Laurie’s admittance, one was out of commission and one had gone missing, leaving one to be shared between a ward of 30 to 35 beds. As respiratory problems are commonplace for the medical ward, Laurie had decided he would approach Lodges in the Whanganui DHB area to sponsor the purchase of more units in order to help both patients and staff.
For those that do not know a nebuliser converts a solution of a drug into a fine spray. You then breathe in the spray. Nebulisers use oxygen, compressed air, or ultrasonic power to break up the liquid drug to deliver the dose you need, and they are invaluable on the medical ward. So, no wonder the staff who work on the there were so grateful to receive these new units.
At the presentation W Bro. Neil Elgar PGIG read out a short letter from VW Bro. Hunt PDistGM who had moved to Ashburton earlier in the year to be with family, Laurie expressed his thanks to the medical staff and how pleased he was to see this project finally come about. Then VW Bro. Williamson, a long-time friend of Laurie Hunt uncovered the four nebulisers and presented the equipment to the medical staff.
We are grateful to those that donated to this cause, with this purchase we can make a difference to so many people, thankyou.
Image: Nebulisers Presented
21 December 2020
Merry Christmas One and All.
Well only a few days and it will be Christmas, and how the previous months have flown by. Masonically speaking it has been a busy time wrapping up the end of our year, not only did we have the Grand Master visit Lodge Pa Ka Ma to present VW Bro. Kendrick with a gold charity jewel for his good deeds and Sterling work during his term as Divisional Grand Almoner, but we also had three more worthy men join Freemasonry, so I would like to welcome Bro’s Fifield, Bell and Sandall to the fraternity.
I would also like to acknowledge the committee responsible for the transition from Fitzherbert to Amesbury Street and in particular W Bro. Shadbolt for his architectural work and knowledge, with Darryn’s vision, we will have a modern and relevant building in which can take pride. I don’t think we can every thank him enough for the work he has put into this project.
Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for us all and we can continue with our masonic year uninterrupted, it would be good to achieve some milestones which we had not achieved due to COVID 19. I have just read the latest Freemason NZ magazine and I am amazed at the calibre of charitable acts and benevolence Masons do for their communities and nationally, but like my teacher always said “Williamson, there is always room for improvement” So I would like us as a collective to think about how much more we could do not only to support our own members but also our communities. Think about who coordinates charity in your Lodge, is there a person or do you need someone?
All I ask from you in 2021 is to enjoy your Freemasonry, bring your ‘A’ game to every meeting, support your fellow Masons, smile a lot, make lifelong friends and above all be kind to each other.
So, with that Jo and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and wonderful New Year, we will drink a toast to you, your wives, partners, and families
Peace, love, and harmony
Updated 17 December 2020
Lodge Pa Ka Ma Gains New Member
It was a real pleasure to attend Lodge Pa Ka Ma this evening and be witness to Bro. Sendall’s initiation. It was also a pleasure to see our Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro. Watt travel from the capital to be there. I must say that is has been pleasing to see the standard of ceremony increase over the last few months and I congratulate you on the amazing effort you are all making in producing a grade ‘A’ experience for the candidate. I would like to commend all of Lodge Pa Ka Ma for the way in which they conducted the ceremony, in particular VW Bro. Walker PDistGM, who in my opinion gave one of the best 1st degree tracing board charges I have heard in a long time. Also a big shout out to the two Wardens and the Master.
I had the pleasure in welcoming Bro. Sendall into Freemasonry and to wish him well in his journey of discovery and I am sure the our new Brother will enhance Lodge Pa Ka Ma.
10 December 2020
Rongotea Lodge No. 146
Rongotea Lodge No. 146 for many years served the local rural Rongotea community until circumstances beyond their control saw them move to our Freemason’s hall in Palmerston North. But somehow the Lodge has been able to retain that rural feel that so many of our members confess to admire.
Last evening the Lodge held an emergency meeting to initiate the latest member Bro. Bell. I will say that it was noticeable that the team had put in the extra yards at practice to deliver a solid performance, in particular the Junior Deacon Bro. Thomsen who showed great promise in what can be a daunting part for a Master Mason. It is good to note that we are seeing some younger Junior Deacons reaching high standards and being the centre pin of initiation ceremonies.
Bro. Bell was introduced to Freemasonry by Bro. Anderson Senior Warden, increasing their membership to twenty-three. Bro. Anderson delivered the working tools with meaning which was relative as Bro. Anderson is Bro. Bell’s employer. Below is a picture of Bro. Bell with RW Bro. Berry P Prov GM, Our RW Bro had joined Freemasonry fifteeen years before the our new member had been born, living testiment that for many of us Freemasonry is a long and enjoyable journey of comitment.
Again, we could have done with a few more Lodges from our district represented, especially at a 1st degree but I understand it is a busy time of year and unfortunately there was more than one Lodge meeting last evening. Only twenty-three Freemasons were present, and I would like to thank those that had ventured out in the rain to be there for Bro. Bell and for Masonry. It is particularly pleasing to see several of our master’s attend and the master of the local English Constitution Lodge who is a regular supporter of our Lodges.
Once again, I would like to welcome Bro. Bell into our fraternity of Brothers, may your time within the craft be as fulfilling as mine has been, and remember that you take from the craft what you are prepared to put into it, enjoy the company of your Brothers for I am sure they will enjoy yours.
Image: RW Bro. Berry Past Provincial Grand Master, meets Bro. Bell.
Updated 30 November 2020
District Grand Master’s Report (November)
Greetings from Jo and I
November has nearly come and gone, and it has been a busy month, on the family, work, and Masonic side. I cannot believe we are nearly into December and into all our Christmas meetings. In November Jo and I spread our wings outside the district and visited a Lodge in Taumarunui, Nau Mai Lodge no. 177 for their installation meeting. I also attended the installation meeting at United Horowhenua, on the nineteenth and caught up with a few brothers I had not seen for a while. Herbert Teagle-Taia Lodge No. 300, in Porirua was on my visiting list and I drove down in the company of W Bro Ancell and W Bro. Sills to their 1st degree working.
On the home front I attended Lodge Rangitane for a 1st degree and welcomed Bro. Fifield into our fraternity. Bro. Tolley was raised to the degree of Master Mason in Lodge Otangaki No. 70 and received his Widows Sons vest there. One of the months highlights was meeting Miss Libby Hunsdale at St Andrew Kilwinning, Libby for those that do not know has just completed the lead role in a New Zealand film “Poppy”. I was also delighted to be able to attend UCOL for the Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarship presentation, with members of Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge.
The Grand Master visited Pa Ka Ma Lodge to present VW Bro. Kendrick P Dist GM with a gold charity jewel, which he very much deserved due to his work as Divisional Grand Almoner.
And finally, I attended the Otaihape Lodge domestic meeting, where we spent a few hours talking about various membership ideas.
The Gazebo got its first airing at James Cook School in Marton, providing shade for their 50th Anniversary, and we missed a busy Marton Market Day, denying us of an opportunity to get out into the community.
So, all in all a busy November and I am now looking forward to December. I will say we seem to be lacking greatly in support especially where it is needed most, our ceremonies for new members. have not been well attended and that is a real shame for the candidate, the Lodge and Freemasonry. There are two initiations planned for December on Wednesday 9th at Rongotea Lodge, and Thursday 17th at Lodge Pa-Ka-Ma No 319, please try and make these two ceremonies.
I have attached a copy of the National Calendar below so you can plan your Masonic December
Two meetings are planned for 2021, one of which is the National Office Road Show, which will be coming to us on the ninth of March and will be held in Wanganui hopefully. I know there ate Lodge meetings on that date and I will be contacting the Masters in due course. I’ll explain more nearer the time of why I think every Brother with a vested interest in the survival of Freemasonry should attend.
On the 1st of May we have the Freemasons Divisional Conference in Palmerston North, we need everyone in this district to come along and join in.
I would like to finish by congratulating RW Bro. Wagener and Judith who were married on Saturday.
Image: Mr & Mrs, Wagener
Updated 27 November 2020
Gold Charity Jewel Award
Last evening Jo and I visited Lodge Pa Ka Ma Lodge No. 319 for the occasion of the Grand Master's first official visit to our district, and for the presentation of a gold charity jewel to VW Bro. Kendrick P Dist GM. Mike as many of you know has just completed a six-year term as Divisional Grand Almoner where he carried out his duty to the full extend, working alongside Freemasons Charity, helping those in need, and assisting Lodges in their charitable acts. We would mention his wonderful wife Marion, who has been an amazing support to Mike throughout and who is always a bundle of joy to be around.
Eighty-three Masons from the division, wives, partners, and family attended the presentation, which was a true mark of respect for a man who has truly worked tirelessly for others.
Mike was initiated into The Kimbolton Lodge No. 123 on the 6 June 1985, passed and raised in the same Lodge and he was a member there when I first met him in 2008 when he was District Grand Master, I remember Mike very well because in 2013 he had given me a handmade card at my third installation ceremony and it was signed by all present that evening, that little human touch of kindness meant an awful lot and I have never forgotten.
Image: Grand MasterMW Bro. Wrigley, VW Bro. Kendrick P Dist GM and Marion Kendrick.
Mike’s Connection to Freemasons Charity has obviously given him a great deal of personal satisfaction over the years and Mike made special mention of the work of the Charity Administrator, Shelly Newson and how she has worked with him closelI must make mention of Pa Ka Ma Lodge No. 319, the work they carried out to make the occasion special was over and beyond what was expected, the food plentiful and tasty, the steward members working hard to make sure the evening went of so well and for many they would have a lot of work after we left. Thank you form the bottom of my heart for your kindness and masonic values.
Image: VW Bro. Kendrick wearing his Gold Charity Jewel.
Updated 26 November 2020
Libby and The Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
The young lady in the photograph is the delightful actor Libby Hunsdale, star of a new New Zealand made film which recently finished shooting. Mrs. Barbara Andrews, Libby’s Grandmother accompanied her to visit St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No. 79 on the occasion of the annual St Andrew’s day celebration, which always includes that rather glorious Scots tradition of reciting Sir Robert Burns, famous Address to a Haggis. Jo and I were delighted to attend this wonderful occasion and have a rare chance to rub shoulders with a bright and upcoming star.
Libby was invited to the Freemasons Hall in Dublin Street, Wanganui by the Master W Bro. Craig Ancell to talk about some of her experiences as a young person making her way into the world of acting. Libby was confident and superbly informative as she enlightened us with a brief insight into her life as an actor as well as her love for her family and especially her Grandmother, and Grandfather who she looked up to and who was himself a former Past Master of the St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge.
Libby will soon be off to Auckland as a finalist in the 'Attitude Awards'. The attitude youth courage category celebrates the achievements of young people with a disability whose courage and determination will remind all Kiwis of the power of the human spirit, and the quest of young people with disabilities to lead full lives in the community. To Jo and I Libby is every bit a winner already and who has by the age of nineteen overcome great personal loss and started to forge a career for herself in film acting with her first lead role.
“Poppy” a New Zealand Film Commission feature, written and directed by Linda Niccol, Libby acts in the film’s leading role as a young woman with Downs Syndrome who refuses to be defined by her disability and decides to take control of her life. W Bro Ancell has received a short clip of the film and showed it in refectory, much to the delight of our Brethren, wives and guests who were there.
Libby was so delighted to be able to share her experiences with the members and we know that being among her Grandfather’s former Brothers meant a great deal to her. In fact at one point she asked if she could join! So I gave her a lapel badge which would remind her of her Grandfather and Great Grandfather's association with Freemasonry.
The Address to the Haggis was carried out according to tradition, with the bag pipes playing, the drinking of a fine Scots whiskey and the Gaelic rendering of Robbie Burns love for the haggis.
All in all it was an awe-inspiring evening, full of Scots flavour, lots smiles and the beauty of Miss Libby Hunsdale who we will read about more and more in the future, of that I am sure. Thank you Libby for visiting us and allowing us to be a small part of your journey, best wishes for the future and remember you are now part of our Whanau of St Andrew Kilwiining Lodge No.79.
Image: Miss Libby Hunsdale Actor, Mr's Andrews and W Bro. Ancell
Updated 25 November 2020
Widows Sons Brothers Keepers Chapter # 4
I will admit, I do not know a great deal about ‘The Widows Sons’ having stopped riding a motorcycle many years before a lot of Widows Sons were born. What I do know about them is they are Masons and do our fraternity proud with their benevolence, good deeds and more than obvious bond of Brotherhood. Last evening, I travelled by car not by motorcycle to attend our Ashhurst Lodge, Otangaki No. 70, for the occasion of Bro. Tolley being raised to a Master Mason and then afterwards receiving his Widow Sons Brothers Keepers Vest from Bro. Marshall. W Bro. Kelly’s team did an excellent job of raising young Blake and it was a pleasure to witness, so well done.
The greatest pleasure in being a District Grand Master is being there when a new member is initiated and then when he is made a Master Mason. It is even a bigger pleasure to see a young Freemason becoming an active member of the Lodge and support those around him and I am sure Bro. Tolley will do just that. The one thing I did observe was the great comradery being a Widows Son brings, and how close these Brothers were in support of each other. Maybe we should all buy a motorcycle over 500cc and hit the road as these young men seem to have the zest for Freemasonry and their association, we should aspire to.
If you want to learn more about joining the Widows Sons, email mailto: email@example.com.
Widows Sons Brothers Keepers, Chapter #4 of Widows Sons New Zealand, Masonic Riders Association ‘18, Manawatu-Wanganui
Image: Brethren of the Widows Sons
St Andrew Kilwinning No.79 and The Herbert Teagle-Taia Lodge No. 300
I am not sure exactly when a fraternally fellowship between St Andrew Kilwinning No.79 and The Herbert Teagle-Taia Lodge No. 300 came about or even why it came about, but I am sure someone will tell me, I believe it was some eighty years prior to the meeting I attended last evening. I travelled a couple of hours to Porirua last evening, in the company of the Master of St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge and a Past Master of that Lodge. We attended an initiation of a new Brother who had contacted Freemasons NZ through the website enquiry system, so it was good to see his joining Freemasonry come about. Whilst there we were treated very warmly, and I was delighted as always to see the District Grand Master for Kapiti-Wellington District No. 19 also there, and always a rare occasion when you have two Dist GM’s at an initiation. I would like to thank the Lodge and VW Bro. Turner Dist GM for their hospitality. If you have not been to visit The Herbert Teagle-Taia Lodge No. 300, please do, the well prepared meal after the ceremony was extremely tasty!
Image: 2nd left Master of the St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge, The new EA, Master of Herbert Teagle-Taia Lodge No. 300 and the Dist GM Kapiti Wellington District.
Updated 14 November 2020
Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarship
On the 12th November Jo and I attended UCOL in Palmerston North to help mark the presentation of the Freemasons Willison Lewis scholarship to two experienced builders who have been able to expand their skillsets and take their careers in the construction industry further by being awarded the scholarship.
Jack Aplin and Daniel Wilby each received Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarships, a joint initiative between Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No. 47 , Freemasons Charity, UCOL, and Registered Master Builders. CEDA and Mitre 10 are also sponsors.
The scholarships are awarded to qualified tradespeople working in the Manawatu or Whanganui construction industry who want to further develop their skills. Recipients have the option of studying the New Zealand Diploma in Business, the New Zealand Diploma in Construction, or the New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology at UCOL.
Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge is pleased to continue the legacy of its members who established the scholarships. Late lodge members and builders W Bro. Jim Willson and W Bro. Sam Lewis bequeathed the initial funds, while the late W Bro. Pettman set up the scholarships following the suggestion of W Bro. Bob Isles.
Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge has a proud tradition of charitable giving and support for academic excellence in the Manawatu. The Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarships is a valuable addition to these efforts, particularly in rewarding those in the trades.
This is the fifth year the Scholarships have been awarded, which is something Bro. Cameron Isles a member of Manawatu Kilwinning and representative of Master Builders Manawatu is particularly proud of.
Jo and I would like to congratulate Jack Aplin and Daniel Wilby the recipients of the awards, and in particular the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge for their efforts in the local community.
Image: Mayor Grant Smith, Daniel Wilby, Jack Aplin, W Bro Shadbolt, W bro Neilson and Hon. Steve Maharey
Updated 14 November 2020
“Endeavour and Resolution”
The District Freemasons NZ Gazebo made its inaugural outing today, providing shade at James Cook School in Marton, for their 50th year celebrations. James Cook School opened its gates to the foundation pupils on Tuesday 3rd February 1970 and we are happy to be able to help them out on this occasion. The gazebo is available for any community event where we want to get Freemasons NZ name out there. For bookings please contact Jo Williamson via email.
Updated 9 November 2020
Whanganui’s Libby Hunsdale.
On Wednesday the 25th November, Jo and I will be attending St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge where they will be holding their annual St Andrew’s Day celebration, but this year the Master has invited Whanganui’s Libby Hunsdale to make a special appearance. Libby is the lead actress in the New Zealand Film Poppy written and directed by Linda Niccol. Produced by Robin Laing and Alex Cole-Baker. The 18-year-old Whanganui Girls College student impressed writer and director Linda Niccol (Second-Hand Wedding), with her vivacious personality and ability to deliver a performance.
"Libby is a real find. She embodies the spirit of Poppy. She's a true performer," Niccol said.
Poppy is the story of a young woman with Down syndrome who assumes she should have the same life and opportunities as others her age and is forced to take matters into her own hands when her over-protective brother holds her back from achieving her ambition to become a motor mechanic.
If you can come and meet Libby and support St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge, please do so.
Image: Libby Hunsdale Actress
Updated 7 November 2020
Once a Railway Man, always a Railway Man
Today Jo and I spread our Masonic wings and travelled outside our district to Taumarunui to visit Nau Mai Lodge no. 177. We had been invited by VW Bro. Kendrick Divisional Grand Almoner where he was to be the installing Master for Bro. Kelvin Williams. Kelvin was initiated into our Te Awahou Lodge in 2014 so it was fitting we were there to see him installed as Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
Although I have many years associated with work with Taumarunui and the Ruapehu Council, I had never had chance to see inside the Lodge rooms on Hakiaha Street. Instantly as you ascend the steep concrete outside steps and enter the hall you get a sense of history and the many, many upright men who had entered those same doors over the years. The Lodge has that old-world charm which in our modern society only appeals to a history geek like me and may not be so relevant to younger men today. The Lodge rooms are to be sold as the Lodges membership like many others is down to twenty-one so it was a real last chance for me to see this grand old lady and walk the quirky internal staircase with its odd angle treads.
Whilst we were in the ceremony our wives were taken on a tour to Lauren’s Lavender Farm for coffee and cake then to a craft workshop, followed by an origami lesson. I am sure the ladies laughed from beginning to end, knowing them as I do.
The Railwaymen shared the charges for W Bro Williams who also has Railways running through his veins, so there was a mix of different variations of the Ruapehu Ceremonial, but somehow it came together to create a perfect working example of our motto “One vision, One goal, One team”.
Whilst I was there, I also caught up with VW Bro. Evered District Grand Master of the Waikato district, and shared a moment talking about our roles during COVID. It seems strange to be talking to the District Grand Master of the Waikato in his most Southern Lodge, yet we were still in the Local Authority Ruapehu District!
Jo and I cannot fault the hospitality shown to us by both the railway craftsman association members and the members of Nu Mai Lodge. We arrived safely home after the meal at the RSA, some hours later, tired and bleary eyed, but with no regrets of having spent our Saturday in the company of friends both old and new.
Trivia: Nau Mai means Welcome
Image: Members of The Railway Craftsman Association, Nau Mai Lodge No. 177 7.11.2020. If you wish to have a Hi Res copy of ths photograph, please email me.
Updated 3 Nov 20
Rangitane Lodge No. 369, Small Lodge Big Heart.
This evening I was accompanied by the District Grand Director of Ceremonies to Rangitane Lodge No. 369 in Palmerston. The Master of the Lodge was holding an emergency meeting to initiate Mr. Fifield whose ceremony had been put on hold due to the pandemic.
I must say that I was immensely proud of the way in which the Lodge carried out the work of the first degree and in particular the Master and the Junior Deacon. For a Lodge of only twenty members they did extremely well and had thoughtfully recruited some talent from outside the Lodge to ensure several charges were delivered with excellence, this is in keeping with the vision of ‘one Team’. It was a small audience, being just seventeen, in such a large Lodge room they got lost and I would have hoped for more in support of the Lodge, you actually missed a very good ceremony and the chance to see a good team performance. Thankyou to those that did attend, you made the evening so much brighter with your presence.
Well done to the Master, W Bro. Maru who at the age of 87 had memorised the ceremony, and without the use of ‘cheat sheets ‘ had a lion’s share of the work with little prompting. Also same to Bro. Koehler and Bro. Haxell who showed talent as Deacons and potential to move up in the craft. Excellence can only be achieved through sound practice and the good example of our peers
Congratulations to Bro. Fifield on his becoming an Entered Apprentice Freemason, I am looking forward to watching your progress in masonry.
Image Above: Bro. Koehler Junior Deacon, Bro. Fifield Entered Apprentice and Bro. Haxell Senior Deacon.
Prompted by the sad death of Sean Connery I got to wondering if Author Ian Fleming was a Freemason?, it was rumoured so, but there is no hard evidence according to Google? if he was not certainly James Bond 007 the character is, and I can image that character in a Lodge room somewhere in the vaults of MI6, London. My only connection to Bond is that my proposer into Deva Lodge No. 3447 EC was a wonderful Grand Lodge Officer W Bro. Olwyn Williams PPG Std Br, he was a family friend and the landlord of our local pub the Coal Exchange, but he was also the Grand Father of Daniel Craig the current actor filming James Bond. When I joined Freemasonry thirty one years ago this month, they had no less than eleven Stewards at the time, and refectories were splendid occasions with a feast of a cooked dinner prepared by an on site caterer and a well stocked bar, maybe that's why?
Trivia: The Lodge in Chester was named after the Roman city (Deva Victrix) the name given to the important port in 79AD by Emperor Vespasian.
Well here we are in November, the time for bonfires and firework displays and the shops filling with Christmas items far too early. It is also a great month for Freemasonry in the district with us gearing up for December. I must thank all the Lodges for making the transition from COVID to operational last month, I know it was not easy, but we had some great meetings. In three weeks, I would have been District Grand Master for a year and what a year that was, hopefully COVID will now let me get on with my work in the district, for there is much to do and so little time left to do it!
This month there is plenty on the calendar with every Lodge actively engaged in meetings and there are some good stuff going on. I would encourage all of you to look for first degree workings for a candidate, any Mason can attend those, and we want to make an excellent first impression on our new members.
We have a sixty-year service presentation in Taihape for W Bro. Richardson PGBB so please try and be there, as sixty years is an awful long time to be a Mason in anyone’s book.
The Grand Master is coming to Pa Ka Ma with the Divisional Grand Master on the 26th, so there is something special to attend, and ladies are welcome. At the meeting the Divisional and I will talk about the upcoming road shows and the plans for the future so please come along and listen to what we have to say.
I would just like to say a special thanks to VW Bro. Kendrick Divisional Grand Almoner, Mike steps down in November from his position and he has done a fantastic job for not only our district but also the division over the past years. Mike has been a great support to me and deserves a well-earned rest. Well done VW Bro. Kendrick you are a credit to Freemasonry and our district team.
Look out for the St. Andrews celebration evenings coming up, Manawatu Kilwinning on the 7th, tickets still available I believe. St Andrew Kilwinning in Wanganui have their evening on the 25th, and have a guest speaker: Miss Libby Hunsdale, lead actress in soon to be released New Zealand feature film 'Poppy'. Jo and I will not miss it.
Lodge Wharite has a talk on dementia, which should be very good, and I may attend that day if work allows.
These are the visits I am planning this month:
I see we have some community charity projects on the go, assisted by the Freemasons Charity, awesome to see
If we want to progress and be seen, we need to be out there in our separate communities doing good deeds and assisting with projects rather than hidden away in our windowless Lodge rooms! The Gazebo is itching for a first outing, but it needs Freemasons who are willing to go the extra mile in promoting the craft, you are out there I know, you are as passionate as me about keeping Freemasonry alive for another 300 years, so lets get out there and rock our stuff!
Please, please, please send me photos and a story if you are doing anything worthy of mention, I will make sure it gets to National Office and gets shown!
It's great to see many of our wives and partners visiting where they can and giving much needed support to us as Freemasons, I would like to see more Lodges embrace Women at our refectories, Jo is actively advertising any meeting where they are welcome through the Speculative Guild of Ladies on Facebook and messenger. If your partner has not joined the group maybe it's time they did.
The Speculative Guild of Ladies (SGL) is opening its doors to our wives and partners in the central division so look out for that group. The Hamilton Gardens visit is still being arranged for February, so watch this space.
Ash n Jo
Updated 29 October 2020
The Scottish Play
Last evening, I travelled over to Whanganui from Marton to visit St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No. 79. For those who are up on Masonic history would know the Lodge was consecrated in 1868 as number 481 on the Grand roll of Scotland, making it one of our district’s oldest Lodges. Reported in the Wanganui Herald of the time was the fact that W Bro. Webb of the English Constitution had carried out every charge at the consecration, which apparently lasted three hours!
After witnessing Bro. Wadey being invested as a Master Mason, I was sure the Master of St Andrew Kilwinning is Webb reborn, as he was virtually word perfect in the ceremony, as were the officers assisting him. W Bro. Ancell was a trained actor in his younger days, which helps amazingly with his delivery, but he also knows the value of practice make perfect, and it showed, I believe the Lodge meets every Wednesday for a rehearsal which must be applauded. When I am tackled by an eager Deacon as I’m leaving who has not been in the craft long and asked how the ceremony compared with other Lodges in the district, you know instantly there is a pride in what the Lodge is trying to achieve. Look out for this Lodge, it is going places under W Bro Ancell’s guidance and it emits a good vibe which can't fail to enhance Freemasonry in the Whanganui community.
Image:Second from Left Bro. Wadey, he is joined by Brethren of St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No.79.
Summer Dress as from 1 November 2020 until further notice
As from the 1st November, the Ruapehu District will adopt minimum divisional standard summer dress. For the benefit of our newer members summer dress is:
Summer dress is not compulsory so for personal comfort a lounge suit may be worn as per the BOC description.
Updated 22 October 2020
Rongotea Lodge No.146 Installation Meeting
Last evening Jo and I attended the Installation meeting of Rongotea Lodge No. 146 in Palmerston North. The installation would have normally been carried out in August but due to COVID 19 was put on hold until October. The Master of the Lodge W Bro. Kitchin was reinstalled into the chair for his second term and his officers invested.
W Bro. Kitchin had started his first year, looking at reviving his Mother Lodge and pointing it in the right direction for the future. Unfortunately, some of his goal’s and short-term plans were thwarted due to the pandemic. However, his Lodge has initiated four new members and passed another to the Fellowcraft degree and raised a Master Mason which is admirable for any Lodge. Mark also held a Christmas dinner in 2019, inviting all Lodges to attend and raising money for Charity.
I would like to note that Mark leads a busy life running his building company ‘Amak’ , helping his wife raise a young family and trying to fish and hunt, yet he remains incredibly faithful to his Mother Lodge, more than some I know. There is no denying, Mark finds the challenges of public speaking and learning Masonic workings a little complexing, but with continued support from all Freemasons in our district, he will learn as many have before him to build confidence, for surely that is one of the values of joining Freemasonry, self confidence.
It was good to see some of our wives attend the meal after the ceremony, which was not traditional at installations of the Lodge. If we are to align ourselves with modern society and attract good men with families, we need to start to break down some of these oudated traditions that are holding us back.
If you were wondering, the wonderful display of Orchids were supplied by RW Bro. Berry PProv GM and his lovely wife Heather. I didn't realise we have such green fingers among us.
Image: W Bro. Kitchin muses over his Master's relpy at the installation banquet.
Updated 21 October 2020
W Bro. John Ross Kelly 50 Year Presentation
Today I was honoured to be invited into the Petre Lodge no. 457 and be able to present member, W Bro. Kelly with his 50-year service certificate and badge. W Bro. Kelly was initiated into Freemasonry in 1966 at the Lodge Waverley Kilwinning No. 311, aged 35, so the eagle eyed among you will notice we are four years behind with the presentation, not sure why. It was good to find our brother had brought along a son and Granddaughter to celebrate this milestone in his masonic journey.
Following the presentation, we were treated to a short film of the original constitution and dedication of the Petre Lodge No. 457 in 1993. It was so interesting to see so many of the Brethren I have known in my time in New Zealand, somewhat younger but so easily recognisable. Jo and I took great delight in seeing familiar faces. I would like to thank RW Bro. Johnson PprovGM for preserving that piece of history and for arranging its showing.
Image: W Bro. Kelly, Petre Lodge 50 Year presentation.
Image: Constitution and decication of Petre Lodge No. 457 - December 1993
Updated 20 October 2020
Grandson Joins Freemasonry
It was obviously a tremendously proud moment for Secretary W Bro. Elgar Past Grand Inner Guard of The United Lodge of Wanganui No. 468, to watch his Grandson initiated into Freemasonry and into his Lodge. Twenty-three-year-old Bro Mathew Elgar followed a fine family tradition and will now be able to sit with his Grandfather in open Lodge. Bro. Elgar had been proposed on the 18 February 2020, but had his date for his initiation cruelly snatched away due to COVID 19 several times, so it was with great delight that we were finally able to witness him being invested with the apron of an Entered Apprentice Freemason. I had pleasure in addressing our new Brother which is always a total delight and passing over my Square & Compasses lapel badge.
Congratulations Brother Elgar, I hope you have many years of enjoyment from the Craft.
Image above: Bro Elgar and proud Grandfather W Bro. Elgar PGIG.
Following on from the Palnning Workshop in Wellington
The videos from the Grand Master and Divisional Grand Masters following the Planning workshop on the 3rd and 4th October 2020.
Updated 18 October 2022
Otaihape Installation Postponed
Please note, the annual Installation meeting of Otaihape Lodge will not be taking place until November 2021. The Master and officers will continue in their respective positions. This is due to difficulties arising from COVID 19 earlier in the year and the Master's availability.
Updated 16 October 2020
Divisional Conference 2021
The date for the Divisional Conference has been set, it is open to ‘ALL’ members of Freemasonry within the Central Division, including our Ruapehu District No. 15. Further information will be released via the web sites. I would openly encourage every mason with a vested interest in the longevity of Freemasonry to come along and be part of this event. Great for networking and joining with National Office and our leaders. We have much to do Brethren and it will every one of us to come together a one team to debate the future of Freemasonry in this district.
Updated 15 October 2020
Back in November when I was invested, I wanted to find amongst our Brethren a worthy Brother to act as District Educational Officer, it had to be someone who had the knowledge and the skill of delivery for that job. It was an obvious choice for me, and I approached W Bro. Andrew Neilson the Master of Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge to ask him to take up in that position well knowing he was the man for the job, luckily Andrew accepted the challenge. Unfortunately, due to COVID W Bro. Neilson has not had a good run at the job this year, well until last evening anyway.
I had the pleasure of officially being invited with Grand Lodge to Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No.47, my first official visit to the Lodge, to listen to Andrew debate and deliberate on the test questions of the 1st Degree, It was obvious Andrew had researched the subject matter at great depth and in his wisdom delivered the debate with great enthusiasm and passion, captivating his audience and myself, especially the four entered apprentices and Fellowcraft that attended from various Lodges, We learnt about the meaning behind some of the wording of the test questions, and what they would have meant when the book was written compared to today's inturpretation and much more. I realised last evening that I had made the right decision in appointing a born salesman to the position!
I would ask our Masters to leave a meeting free next year for W Bro Neilson to come and carry out his particular brand information sharing with your Lodge, your Brethren will benefit greatly.
Image: Some of our newer members to Freemasonry who received the 1st degree tracing board charge and the meanings behind the test questions.
Updated 14 October 2020
Te Awahou Lodge No. 133 Installation.
It was my pleasure to be the installing officer and a part of the team for the Installation meeting at Te Awahou Lodge No. 133 last evening. For those of you that do not know, the Lodge is situated within a stone’s throw of the famous Foxton Windmill. If you have never visited the Lodge, please do so, the members are extremely welcoming and the building pleasantly modern. W Bro Dryden PGD, when he was Master of the Lodge in 2008 when giving greetings would always add Te Awahou Lodge No. 133 in the town of 'FOXTON', and this became his catch word for the twelve months, much to the amusement of the Lodge he was visiting.
My job last evening was to place W Bro. Vining into the Master’s chair after many delays and disappointments following the years disruptions since the usual date in May, finally at long last we came together under Level 1 and had our ceremony, what a great night it was, as we were blessed with a great turnout of members, visitors, Installed Masters and officers of Grand Lodge. The Deputy Grand Master, the Divisional Grand Master and the Grand Director of Ceremonies were also in attendance which added to the splendour of the evening and to see the seats in the East fully occupied was a sheer delight. What an excellent start to W Bro. Vinings term.
This was not the first time W Bro. Vining had been in the chair he was Master in 2010 and 2013, so he is no stranger to the role, and will undoubtedly bring even more stability to the Lodge. He shows he has a passion for Foxton and the community, as well as his Lodge and with the help of every member will be able to restore this vital Rural based Lodge back to full working capacity. I know they have two prospective candidates waiting in the wings, so things are looking brighter already.
The Lodge had been recently active with the presentation of a defibrillator to the Te Awahou Masonic Village and involvement in community events, so long may this continue and next year grow. I must make special mention of W Bro. Lowndes PGD and his lovely wife Jeanette, they are wonderful people and we are thankful for all their assistance, Gordon should have stepped away from the Master’s chair in May 2020 after a year as Master, no mean feat for someone of advanced years, we all wish him well in his new role as Director of Ceremonies and Almoner, a true Mason in every sense of the word, who loves his Lodge, surely as an eight time Master you deserve a break!
Thankyou to everyone who attended, especially our Wellington visitors and EC Lodge Brethren, the installed master’s and the two entered apprentices, your presence was greatly appreciated.
My ending comment is to ask every member of Te Awahou Lodge 'FOXTON' to come together as one team, with one vision and one goal, to support your master at all times, support you Lodge with passion and devotion and personally work hard at raising the bar in all thing Masonic, continue to promote Freemasonry whole heartily in your community and above all practice the art of being happy and communicating happiness.
Image: Some of Installed Masters W Bro. Ancell, W Bro. Neilson, W Bro. Cameron, W Bro. Vining, W Bro. Henderson (EC) and W Bro. Kitchin
Image: RW Bro Pratt Div GM, RW Bro. Watt Dep GM, W Bro Vinning, and myself
Updated 11 October 2020
It is good to report that Freemasonry in our district is returning to normal now we have been at Level 1 for several weeks, the weather is also getting slightly better allowing for gardening, so life at the moment is good.
By now you would have received the Grand Master’s video report on the planning workshop that I attended last weekend in Wellington. The purpose of the workshop was to operationalise the Strategic Plan and work out the direction in which your Lodges may follow. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to meet the other District Grand Masters and the Divisional Grand Masters from around the country. The workshop was planned for the 15th of August originally, so we were some months behind due to COVID. In my working life and Freemasonry I have attended many workshops, some worthwhile and some not so worthwile, but there was something different about this workshop, it had a good positive vibe which pulled you along, from the guest Carolyn Young, former CEO of Netball Central Zone, to the proffesionals among us and the invaluable staff from National Office. I can't wait for the roadshows to kick in, early next year.
As time goes by you will be able to learn a lot more about the workings of the weekend, and what it means to us as Masons, the goals and outcomes for at least the next five years and beyond. I like the thought that New Zealand Freemasons should work together to achieve goals, and now really is the time to speak out, stand up and be counted, especially in our own communities. There is so much more Lodges could be doing, some are already making paths into their communities, with some amazing good deeds and charitable acts, but some need to ask beyond giving benevolence, what else can we do that is noticeable and practicable. We join Lodges for a variety of reasons and we get different things out of Freemasonry, but I am asking all Freemasons in our district to become more engaged in your Lodges, we are all one team and by working together we can achieve great things, we have members right now who don’t attend Lodge regularly, who feel disconnected in some way and want to do more, this was apparent from the recent survey results from National Office. We also have an amazing array of talent, movers and shakers and potential movers and shakers, who want to be openly involved, please keep them motivated.
As summer approaches some of our Lodge buildings need some tender loving care, they reflect our organisation to the public, so time for master’s to get those working bees sorted and have a spruce up. I recently went to the Installation at the United Manawatu Lodge 1721 EC, and the new Master W Bro. Henderson spoke of his personal goal of always making a good first impression, this struck an accord with me and I would ask Lodges, what impression they give new candidates with their buildings, ceremonies and refectories?
There is an opening on the ‘Board of General Purposes’ for a skilled and expert brother who has knowledge of Freemasonry combined with commercial experience in governance, and ability to monitor performance, analyse outcomes, and contribute to development in a strategic sense. The role of the Divisional Appointee is to serve all brethren by adding geographical depth to the Board. The Appointment is for a maximum of six years, although reappointed annually. The position holds no special rank, and only requires the holder to apply good business and practical skills to common problems as well as the forward planning required for good Governance. It is a very rewarding appointment, with the opportunity to be at the coal-face of Freemasonry, charged with making decisions that will affect each and every one of us. Lodges and brethren are now invited to consider nominating a brother or brethren within your community who may fill the Position Description enclosed, and so be suitable candidates for appointment to the Board. You can obtain the documentation from your Lodge Secretary if you haven’t received it from National Office.
TE AWAHOU LODGE INSTALLATION TUES 13TH, FOXTON
Next Tuesday evening we have an Installation meeting in Foxton with Te Awahou Lodge, If you haven’t been to an installation for some time it would be good to see you there.
I hear that our Divisional Grand Master will be attending also, so come and meet RW Bro. Pratt
ELEMENTS OF THE TEST QUESTIONS OF THE FIRST DEGREE
Manawatu Kilwinning are hosting an information evening conducted by our District Education Officer. Please, please, please bring your Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons along in support. If you are wanting dinner at 6 pm. Please let the Secretary of the Lodge know, I believe the meal is excellent and the company equally as good. There is a fee for dinner of a mere $20, let him know by Tuesday evening please. This is also a Grand Lodge Visit so I would be personally pleased to see you all there to have a catch up.
October’s Meetings Quick Update:
10th Oct – Te Awahou No. 133 – Potluck Lunch & Charity presentation
13th Oct – Otaihape 142 – Attending Te Awahou Installation
13th Oct -Te Awahou Lodge No. 133 - Installation of W Bro. Lynsey Vining, Foxton
14th Oct – Manawatu Kilwinning No. 47 – Education Evening presented by our District Education Officer (GL invite) Ideal for new members.
20th Oct – United Wanganui Lodge No. 468 - Initiation of Mr. Elgar
21st October – Petre Lodge No. 457 – 50 Year Presentation and Lodge dedication Video
21st Oct - Rongotea Lodge No. 146 – Installation of W Bro. Mark Kitchin
22nd Oct – Lodge Pa Ka Ma No. 319 – Tracing Boards of the 1st and 2nd Degrees
27th Oct - Lodge Otangaki No. 70 – 2nd Degree
28th Oct – St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No.79 – 3rd Degree
Image: The Team at the Distrct Grand Master Forum
Updated 8 October 2020
1721 & God Save the Queen
Last evening, I attended the installation of an exceptionally fine man, W Bro. Henderson who was installed as the Master of the United Manawatu Lodge No. 1721 English Constitution. ‘Gorgeous George’ as his fellow Masons call him is one of life’s really nice guys, humble and resigned with a real love of Freemasonry, and I have personally watched George grow in confidence from the time he was initiated. Last night was particularly pleasing as I was there to not only represent the sister constitution of New Zealand, but equally important to support W Bro. Henderson. It was also good to catch up with a few of my 'Ex English Lodge Brethren who I hadn't seen for some time due to COVID.
I gave several charges that evening, the Address to the Brethren and a small but important segment in the board of Installed Masters which the English Constitution does not perform yet we Kiwi’s do. In the Address to the Brethren it talks about having one aim in view, to please each other and to united in the Grand Design of being happy, my reply to the ‘Sister Constitutions toast’ hopefully reflected that sentiment.
Someone queried me last night as to why I am not an English Mason as my Mother Lodge is in the UK and I am so obviously of English birth, for me this phase says it all , "If you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner, if you should be elsewhere, live as they do here"
In the Master's reply W Bro. Henderson spoke about his wanting to always create a good first impression, his attitude of wanting to be the very best he could be in every Lodge officer role, through practice and hard work, and his aim of always looking smart and well groomed. This is certainly something for every new and existing Freemason to try and emulate.
Congratulations George, may you long continue to have many happy and fulfilling days within Freemasonry, and we look forward to watching your Masonic career blossom.
Image: W Bro. George Henderson Master of the United Manawatu Lodge No. 1721. Reflects at his installation Banquet.
Updated 23 September 2020
Level One and Beyond
Jo and I greet you all well
Hopefully, you remembered to put your clocks forward this morning?
It has been a little while since I wrote on my comments page, my vocation as a company director has kept me exceptionally busy, the amount of contract work to price and organise has been non-relenting for weeks, especially as there just aren’t enough electrical workers to go round. Such is the nature of my contracting work.
Well here we are back at Level 1 at long last, and I hope it continues indefinitely. This means we can once again get back into our Freemasonry fully, I for one certainly need to start getting used to not being home some evenings to break the habit. I suspect some of you are feeling the same as it is hard to drag yourself out on a cold evening to a Lodge meeting or rehearsal. But it will get easier as the lighter evenings approach.
The big news is the Divisional Conference which will be held in our district on the 1st May 2021. The conference centre in Palmerston North has been booked and we will be working on the content in due course. It is my aim over the next seven months to try and encourage as many of you to attend this conference, it is for every Freemason regardless. I booked the venue for an ambitious two hundred, and I would be happy to see us exceed that.
We have a noticeable resurgence in the interest shown about the craft from a few sources which is encouraging, and we are initiating some very keen and outstanding members, I have asked every new Mason personally to challenge their Lodge to keep them fully engaged, to be involved in the work of the Lodge and to be more visible working in the community. There is a lot of work to be done by every Lodge to have a clear vision about how they are going to move ahead. Every Lodge should by now have a plan and be working to that plan.
For those that run social media pages for Lodges please think before you post, does this article speak for every Lodge member of the craft in general or does it say more about your likes and dislikes? We should be forever mindful that prospective Masons visit our pages, I also check theirs to see if they are suited to Freemasonry, believe me, some are not, and first impressions matter. I am all for free speech but not when it gives the wrong impression of all Freemasons.
The members of St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge in Whanganui are developing a new challenge for Freemasons with their ‘Borrow a Brother’ scheme. I will be contacting all Lodges in the near future in the hope we can promote this scheme and do more for the elderly around the district, which is extending our visibility and good deeds in the community. Well done St. Andrew Kilwinning.
I also see Manawatu Kilwinning doing some sterling work in the community via the Digits Trust, well done.
We have a busy program for October and the Lodges should be updating the National Calendar, so everyone knows exactly what is going on., Jo has updated this month those Lodges that we can, if you have a meeting and have not contacted her it will be registered as To Be Arranged in the meeting details.
Events in October: (**Donates Lodge meetings I will be attending)
Please check the National Calendar for more information, or contact the Lodge prior to the event.
Jo and I are off to Wellington this coming weekend for the District Grand Master's Workshop, it will be an interesting weekend and I hope to bring you more information on that weekend. I am really excited about being part of the journey to try and make Freemasonry an attractive prospect for the future. I will report more after the weekend.
Updated 22 September 2020
Lodge Donation to Digits Charitable Trust
The Digits Trust, based in the Manawatu, has the mission to break down access barriers to the internet and devices by supplying families with a device and internet connection for the lowest weekly price, plus providing support for safe device use ensuring a child is looked after while online. It provides Chrome Books to families who are unable to meet the cost of buying a laptop for their children to use in their education.
The Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No 47 has contributed $3,000 to the Trust which has allowed the Digits Trust to purchase twenty Chrome Books. The donation includes money from the Manawatu Kilwinning Charitable Trust and The Freemasons Charity.
The Digits Trust and their volunteers met on 23rd September to hand out the devices to the selected families and provide the initial training. The latest meeting brings the Digits Trust total purchases to over 400 and the 20 Chrome Books purchased with this donation is one full month’s target for their Trust.
The Chrome Books are loaned to families with Intermediate School-age children and they pay a modest fee to have them. There was a distinct sense of excitement as the families started to arrive throughout the afternoon to receive the Chrome Book and be shown how to use it. Lodge members were told it makes a considerable difference to their learning and lives. They will no longer feel uncomfortable or inferior among their friends who have their own computer devices.
The Digits Trust are very grateful for our contribution and it is the charity at its best, benefiting those who receive and those who give. In this unique case, both the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge and the Digits Trust are giving, while the Digits Trust is also receiving.
Images: The photos show Pat (Digits Trust Chair), Bronwyn (operations), WBro Mike Kendrick Div GAlm in his final engagement as he hands over this role, and Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge Brethren. The young girl is receiving training on how to use the device from one of the Trust volunteers.
Updated 18 September 2020
Rural Lodge Gains New Mason
Lodge Rangitikei No. 38 has often proclaimed it is the ‘Lodge that Leads’ this was following the successful amalgamation of the Ruapehu Lodge no. 128 & Rangitikei No. 38. My thoughts are simply if you are going to talk the talk, then walk the walk! Well tonight Lodge Rangitikei did walk the walk! Apart from a few rarely prompted words the ceremony of the 1st degree was carried out with dignity and decorum.
Bro. Far was initiated into Freemasonry last evening after a long wait due to COVID 19, and 21 Freemasons attended to bear witness to the event. There is something about the beautiful Marton based Lodge room that impresses new members and visitors, whether it is the high plastered Victorian ceiling with it's LED lighting, wooden panelling, or the marble honours tablets lining the walls, listing every Master since 1880, it echoes Freemasonry.
I would like to personally welcome Brother Far to the Craft, on behalf of the Brethren of the Ruapehu District No. 15, I hope you challenge your new Mother Lodge to assist you to develope your knowledge of Freemasonry, challenge your Lodge to become part of the team and most importantly challenge your Lodge to be involved and seen within the local community.
Update 17 September 2020
Collaboration Works for New Master Mason
It would be Naïve of me to deny some Lodges would struggle to stage an exemplary degree working due to various factors beyond their control. That is why I am personally in favour of Lodges Collaborating to give a Candidate or Brother an experience they will never forget, and for all the right reasons. As far as I am concerned the Lodges in this district are one team, with one goal and one vision, the age of going it alone is old hat, in some cases. If we are to make degree workings stimulating then we need to look outside the square and use the resources around us. It only takes one experienced Brother to depart and they take that charge with them and no one is there to replace him. It is important to identify your weak spots and make sure the gaps are filled somehow.
A collaboration between Rongotea Lodge and Lodge Rangitikei was always on the cards as there is a deep rural tie between these two Lodges, and the brother being raised to Master Mason benefitted greatly from that alliance. Bro Harris, a Fellow Craft from Rongotea Lodge was made a Master Mason by both Lodges working in harmony and sharing the work equally. Hopefully, the ceremony would have left such a good impression on Bro. Harris’s mind he will remember it for many years to come.
I wanted to be present for Bro. Harris’s third degree as he had been very patient, waiting a long time due to COVID 19 before being invested with the badge of a Master Mason. Bro Harris was instrumental in assisting the raising of charity funds at two functions and has already shown himself to be a worthy Mason.
Rongotea has promising talent both in joining members and members already in their ranks, and I am sure they will continue to grow not only in membership but also in experience, they have prospects for the years ahead, and it is pleasing to see.
Image above : Worshipful Master Kitchin and Bro. Harris of Rongotea Lodge
Updated 14 September 2020
Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarship
I am pleased that the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No. 47 in conjunction with Master Builders and Universal College of Learning (UCOL), are once again offering scholarships for further study to qualified trades people in the construction industry. The aim of the scholarship is to assist those aspiring to broaden their career and become involved in the wider construction industry in the Manawatu and Whanganui regions.
The successful applicant will receive a contribution of towards their fees to study one of the following Level 6 Diploma programmes at UCOL: •
The awards presentation ceremony is on 12 November 2020 , at 6.30 pm, The Atrium in the Trades Centre at UCOL, 19 Princess Street, Palmerston North.
You will need to RSVP the Secretary of No .47 if you are attending before 30 October
Updated 9 September 2020
New Brother for Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge
I was very privileged to join with thirty-two other Freemasons to be present for the initiation of Sir Benjamin James Fraser. Brother Fraser was one of the unfortunate candidates that had their ceremonies postponed due to COVID 19. In fact, Bro. Fraser was just hours away from being initiated when the second Lodge closures happened, and I for one was incredibly grateful to our Most Worshipful Grand Master for contacting the candidate to apologise, and as both are familiar with the Fire Service it was gratefully received. The Lodge must be congratulated for a particularly good degree working this evening and Bro. Fraser must be congratulated for the way he conducted himself throughout the ceremony. I don’t usually point out Masons for praise, but I was impressed by the Junior Deacon, a young Scots Master Mason who did very well. At the end of the ceremony I had the pleasure of congratulating Bro. Fraser and asked him to challenge his new Mother Lodge, to help him flourish as a Mason, challenge the Lodge to work in the community with their charity and challenge the Lodge to help keep him active and interested.
I would also like to thank a certain Fellow Craft for accompanying me on the drive there and back, it is alway good to see EA's and Fellowcrafts at these initiations.
Image above: JD, Bro Fraser, WM & SD
Image above: Myself, Bro. Fraser and our Dist GDC,
Image below: Behind the scenes, the photo the Dist GDC didn't want you to see, photographic trickery to make us look as tall as our new Brother.
Update 29 August 2020
Spring May have Finally Sprung!
I’ve noticed the daffodils starting to bloom; a good sign of spring is finally on its way for the next three months. Despite all like the daffodils I am hopeful and looking forward to better times especially where Freemasonry in involved, the Most Worshipful Grand Master is allowing Lodges to open their doors under Level 2 in September, this is of course dependant on those Lodges feeling safe to do so and having approved COVID plans in place. In the last couple of weeks, I have stayed connected with the Master’s and Secretaries via email and video conferencing to find out their feelings and to emphasis the requirements that Level 2 demands. Some Lodge have chosen to open, whilst others have not, and every Lodge has my full support during this unusual time of unrest.
My main concern was the installation meetings at, Te Awahou, Rongotea and United Wanganui. Following a risk assessment with the Master’s and Master Elect they have nominated to do the following:
So, to summarise, there will be NO installations in September, and I am personally comfortable with that. Hopefully and God willing we will have two installations in October and one in November, COVID dependant!
Please continue to check the ‘National Workings Calendar’ all thirteen Lodges have posted their September workings, or closure dependant on the circumstance. I would ask you to support all Lodges, but especially those with workings next month.
The Freemasons Charity Conference
Today I attended the Charity Conference ay Fitzherbert Complex, which was hosted by the Freemasons Charity. Now, by my own admittance I never realised the full extent of the work the Charity does on our behalf, and I was pleased to learn of the outstanding work being done behind the scenes by Shelley Newson, Charity Administrator and the team.
In this district we have been blessed with a District Charity Office who has done a sterling job helping out many deserving cases and I would like to personally thank W Bro. Lockyer PGD & QSM for his past efforts in this position. John has handed over the reins to W Bro. Craig Ancell, who is currently the Master of St. Andrew Kilwinng No. 79 Lodge in Whanganui. Craig and I have much in common , as we are both not afraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty for the benefit of others in our community. This is the attitude that I like and would have more Brethren follow suit.
I also wish to see a Charity ‘go to’ person for each of our Lodges, whether that is a Brother or his wife or partner. The duties are not the same as the Lodge Almoner and one must not get confused. The Charity Officer would be responsible for working with the District Charity officer, look for opportunities in the community where more could be done etc.
I would ask Lodge Masters to consider educating their Brethren on the Freemasons Charity, by asking W Bro. Ancell along to Lodge meetings to give a brief talk.
I would like to take this oppotunity to thank VW Bro. Mike Kendrick Div GAlm, who will be ending his role in November, for the outstanding effort he has made on behalf of the Freemasons Charity.
Updated 18 August 2020
a iawn Frodyr (Well Done Brothers)
The Ruapehu District Facebook page receives many comments and messages concerning Freemasonry, some good and sometimes not so good!
But one of the good messages we received was from Bro. Alwyn Evans who was a member of the Old Monktonian’s Lodge in Cardiff, Wales. Alwyn has a cousin, Ms Ceinwen Welsh living in Fordell, Whanganui who was not fairing too well due to having a stroke and she needed some work doing to her section. She had been a midwife in Whanganui for many years and Alwyn was concerned that without help she would struggle greatly. The Dist GM contacted W Bro. Craig Ancell, the Master of the St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No. 78 and District Charity Officer, who immediately sprang into action, and visited the lady in question, and during lockdown procured essential shopping items for her on a regular basis.
On a bright cloudless winter’s day recently a group of nine Masons from Wanganui Lodges arrived at the property armed with all manner of tools to clear the section and do much-needed repairs. W Bro. Ancell, W Bro Tasker, W Bro Brooks, W Bro Edwards, W bro Sills, Bro Brougham, Bro. Sweeny and our very own Welshman W Bro Lewis from the St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge and the United Wanganui Lodge worked tirelessly in carrying out a makeover of the section, and we believe the humour among the work party was second to none!
Ceinwen or as she likes to be called ‘Cyd’ was delighted with the work and we have the pleasure in reporting back to Bro. Evans in Cardiff that his cousin is now much happier, and that Freemasonry has no borders.
As District Grand Master I would like to thank these fine Freemasons for a job well done and for showing the way we should always conduct ourselves as Masons, and to be honest some off the happiest times I have known in Freemasonry is when Masons work together in harmony on a task, we need to do it more.
Updated 16 August 2020
W Bro. Ian Smith PGBB RH
I am sorry to report the peaceful passing of W Bro. Smith PGBB RH to the Grand Lodge above. Ian’s funeral service will be on Saturday 22 August, 11.30am, Cottons, Feilding.
Our deepest sympathies go to Ian’s family and close friends at this time.
Ruapehu Reporter, end of an era.
The Ruapehu Reporter has for many years been the ‘go to’ publication to see what lodge events were on within our district, I certainly acknowledge that it was extremely valuable to me when I was a Warden and Master of Lodge Rangitikei, apart from telling me what was on , I could read the District Grand Master’s comments every month.
Unfortunately the Research Lodge of Ruapehu No. 444 has decided to cease publication. I would like to personally acknowledge RW Bro. Colin Johnson P Prov GM for the outstanding work he did in getting the Reported out every month, I also would like to thanks all those involved with its distribution.
The National Workings Calendar and the District Grand Master’s comments pages on this web site will pick up where the Reporter left off.
Updated 10 August 2020
Charity Dinner is a Huge Success
Jo and I have just returned from the charity diner, held at Rendezvous Restaurant, Summerhill, Palmerston North. A total of ninety-three Masons, wives, partners and family attended, and the place was buzzing. We would like to thank the owner Glen, General Manager Bro. Dean Harris, and the staff at the restaurant for giving up their precious evening off to further our charity. We had a delicious meal which was provided by the restaurant free of charge, so all the ticket sales went straight into our district charity account.
We would also like to acknowledge Beverley from Butterfly Healing in Feilding for the Hot Rock Massage offered as a fund raiser, Rendezvous for the dinning voucher and my own company Alf Downs Street Lighting Ltd for the $200 online butcher prize, we hope the lucky winners enjoy their gifts.
Within four hours we managed to raise a staggering $2735.00 from donations. Thank you also to all of you that attended you made it a success and showed amazing support for the district. I have gone slightly against traditional thinking this year and not chosen one charitable cause, rather opting to support each community where our Lodges are situated. The first event has allowed us to allocate each community with $400 each so far, and that is an excellent start. There will be five more events planned over the year with an aim to raise as much as we can, at the end of it you will have a say in where the help goes, and with the support of all our Lodges, the Freemasons Charity and the district fund we will make our mark in the community, where Freemasons live and new members come from. So, Brethren I am asking you to become involved, to challenge yourselves, to give your support, and participate, these fundraises are for all our fraternity, family, and friends to attend, goodness dare I say it you might actually enjoy it! With total support and commitment from, Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, Master Masons, and Past Masters we can do this.
“One Vision, One Goal, One Team”
The Speculative Guild of Ladies, Hamilton Gardens Tour. (TBA)
The Speculative Guild of Ladies are arranging a weekend coach tour to visit the world class Hamilton Gardens early next year, this will be open to Freemasons, Wives, partners and family. JoJo and I have been regular visitors to the gardens for many years, and we would like to share our love for the gardens with you. If you have never been to see the gardens you are in for a treat as they are a wonderful sight to see. The Freemasons Foundation have sponsored many aspects of the gardens and recently were the main sponsors of the Picturesque Garden, which is based on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Masonic symbols can be seen throughout.
Rather than focusing on plant collections, at Hamilton Gardens the emphasis is on different types of garden design. Traditional botanic gardens concentrate on plant collections, conservation, research and education, while Hamilton Gardens has the unique concept of showcasing the cultural meaning and context of gardens over the past 4,000 years.
Throughout history, gardens have been a way of expressing the important philosophical ideas of their time. In some respects, the story of gardens reflects the story of civilisation and attitudes to the natural world.
The collections of gardens at Hamilton Gardens explore the history, context and meaning of gardens. Each tells a story and offers an insight into a different civilisation.
Details of the tour will be coming just after Christmas, but we would like to get a feel if this would be supported, so let us know how you feel about joining the tour
Above image: The Picturesque Garden, based on The Magic Flute
Our favourite the Mansfield Garden represents the early 20th century New Zealand garden described in Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’.
District Charity Project
As you know Jo and I are hosting a District Charity Dinner at Rendezvous Restaurant, Summerhill, Palmerston North, on Monday evening for Freemasons, their wives, partners and family. So far, we have had ninety-three RSVP for the event, which is a tremendous amount of support in so few weeks, and there is still time to reach 100!
The money raised on the evening which should be in the region of $2,500, will be kept in safe keeping in a Lodge Benevolence account, and I will make regular reports on the finances to our members. We plan to hold six events of various kinds in the coming months, this being the first, all leading to a 'Ladies evening' at the end, with an aim of raising at in excess of $10,000 in total from the events, to go towards helping to help fund community charitable projects in each of our six areas.
I realise this is going against tradition where a project has already been chosen before the donations are raised, but already you have shown by numbers your willingness and spirit to support the idea of sharing the fund, rather than supporting one community or one charity, and I am confident we will meet our target, and be able to extend our Masonic good deeds into our local communities.
If you are coming on Monday evening please bring cash with you which will be collected at the bar for your meal, drinks can be purchased over the bar during the evening. We hope to have a pleasant social evening and I thank all those who are making it possible, also the Lodges that have rearranged their practice night so they can support us, thank you. A special thanks to Bro Dean Harris and his staff.
Where have all the Master Masons Gone?
Is it Australian Big Brother and Master Chef being back on TV in the evenings which is hindering the return of Master Masons to Lodge, maybe it's the cold weather or dark evenings, maybe like me that suit that lain in the wardrobe over the Lockdown just doesn't fit anymore, worst still had they been abducted by aliens? Whatever the reason since returning from COVID 19 downtime, It would appear we have a lack of Master Masons attending key events in our district and there must be a reasonsible explanation.
Being of a curious nature I asked Barbara at Head Office if she could send me an up to date list of all the Master Masons attached to a Lodge in the Ruapehu District. Upon receipt I filtered the spreadsheet and found we had 141 Master Masons registered as belonging to Ruapehu Lodges. Only twenty of these live more than an hour drive away from the district. So, we have 121 Master Masons who are in our area! If I take off the regular Master Masons I see and know about that would leave approximately 80 unaccounted for, therefore my question is:
“Where have all our Master Masons gone?”
The lack of Master Masons at installations and initiations is noticeable and concerning, I actually think our Grand Lodge Officers at installations are proffesional and worth watching, we are also a friendly bunch who have no aspirations of grandure, simply apart from a Grand title we are one of the boys!
So I would ask every Lodge officer and member to start to contact your missing Masons and put out the hand of friendship, sometimes all it takes is a free cup of coffee and a friendly chat to make a brother feel wanted and supported to be able to enter a Lodge room again……………… I am counting on our Master Masons to make this district great, to feel they are part of something special and most of all enjoy their masonry as many men have done for hundreds of years!
I know, I was that missing Mason from 1995 to 2001 – and I am ever grateful to WBro. Downs for taking me back to a Lodge.
Lodge Rangitane No.369 Installation
This young fellar is the WBro. Maru RH, a Reverend of the Rātana church and Freemason, who at the tender age of 87 has stepped in as the new Master of Lodge Rangitane. Mick has been a Master seven times before so he brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the position. I had great pleasure in placing WBro. Maru into the chair for his eight time of Mastership last evening. Mick is an unassuming character, who has for many years aided his community without fanfare or sometimes recognition, he shows the true nature of Freemasonry by his good deeds, caring nature and gentleness.
You have to ask yourself why a man in his later years would want to step into any office in Lodge, let alone the Master's position. There is no denying Mick can do the job, he is more than familiar with the principles of Masonry and the laws of our institution, and he is no stranger to hard work, but surely in our masonic career there comes a time for sitting back and watching the world go by and letting those younger than ourselves to do the work?
But I am talking about our Mick Maru a man that openly cares about his Lodge and its survival in today’s busy modern arena, where Freemasonry sometimes struggles to keep pace with membership. Mick still wants his Lodge to be the very best it can be and is prepared to roll his sleeves up and try to achieve it and for that I admire him, and with the full support of his own Brethren I would dare say that he may well just do it!
Like a few others Lodge Rangitane has suffered from membership competition with seven Lodges and other multiple service groups competing for a limited population, is a daunting prospect, for which there is no silver bullet, all we can do is strive to do the best we can as individuals and as Lodges, carry out our ceremonies with dignity and decorum, keep our meetings fresh and interesting, and be seen working for good in our communities.
“Kai pai to Tau i tētahi atu”
Image: WBro Ngaro Maru RH
Last evening, I had the pleasure to be the Installing Master at The Research Lodge of Ruapehu No. 444, based in Palmerston North. The new Master VWBro. Rod Johnson PGLec was placed into the chair of King Solomon according to antient customer. Rod was initiated into Freemasonry at Ngatiawa-Russell Lodge No. 345 in October 1989 and has been a Lodge Master three times, he is currently a member of The United Lodge of Wanganui No. 468 and The Petre Lodge No. 457, as well as many side orders. The evening went well with good support from Grand Lodge, five installed Masters and visitors from other Lodges. A few more Master Masons would have been nice, to accompany their Lodge Master and representatives, and hopefully we can encourage our MM's to participate more in the future.
The Lodge installation was unfortunately delayed from being held in April by the COVID 19 lockdown, so my thanks go out to WBro. Northcott RH, now IPM, for holding the reins as Master until we could finally conduct the ceremony.
I am very grateful to the support of the Ruapehu Grand Lodge, it is heart-warming to see so many gather to accompany me in this journey as District Grand Master. A particular thanks to VWBro. Morgan Grand Lecturer for attending, the five Past Grand Lecturers that took part in the working, the other Past Grand Lecturers that attended, and all those that rose to the occasion.
I believe there is an important place for a Research Lodge in our district as it is a particular type of Masonic Lodge which assists in our greater understanding of the world of Freemasonry and the various facets. I would encourage any Mason, especially newer members to join.
Above Image: VWBro. Johnson PGLec & Master of The Reseach Lodge of Ruapehu
WBro. Northcott RH was initiated into Lodge Otangaki No. 70, Ashhurst in 1960, aged 27. Since then he has been Master three times in his Mother Lodge, and for the last two consecutive years Master of The Research Lodge of Ruapehu, an amazing feat for a Brother eighty-seven years young.
In 2008 he received the Masonic Roll of Honour. It is also worth noted he had been Lodge Secretary, Treasurer and Almoner. When Brian Joined Otangaki they had a membership count of over two hundred Masons, an unimaginable figure for many of us these days, and that must have been daunting for a young Mason.
Any man to achieve sixty years continuous service in Freemasonry is achievement enough, but to achieve 60 years of being an active, dedicated, and key Lodge member is an outstanding achievement, and certainly something for many newer young Freemasons to aspire to.
Well done Worship Brother, it was a pleasure to bare witness to you receiving your 60-year Bar and certificate last evening.
I also had the pleasure of presenting Master Mason certificates to two of Lodge Otangaki Brethren in Open Lodge, one of the pleasures I most enjoy as District Grand Master. Congratulations Bro. Huibers and Bro. Graham on your presentation, being a Freemason is something incredibly special and unique in this busy world of today, being an active member and pulling together in support of your Mother Lodge is the goal we all should aspire to.
August Key Events
Tuesday the 28th July we have a 60-year presentation at Otangaki in Ashhurst on Tuesday the 28th for WBro. Northcott RH. Please come and join with me in congratulating Brian for his long service, he joins a special club.
In August I invite all Freemasons, especially our Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons to attend the following meetings, for times etc visit the Divisional Calendar.
Charity Dinner & Social
So far, we have 72 attending. This is open to ALL Freemasons, Master Masons, Fellowcrafts, Entered Apprentices, Past Masters, Grand Lodge and their families, friends.
New to Freemasonry come and spend a couple of hours with us.
One of the mainstays of Freemasonry is Charity and supporting Charities, I would like to invite you, your wife or partner and family along to get involved with raising money for worthy causes in your local communities.
WHEN -Monday 10th August 2020
WHERE - Rendezvous Restaurant, Summerhill, Palmerston North.
TIME - Be there for 6 PM – Eat 7 PM
COST – $25 per person (all goes to district charity fund)
REFRESHMENTS - Licenced Bar
YOU COULD BE A WINNER -$200 online meat voucher up for grabs
RSVP as before Friday the 7th August. Distgm.firstname.lastname@example.org
You would have received a survey via email concerning Freemasonry. I would encourage EVERY Freemason in my district to take a few minutes to fill this form out. I do not want you to sugar coat anything, answer all questions honestly as to how you see things. I/We need to understand our membership to steer the ship through the next generation.
I have been invited to join with the other District Grand Masters in August to discuss where we are heading with freemasonry, so I presume the survey results will play a big part, so please don’t dismiss them as ‘just another survey’.
Let’s Start to Get Real
Would you go and watch a bad play repeatedly? I bet the answer is no, neither would I. The human brain needs to be stimulated or soon boredom sets in, and that is where we switch off and loose interest. Men join Freemasonry to be stimulated and to be part of something special, yet time and time again I see enthusiastic good decent men disappear from Lodge after they have been raised, and in many cases even before that, and we blame it on them not being in tune with Freemasonry or that they lead such busy lives these days!
If we were to get real, we would soon discover boredom plays a huge factor in our ability to maintain backsides on seats, not everyone has developed the love for Freemasonry nor understands the deeper meaning and is prepared to be bored. I know I have been that person who gave up Freemasonry because I simply was bored with the continuous repetitiveness.
I personally like to participate in Lodge rehearsals, for me that is when the business gets real and as a new Mason I soon realised being a regular at rehearsals gave me the confidence to do charges, even though I still suffered badly from stage fright! Rehearsals also gave me a chance to learn from the more experienced Brethren and I started to know what I was doing and what is more enjoying doing it. In later days I had a buddy system with an older member who’s teaching was priceless and I will be forever grateful.
I think it is time to ask, is your Lodge a good play or a bad play? Do you motivate your team and more importantly your members?
In the UK my Mother Lodge was a dinning Lodge, and we didn’t mind having a meal as long as it was value for money, we also had a games room where we gathered after the meal to play darts and pool, which build amazing comradery. I am not asking Lodges to do the same, I am simply asking Lodges to look at what they do and ask is it stimulating for your membership, new and experienced.
So let’s get real ……
A Day of Mixed Emotions
Today has I have had mixed emotions, in the morning we said goodbye to WBro. Frank Vandenberg, Past Grand Standard Bearer, at his funeral service in Palmerston North. Personally, Jo and I have never witnessed so many Freemasons attend another Brother’s service, and it was heart-warming to see so many familiar faces, comforting to know Frank had lived respected and died regretted.
In the evening I official attended Lodge Pa-Ka-Ma No. 319 installation meeting, to witness WBro. Cameron go back into the chair for his second year. Gordon and I were masters of different Lodges in 2008 and we had formed a friendly bond by visiting together around the district. The ceremony was a delight, being carried out by Pa-Ka-Ma Brethren, and it was very professional from start to finish.
WBro.Cameron was initiated in 1999 at Lodge Awatea No.258 . He was Master of that Lodge twice and now is in his second year as a Master of Pa-Ka-Ma. I am pleased that the Lodge is is good heart due to the efforts of the Master and his Brethren, and it is always good to see Master Masons being actively involved.
Congratulations Gordon, under your guidance the Lodge will continue to grow and be one of our jewels in the Ruapehu Crown.
Image WBro. Gordon Cameron
Open to Freemasons, wives, partners, family and friends.
As Freemasons we practice virtue and charity, to aid this we are holding a pop up charity dinner to raise much needed funds to go towards supporting causes in each of our local communities . Over the next six months we will be holding several key events to bolster the fund with the aim of offering a helping hand to support as many local community charities and projects as we can throughout next year, as nominated by you!
Venue: Rendezvous Restuarant 194 Ruapehu Drive, Summerhill, Palmerston North.
Monday 10th August 2020
Time : 6pm (dinner served at 7pm)
Pay on the night, $25 per person (money goes into charity fund)
St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No.79
Last evening, I was invited with Grand Lodge to attend the installation of Bro. Craig Ancell into the chair of The ST Andrews Kilwinning Lodge No.79. The Lodge is situated in Whanganui and is one of the oldest Lodges in our district. The Lodge was originally a Scots constitution Lodge and after joining the New Zealand Grand Lodge in 1890, retained a lot of the Scots customs and flavour.
WBro. Craig Ancell certainly has the drive and passion for Freemasonry and his Lodge, which is an essential qualification for success and management of the work. Craig is also the Almoner of the Lodge and the District Charity Officer, so he will be busy indeed, but he hasn’t allowed the moss to gather as he is already visiting Pa Ka Ma Lodge tomorrow.
The evening went very well with WBro. Brooks as installing Master, which was a delight to witness. The refectory was a mix of speeches, good wholesome food, the piping in of the Haggis, whisky fudge, shortbread and Mcintosh toffees!
In in all a great night with great company.
Image above: WBro. Ancell , WM St.Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No.79
Image: WBRo. Tagoai GS, WBro. Pennell DistGDC, WBro. Ancell, VWBro. Williamson DistGM, WBro. Baggott GS
Sad Loss To Freemasonry
It is with great sadness I have to report the passing to the Grand Lodge above of WBro. Frank Martinus Joseph Vandenberg, Past Grand Standard Bearer and Master of the Rangitane Lodge. Frank had a active career in Freemasonry spanning fifty four years, he was a respected man and brother who will be sadly missed by all. At this time I am sure you will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Emma and Frank’s family. The funeral service will be held on Thursday the 23rd at 1pm, The Terrace Haven Chapel, 697 Main Street, Palmerston North.
Rongotea Lodge New Mason
One of the great joys of being a District Grand Master is attending 1st degree ceremonies and being able to congratulate the new Brother at the end of his initiation.
On the 15th July I attended Rongotea Lodge No. 146 to witness Mr. Cody become Brother Cody. The ceremony went well which was very pleasing for both onlookers and candidate, and I must commend the Master Masons that had charges to do, I was particularly impressed with the working tools and the Charge in the North East. The chair was taken by RWBro. Wagener PGW, whose vast experience in carrying out the 1st degree working, made it all seem so professional and simple. The late substitution of VWBro. Kendrick DivGAlm, as Junior Deacon also added another professional touch to the evening.
I think it worthy to thank WBro. Lowen RH for his membership of Rongotea Lodge, this was his last night as a member and I am sure his experience will be sorely missed.
Last evening was proved what can be done when Lodges work together and make use of the experienced Brethren we have in the district to create a really good experience for our new Brethren.
Image: left to Right: WBro.Pennell DistGDC, RWBro. Wagener PGW, Bro. Cody, WBro. Kitchen (WM), VWBro. Williamson. VWBro. Kendrick DivGAlm.
Lodge Wharite Installation No.451
Today I had the pleasure of being the Installing Master for Lodge Wharite No. 451. Jo and I accompanied each other from Marton to Palmerston North to be present for WBro. Keith Greenwood to be installed into the chair.
Lodge Wharite is one of two Ruapehu District 'Daylight' Lodges and this Lodge meets for now at the Fitzherbert Masonic Centre, Palmerston North. I say for now as they will be moving into the new Palmerston NZ Constitution, Masonic Complex when it is completed.
Keith would agree that the Lodge is struggling for new members these days, but Lodges like Wharite serve a vital role and provide a much needed masonic haven for those Brethren that would prefer to attend in the day.
Keith has been a great supporter of Lodges in the district and being a young man of 69 continues to support his Lodge and others. For me the day was a perfect introduction back into installations following lockdown, I was well supported by my Grand Lodge Officers, who incidentally were incredibly professional as always, to steal the words of the Master of Lodge Rangitikei, "I am standing on the shoulders of giants"
Incidentally the Lodge was named after Wharite Peak is a mountain at the southern end of the Ruahine Range, 9 km north of Woodville in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand. The mountain was home to the main television transmitter for the city of Palmerston North and the wider Manawatu region before the digital era.
Social Media Leads to Visit
Last Saturday I accompained WBro. Jack Dryden to Lower Hutt, so we could attend The Stokes Valley Lodge installation meeting. So we jumped in the Purple Petrol Eater and took a nice cruise to see WBro.John Woodall installed into the Chair by VWBro. Robinson DistGM of the Hutt Wairarapa District.
The Grand Master and Divisional Grand Master were in attendance. The Master of Lodge Rangitikei was also present and delivered the 1st dregree working tools charge. Jack and I really enjoyed bonding on our journey and as a 94 year old he has a lot of Masonic memories which I was pleased to listen to.
It was interesting to see the differences between the ceremonials of District 21 and our 15, and to be able to promote our district by supporting a fellow District Grand Master. I'd like to see more inter district visiting over next year and a breaking down of district borders as we know them, after all we are all one big fraternity in the end.
I actually met the new Master via Facebook some time ago, we became Facebook friends and from that the bond was formed. It was good to finally meet John and i wish him the very best during his mastership.
Image curtisy of WBro. Puki
Jo and I wish you, your wives and partners the very best.
No one could have predicted COVID 19 coming along and upsetting the apple cart like it has, up to that point I had happily begun to seriously formulate plans to make the Ruapehu District the absolute best it could be by increasing communication, supporting our Masters and ailing Lodges and encouraging the cultivation of our newer members, so they stay with Freemasonry. Let us be honest If you were to put our district under the microscope there is no denying, we have Lodges struggling to survive through lack of membership and stronger Lodges unable to retain new members interest. Patting ourselves on the back for having a district with the best recruitment is simply lip service if you can not retain members wanting to be active Lodge members and stem the flow of members leaving.
As District Grand Master you must be flexible and make decisions that sometimes do not sit well with others and they go against everything you have been taught, but these are unusual times and these times call for a particular type of strong leadership, coupled with sympathy and understanding of the needs of others. It is almost as if we have forgotten COVID is a very real threat and think life can just return to normal now that we are at Level 1. My profession in Health and Safety makes me strongly disagree; I am mindful that for the next six months at least we can not return to the normal way of doing things and I will continue to have the health, comfort and interests of Ruapehu Brethren as my top priority, no matter what it takes.
I have had to make radical decisions of late in both Freemasonry and work, which my predecessors luckily never had to make and we would have never made before COVID 19, some which have caused me sleepless nights, knowing full well the reaction they would receive from a few of my peers, but I have made these decisions in consultation with the Lodge Masters, Masters Elect, Grand Lodge guide lines, government guidelines and the Divisional Grand Master, and I will happily suffer the consequence, my taking the position of District Grand Master was not for personal glory or to be the most popular, I am here to promote Freemasonry in our communities, support the Lodges through tough times and encourage our Brethren to be the very best they can be, and I will try and do it in the short time I am here, and I can assure you it will be to the best of my experience and ability.
We need to be promoting ourselves as Freemasons, our values and way of life, showing our communities that we care, and we are still here. We should be promoting individual and Lodge strengths rather than criticising their weaknesses, a pat on the back and a kind word, is so much more encouraging than a slap in the face. I am always mindful and under no illusion this is a voluntary organisation, and everyone is here because they choose to be here, not because they have to be.
Over the next few months if you haven’t already done so, you need to look at our Lodges in depth, their strengths, and weaknesses, identify their needs and how best they can be served, then together we will work out how best to fix what’s wrong. Bro Ainsley Watson has been doing a sterling job for me and has already communicated with many of our Lodges.
Interesting and rewarding education is important and we need to be implementing talks on a variety of subjects, Masonic and non-masonic, look who you can ask to come in and present a talk, there are some amazing people out there, with amazing stories and facts. Please don't forget WBro. Neilson our District Education Officer and his fine ability to bring education to our Lodges. Not every talk has to be a Lodge meeting, a talk can happen anywhere anytime, in someone's lounge or round a pub table! Work with your research Lodge and Past Grand Lecturers, they have a wealth of Masonic knowledge to distribute.
One question I have been asking myself is questions about how to make our district Lodge meetings more attractive and interesting to the many Masons that don't show at Lodge meetings, this is inclusive of older as well as newer members of all ages? Somehow we have to figure out a plan to at least try and make it work.
I will also be reinstating the Master and Warden discussion meetings, which traditional have not been well attended or not held at all, hopefully you all will realise what I am trying to achieve and you will support each other by being part of this. Because something doesn't work you don't just give up on it, you keep trying until all avenues have been exhausted. These discussion could be virtual if need be.
There will also be discussion meetings for Director of Ceremonies to help them in their duties and give them some guidance if it is needed.
Secretaries, I haven't forgotten you and we will be looking at various ways we can support you with some of the new electronic methods.
This year I want to seriously look at our District Charity, and where we are going with it in this district, there are many charitable causes that we could support and I want to make sure we do as much for charity as we can for the next three years, and make us proud of our achievements. I have contacted our District Charity Officer and the Division Grand Almoner to discuss.
It my intention to hold a district charity dinner within the next two months in order to raise funds for a chosen charity, discussions are in progress with the venue, more on this will come through.
With a little help we have managed to get 100% of our Lodges to advertise their meetings on the Divisional web site for the third time in a row since it was floated online, well done to those Secretaries and Masters that made the updates or supplied the information. once again we can now log in and see what every Lodge is doing, this will hopefully encourage visiting and support.
We have several 1st Degrees this month and it would be great to see new candidated supported to the max by Lodge members and visitors, check out the Calender of Lodge Workings for July.
A big thank you to those select few Masons that supported me during Lockdown, you know who you are so names are not required, without your strength and insight this district would have remained silent and we would never have connected like we did. If anything, COVID 19 during lockdown showed me the true meaning of Masonic friendship, I thank you all for keeping me on track.
Our ladies belonging to 'The Speculative Guild of Ladies' a social group for Wives, partners of Freemasons will be holding another social meeting soon I have been told, so ladies keep an eye out for Jo's messages.
I could not hide the smile on my face last evening even if I wanted to, the pure pleasure of being back in a lodge room among friends was one of the best feelings. I visited St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge number 79, Whanganui to witness an initiation of a new candidate, our district’s first since the COVID 19 lockdown. It was also the master’s last ceremony before July’s installation. I have known the master WBro. Cliff Hughes since he was initiated in 2014, and it has been a real personal pleasure to see him move through the respective offices and into the chair with such confidence.
Whanganui Prison is located east of Whanganui, near Kaitoke, so the Lodge has benefited from a pool of good and worthy Correction Officers over the years helping boost membership. Brother Stuart Munro who was initiated last evening has a background in journalism and soldiering, now working for the Correction Service. Whilst chatting with Stuart before the ceremony you could instantly tell he is a confident man, a good clear speaker, who will be a great asset to the Lodge, and I look forward to watching his progression in Freemasonry.
The ceremony was a delight to watch, with those taking part obviously having practiced their part, and I must applaud their Fellow Craft for taking on a charge, beautifully executed. The Senior Warden and District Charity Officer, Bro. Craig Ancell, will undoubtedly add his flavour of leadership after the 22nd of July and continue the good work this Lodge is doing. It was also good to see a Worshipful Brother return to the lodge after an absence, and instantly make his mark with equally executed charges, showing why St. Andrew Kilwinning will continue to go from strength to strength.
Image: WBro. Hughes (WM), Bro. Munro and Bro.Craig Ancell SW (and District Charity Officer)
Jo and I wish you and yours all well, welcome to Level 1
Here we are, at last at Level 1 and with that some normality, although I have personally considered what parts of normal are worth rushing back to! Ruapehu Lodges are now starting to rise from their hibernation and taking a look at the rest of the year and what that will bring.
We have a 1st Degree Initiation for Mr. Munro this month (June) at St. Andrew and Kilwinning Lodge No. 79, on Wednesday the 24th. I would ask as many of our Brethren to attend in support of both the candidate and the Lodge. This will be WBro. Hughes last ceremonial before he hands the mantel to another Brother later in the month.
The sorting out of the installation scheduling has been completed and we can now start to get back on track. The first is for the daylight lodge ‘Lodge Wharite 451’ where WBro. Greenwood will take the chair. Ladies are welcome of course.
In July St Andrew Kilwinning No. 79 will have their installation meeting, with a Master Mason Bro. Craig Ancell taking the Chair for his first time. This is a Grand Lodge visit and I am looking forward to a well-attended meeting.
Pa Ka Ma also has an installation on the 23rd where WBro. Gordon Cameron will be reinstalled; this again is a Grand Lodge visit so the more the merrier.
Rongotea will have a 1st Degree Initiation on the 15th July and all are welcome of course, our new members desire our support.
I have been invited to Stokes Valley Lodge No. 460 on Saturday the 11th of July, where I will be invited to reply on behalf of the visitors. The Grand Master will also be in attendance, so it would be good to have a few join me in the V8 to Lower Hutt
I for one will continue my hygiene routine, if only to avoid colds and flu. I am having a carpal tunnel operation on my right hand, and not before time, as the use of a keyboard has become unbelievably hard. Luckily my good lady can type twice as fast as me and has kindly taken over for the short period.
We have some awesome Freemasons in the Ruapehu District, far too many to mention and without them as support I would be in a sea of hurt somedays. I would like to thank each and every one of you for the support during the crisis, you were my rocks. With people like this in Freemasonry, how can it loose its luster and appeal? All I ask is look after eachother, continue to be kind and watch out for those less fortunate.
Jo and I wish you and your wives and partners all well,
We should know by the 8th June whether the government will reduce the COVID Level from 2 to 1. That will make things slightly easier for us, but we cannot forget there is still a global epidemic going on and there will still be rules in place.
I have now communicated with all of the Ruapehu Masters and Secretaries in order to work out a basic schedule for Lodge activities over the next four months.
“I would just like to remind us all that we are all in this together, and we all must play our parts to assist each officer to fulfil his duty to the best of his ability”
I have drawn up a basic draft schedule of Lodge meetings from now until September and get us back onto an even keel. If I have misinterpreted any meetings, please let me know. I need you then to go to the Divisional Web Site and ‘Advise a Monthly Lodge Meeting’, so it goes onto the calendar.
All the highlighted ‘yellow’ should have applied for dispensation by now, you will need dispensation to stay closed. When applying for dispensation use the reference: ‘***COVID-19*** Seeking a dispensation for a circumstance not covered by any other dispensations in this form (provide full details below), and give the dates the dispensation is to ally for.
The green highlights are the installations, once again use the dispensation system to move the original date of your installation meeting, using the above reference once again.
There are two more dispensations to consider.
***COVID 19*** Authorising a Lodge to ballot for the Master; Treasurer and Tyler at the same meeting that the Installation Ceremony is to be conducted.
***COVID-19*** Authorising a Lodge to not conduct an Installation Ceremony for the 2020/2021 masonic year where the present Master and Officers are to continue in office.
If you plan to meet in June send me your COVID PLAN, if I haven’t seen it and approved it, you will not be able to meet.
Good Morning Brethren, Wives, and Partners
Jo and I wish you all well and hope that you are starting to get back to some normality now we are into Level 2. Work has certainly created some challenges for myself and the other directors of our company as we try and get back on an even keel and cope with work, hence my quietness of late with the Zoom sessions, many apologies but work sometimes has to be a priority, it pays my mortgage! Hopefully, Lodges have continued with their virtual social meetings, they have proven worthwhile and hopefully we will make more use of them in future for training, the odd winter district meeting etc.
Jo and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary and Jo's milestone birthday recently and we would like to thank all of you that sent good wishes. We had a splendid long weekend, with a trip to Bulls, BP station for a takeaway coffee and a pie, who said romance is dead?
The Grand Master and his team have now released their toolkit for restarting the Lodges and these have been circulated to all Lodge Masters and Secretaries. These documents are extremely well designed and extensive to help Lodges return to some normality.
Missed installation meetings are dealt with in detail, it will take a little sorting out from June to September but not impossible if we all pull together and make things happen. There are options and I would ask Lodges to consider these fully before steaming ahead.
If you haven’t seen the Grand Master’s toolkit you can see them at here on the Freemasons NZ web site.
Lodges have also been given an opportunity to remain closed via dispensation until the 1st September, if it is the best interest of the Lodge members, this may be an option for some of you.
I will be working closely with our Masters, Master Elects and Lodges to ensure transition is as smooth as possible and we are ready for the rest of the year.
If you have planned an early June management committee in a Freemason’s Hall, please remember this is dependant on the Grand Master allowing Lodges to be reopened, if that happens you will need to have in place your COVID 19 Plan, which includes all the hygiene requirements, protocol and signage, if we are at Level 2 or even Level 1 for that case.
It is good to plan, but make sure you have planned well, with safety of those present assured, in accordance with the Grand Master’s Guidelines. I would also like to be informed of any meeting, date, place, and time. Please remember right now only ten can attend, although this may change soon. I will have to issue approval once I am satisfied you are meeting all the requirements. Primarily I am here to help Lodges and individuals back to Freemasonry with as little fuss as possible, and I am confident in the ability of Lodges to do this, without shortcuts.
Please remember Lodges are still closed, until you hear otherwise, but plan ahead.
Now the weather is turning colder, stay well everyone.
Ash & Jo
Jo and I wish you all well, good morning!
It is Saturday morning and the sun is shining in the Rangitikei, hopefully it is shining for you too. There is nothing like the sun and gardening to make us happy.
I would firstly like to begin by thanking all those of you that have been taking up the call for video conferencing, I know for some it has been a learning curve, and I say that for myself as well. We have proven since we went into lock down that Zoom does not steal your soul as first suspected, and it is actually comforting to be able to share thoughts and feelings with likeminded people, in some ways it has helped me mentally to get through what could have been a very trying time. I would also like to thank the unsung heroes from our district that have made phone calls and checked on other masons and our widows, your endeavours have not gone unnoticed and will not be forgotten. To quote ‘May brotherly love and affection ever distinguish us as men and as Masons’.
I would also like to thank masters of Lodges who should have been replaced by now by way of installation, your continued support is appreciated by your Lodge and myself.
Now that level 2 has been exposed, some of you will be chumping at the bit to get back to 'Lodge Life', but all good things come to those that wait, and your further patience would be greatly appreciated.
Yesterday was Victory in Europe day, and I was reminded of the pain, loss and hardship people went through, not for a few weeks, but for years, it reinforced the fact that we are somewhat blessed, even though this time and it could have been so much worst. I would like to remind you that the Freemasons Charity is available for relieving hardship, should it be required.
It was also Jo’s milestone birthday yesterday and our thirty eight wedding anniversary, we had a wonderful day, and I would like to thank all of you that left kind comments on social media, phoned and took part in our Friday night drinks on Zoom. We had two more Birthdays yesterday that I know of, and I would like to acknowledge , Brother Matt Davis from Lodge Rangitikei and Bro. George Henderson, from Lodge Manawatu No.1721, EC.
Whilst I was surfing the internet, I came across the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and they had an article on the Lodges being suspended. I will write more about this in the Divisional newsletter.
If you have any articles about any event your Lodge is doing whilst suspended, please let me know.
Jo and I wish you and your wives, partners and families all well,
May has commenced and here we are at Level 3, I like many of you have returned to work full time with restrictions in place. What a great job you and your families have all done to make this possible.
Although I never really stopped working it is still good to get back into a work routine rather than working from home and all the temptations that brings. I realise for some of you Level 3 has not made huge changes, I would ask us all to keep up the communication channels and make sure nobody is in need. On the 11th May the Government will announce if the country goes to level 2 or not, where there are still lesser restrictions. The Grand Master has stated that if we go to Level 2 he will consider reopening Masonic Halls on the 1st of June, but he will wait until he knows what restrictions and limitations are announced by Government, and of course he will not put anyone at risk, health wise. Guidance on reopening will be forthcoming.
By the 1st June the district would have missed five Installations, Wharite No. 451, Research Ruapehu No. 444, Manawatu Kilwinning No. 47, United Wanganui No. 468, Te Awahou No. 133 and Otangaki No. 70, and I particularly thank all those Masters and Master’s Elect who have had to be wait whilst we dealt with this situation. I will be working with the Divisional Grand Master on a way in which we can effectively put you all back on track. As the Grand Master stated, all Lodges are different and he and I would encourage you to have a think about how we carry out those installations, to add this process I will be running workshops on Zoom to facilitate that, I will issue some further guidance soon, hopefully.
The Zoom meetings , for those who has participated have been a real pleasure for me personally, and we will continue those through May, as part of our communication strategy, and who knows we may even continue when we are back, for things such as Masonic Education, socialising, and general discussion about Charity etc. If you haven't have a zoom meeting arranged for your Lodge, why not, it is to benefit of everyone who can join in.
I am hoping the Gazebo will arrive soon, and from meetings with the other District Grand Masters the Divisional Grand Master is extremely interested in the other districts obtaining these. It could be that we get some funds, which we will use for the extras to go with the Gazebo, to make it the pride of the district at every worthy event, lets push Freemasonry out there, in the public eye where we can be seen.
We have had a couple of good leads for joining Freemasonry via the Freemasons NZ website and I would like to set up a small team that initially ‘breaks the ice’ with a prospective candidate, with a view of ensuring he is initiated into a Lodge that ‘fits his bill’, as I am convinced this is one way of ensuring a candidate’s longevity in a Lodge. The same practice has been happening in Wellington and it has proven highly successful and certainly worth a try for us.
Whilst we have been in Lockdown work has been still happening behind the scenes for the new Lodge Building in Palmerston North, of course at a reduced pace. I am hoping to be able to update you all in the next couple of weeks as to where we are at.
As a last comment, I must repeat what the Grand Master has said and that is the Freemasons Charity is there for any of you that are suffering hardship, it is our charity, please contact to Brother Craig Ancell our District Charity Officer or myself, we would only be too pleased to hear from you.
I would be very pleased to hear from Lodges about any charity work thay have been doing whilst in Lockdown. On our return we must discuss the raising of funds within the district for the support of a charity, so put your thinking caps on Brethren! I will be in contact With Bro. Craig Ancell to discuss a way forward, it would be very fustrating had we not practiced what we preach by the end of the year, and there are so many deserving causes out there that need our help.
Until I have another thought next week, take care all,
Jo and Ash (keep smiling)
Issue two of 'Central Today' has been published - get your copy Central Today Issue 2
In this month's issue we take a look a Nancy Wake 'The White Mouse of the French Resistance, the suspension of Lodges in 1939 due to the war. Reg enlightens us with his Compost Corner, whilst we are updated with the latest Kapiti Wellington Charity project to help the homeless. Plus Jo talks about Zoom for the girls, plus more.
Enter the competition to win a $50 Countdown Voucher, show us your best Lockdown project, go to our District Facebook Page, Like us and post an image with a short description of your project. Ends 15th May, Open to all Freemasons in NZ.
Brethren, wives, partners and families,
Jo and I hope you and your families are all well in your respective bubbles and coping with these last few days of Level 4.
Today of course is ANZAC day and I like many others stood at dawn at the end of the drive, listening to the Last Post wafting over the breeze. Many of my neighbours joined me along our the street, standing in silence remembering the sacrifice made by so few for so many, I hope we never forget. That moment standing at the gate was something I'll remember for a long time to come and thoughts turned to my own Great Grandfather, Corporal Ferdinand Major Jameson, Machine Gun Corps (AKA Gilbert the Strongman) who was killed in action at the Somme, only twenty eight years old. I wondered how he felt being of German decent?
Today we had the Freemason’s virtual ANZAC Day Memorial Commemoration live on Facebook. Considering our Leaders are all in Lockdown and resources limited the team did an awesome job, thank you from us. If you missed it live, you can still see the recording here. You would have seen the email I sent out last evening with the idea of donating the cost of a takeaway coffee or more to the appeal, please donate what you can to the fund, even though the event is over, money can still be given. Many thanks to those who have emailed me to confirm their donation has been sent.
The Zoom meetings are continuing as we head into Level 3, we have now to my knowledge had only four of the thirteen Lodges use this method of reaching out, which is a shame as it has proven really popular for those that have participated, but there is still time yet for your Lodge to get into them. VWBro. Warwick Bell has kindly volunteered to help any Lodge that wants to get into Zoom, just let me know if this is an option. I am also happy to host any Lodge’s Zoom session, you simply have to ask. I did put a meeting up last evening for our EA’s FC’s and MM’s, only one Master Mason attended which was very disappointing and an opportunity missed for a one on one with myself and the District Education Officer, but we still had an hour of friendly chat and laughs together. One could easily be put off by this experience, but those that know me well, know I am very tenacious when I know something is worthwhile and will continue my efforts of involving our newer members.
I have been in touch with most of the Masters either by Zoom or telephone over the last week, to enquire what Lodge’s have done or are doing to keep in touch with their members, I have been reassured this is being done in one form or another, a gentle reminder to continue this until we are fully out of lockdown and back to Freemasonry, and even then beyond.
The world has certainly changed, and I am finding people much friendlier, even people I do not know call out in the street or over the garden gate to enquire how I am! This repeat of 'The Dunkirk Spirit' is something that needs to continue for many years to come and should be reflected in your Lodge when we all get back to our workings. When your Master is visiting another Lodge, reflect on this Lockdown and remember how much you missed socialising and make a concerted effort to accompany him. No Master should ever attend another Lodge alone, especially as he is representing you and your Lodge, not himself.
With Level 3 on its way next week, some of you will be looking forward to expanding your household in line with the new rules, however, you should exercise prudence and caution when expanding your bubble, remembering a lot of us are still high risk. I may have to dust off the beach rod and fish from the shore, the boat still well and truly in dry dock, oh how I have missed the small pleasures in life! I personally have never left work, having links with our company computer system from home, but now the urgency is getting ready for the arrival of forty staff on Tuesday morning and restarting our larger contracts, something that may prove challenging, but I will still be actively promoting Freemasonry in this district whilst this goes on, just be patient with me for a while if I don't reply to an email straightaway.
The Grand Master has contacted some of our newer brethren from this district to talk to them, I know he would have liked to speak to more of you but didn’t have the time. I would encourage like the Grand Master's leadership to continue to look out for all newer members, make sure they are sutably challenged and above all happy to continue their masonic endevours.
Well Brethren I need to get on with other things and the sun is out today and calling me, Be safe, take care and above all keep positive.
I have always been an advocate for the use of social media for Freemasonry, that is why in April 2015 I approached the then current District Grand Master about setting up an experimental Ruapehu Facebook page hesitatingly he agreed. So in March 2015 I launched the District page, but the very idea of a ‘Pop Up’ online Mason’s gathering hadn't entered my mind until recently.
Being at level four in NZ has brought these communication tools to the forefront of our Masonic Society. No, it will not replace the experience of meeting in person at a Lodge meeting, goodness forbid, but I am convinced there is a place for it within a modern fraternity.
We had our first experimental ‘Pop Up’ new members online social, this was a chance for me to interact with some of our EA’s, FC’s and MM’s and give them a peek at 'the man behind the curtain'.
Being our first online outing, we sadly only attracted a few Masons, which was predictable as Mason's can be notoriously slow at coming forward sometimes on occasions, especially when technology is involved, but saying that for an initial experiment it proved very successful.
I am grateful to our District Education Officer, WBro. Neilson for sharing his time with us and he showed why he was the right person for the position.
I for one am a great believer in a candidate’s success begins with his mentor, or as I prefer his ‘coach’, matching the right coach to a candidate’s unique profile can be a tricky situation, but not impossible it is essential for a candidate's growth, without it being too intense, teaching the basics and etiquette is all it takes in the early stages, or even a kind word of praise or a greeting at the door sometimes is all it takes. I remember walking into a Lodge building many years ago and finding that task daunting.
This first session was a ground breaker for our district, we have started something that deserves to be continued well beyond lockdown, a chance for new members to vitually meet other new members outside of the Lodge, and to be able to ask questions and to have them answered.
We will continue these Pop-Up sessions and maybe vary the hosts so you the newer members of the fraternity can receive a variety of views. For me it is about empowering our EA's, FC's and Master Masters.
Please if you have time next week, pop in we would be delighted to see you. It's not all work, we do have plenty of laughs as well!
*Please note Past Masters are by invitation only to the 'Newer members sessions'
Tommorrow at 2.30pm Facebook Live
Talk Live with the Grand Master
The Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master will be running a Facebook Live Questions and Answers session on Friday at 2.30pm.
You will be able to put questions to them and discuss this in a live format.
This is an opportunity to discuss some of the pressing issues for Freemasonry in NZ at the moment, including how lockdown has and will continue to impact Lodges, how we are running the organisation while in lockdown, and how you can continue to run your own Lodges through Virtual Masonic Gatherings. We also hope to discuss how you can help those in your community during this pandemic, and the support you can show those within your Lodge, particularly newer members who may not have strong Lodge-wide support networks in place yet.
Check out the Freemasons NZ Facebook page for details
This Evening at 7pm
Topic: Lodge Rangitikei & Friends, Pop up Zooming Social
Time: Apr 16, 2020 07:00 PM Auckland, Wellington
Join us for a social hour in our bubbles!
Details of meeting sent to all district emails. Check your email
Saturday18th April 2020 at 2pm
Topic: Social 'Zoom' Meeting for Newer Freemasons
Especially for Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, Master Masons
The District Grand Master and the District Education Officer (and present Master of Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge) will be hosting an online Zoom social interaction for newer Freemasons in our district.
This is a chance for newer Freemasons of all ages, that have joined the craft in the last two years to meet the District Grand Master, without his chain and apron. Find out why he supports Freemasonry.
A chance to also meet your fellow Freemasons, who you may not even knew existed, if you haven't visited other Lodges.
Join us on Saturday Details emailed to district email addresses. Check your email
Tuesday 21st April 2020 at 7pm
Topic: The United Lodge of Wanganui No.468 & Friends, Pop up Zoom Session
Tuesday the 21st would have been the Lodge's Installation meeting, unfortunately postponed
To help mark this event, WBro. Tasker is having a pop up zoom session with members and friends of 468.
Details of how to join sent via email to all know disrict email addresses. Check your email
To use Zoom, you don't have to sign up, just download a small file when prompted, to see how to use zoom this is a good site to visit: Otago University Blog
Not many people alive today, were born during the 1918 - 1920 flu pandemic.
During lockdown, we tend to gloss over the important things like birthdays, unable to celebrate with our family and loved ones. But there was one birthday this month worth every bit of celebration and that was for WBro. Ian Robert Smith PGBB. Ian actually had his 101st Birthday and a small gathering of Ian's fellow residents of Woodland gathered for afternoon tea.
Ian was born on the 9th April 1919! He was initiated in New Plymouth on 26th May 1958 at the age of 39.
Passed 23/06/1958 and raised on the 22/06/1959
Ian has been a member of
The Kimbolton Lodge
The Petre Lodge
The Feilding Lodge
He received his 50-year badge and his 60-year bar for long service. He has been Senior Warden no less than sixteen times, Junior Warden twice, and Master of the Kimbolton Lodge in 1990. Ian received a Role of Honour in 1996 and was invested as PGBB in 1999 . Up until recent times Ian has participated in Installations and has always supported the Ruapehu District as a Grand Lodge Officer. In 2019 Ian celebrated his centenary by conducting a 2nd Degree Working, at the Petre Lodge, Whanganui with the Grand Master Present.
His 40-year railways career started in Whanganui, but he moved around to Hawera, Taihape, Tauranga, back to Taranaki and retired 40 years ago after a stint at Palmerston North.
To me Ian has always been a true Freemason and Gentleman, a great visitor to other Lodges and always a smile on his face and a kind word to say.
What happened on the 9th April 1919?
An overnight tornado outbreak in the Southern Great Plains killed at least 92 people in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Russian Spring Offensive – The Orenburg Independent Army took Sarapul from the Red Army and closed in on Glazov, while the Western Army took Bugulma, Russia.
In response to activity by Irish Republican Army in Limerick, the British Army declared the city a Special Military Area. Civilians were required to apply for police permits to enter or leave the city.
Universal suffrage was extended to women in British East Africa, of "pure European descent", provided they were English-speaking, literate British subjects and owned property, so the law could exclude Africans, British Indians and other ethnic groups.
The 3rd Legions Infantry Division was established by the Polish Army.
The Logistics Battalion was established in Tallinn, Estonia.
Born: J. Presper Eckert, American engineer, co-designer of the ENIAC and UNIVAC I computers, in Philadelphia (d. 1995)
New Zealand votes for prohibition – until soldiers’ votes are counted. A special liquor referendum initially gave prohibition a majority of 13,000 over continuance (the status quo), raising the hopes of those who had for decades campaigned against the manufacture and sale of alcohol. However, special votes of nearly 40,000 troops still overseas, aboard ships, or in camps or hospitals in New Zealand were still to be counted. Fighting for King and country was clearly thirsty work, as 32,000 of these men voted to retain the right to drink. When all votes were counted, continuance won by 264,189 votes to 253,827. This was the first – and last – time that the question would be decided by a simple majority in a nationwide poll. A second referendum held alongside the December 1919 general election included a third option: state purchase and control of the sale of alcohol. This time prohibition came within 1600 votes of victory. Although the prohibitionist cause remained strong until the 1930s, New Zealand would never again come as near to banning the bottle as it did in the twin referendums of 1919.
The New Zealand Māori (Pioneer) Battalion was the only battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to return to New Zealand as a complete unit and in April 1919, thousands turned out to give its men a rousing welcome.
WBro. Ian Smith PGBB taken in 2019.
To the Brethren of The Ruapehu District, Wives, Partners their respective Families
Firstly, Jo and I wish you all a very happy Easter, and we hope you get some Easter Eggs?
We also hope you are all coping well within your various bubbles and managing to keep yourselves busy and entertained as much as possible, whilst we continue with our national lockdown. Personally, I have kept myself exceptionally busy, between work from home, Freemasonry, learning how to use new software programmes, zoom gatherings and tidying the section. My Mum always said the Devil finds work for idle hands, so I try to keep mine very busy! If you are on Facebook you can see my first attempt at a nine minute video about our district.
The vibe I’m getting back from the District tells me, Lodges are trying their best to stay in contact with their members, young and old, new and experienced, I know of phone trees having been set up and where not set up a good line of communication has been established. I am therefor generally satisfied our member’s needs are being met for now, although there is always room for improvement. I have been involved in a few conferences via video link (Zoom) and everyone who has joined in has seemingly got some good from it, as well as a few laughs on the way. We have had participants from as far away as Scotland and Belgium join in and that was a real delight. By now, it would be good to know that every Lodge has had a social online session, you are never too old to learn and some of our mature Brethren have managed to come on board. I am happy to host the session if you like, but why not ask some of your newer members to run a session.
Many of you would have received a copy of ‘Central Today’ as it was sent to every member in the division with an email address. It was a learning curve for me, and I was happy to spend a day putting it together for the Central Division. It was generally well received with the positive feedback, outweighing the few negatives. All I can say is it is a good job I have broad shoulders.
Regarding the Gazebo project, a special thanks to the Lodges and individuals who have risen to the challenge and so far deposited $900 towards the total cost. I would especially like to thank VWBro. Hunt Past Dist GM for his generous donation of the full price, allowing me to order it from the supplier without waiting for the Lodges to donate. Any money raised via donations will be reimbursed to Laurie in due course, so the more we can raise the better. Hopefully it will be delivered on the company’s return to production, and I for one will be very pleased to see it.
This week I would like us to think about ourselves and our families, they are very important to us and their being safe and well must be your absolute priority. I had one Master contact me to apologise for letting his Lodge down as he felt he had more urgent issues to deal with, of course his apology was totally unnecessary as family will always be the number one priority in my book. I would however ask lodge members to recognise when or if a Brother is struggling and jump to his aid and handle some of the day to day Lodge affairs, for surely that is why we are Freemasons? I would also ask you to continue to support our Almoners, many of whom should not be taking on more than they can handle, maybe time for Masons to step up and lend a hand if not already done so, sometimes it is far too easy to leave it up to the individual.
I have a District Project in mind, thanks to our District Educational Officer WBro. Andrew Neilson, it is a great idea and I am currently investigating the ins and outs, before I release further details.
I believe Jo is arranging a ‘Zoom meeting’ with her Social group of ladies, to continue the good work you all started, I’ll just make sure I’m in the garden for a few hours, with my girls who I have had a ten year affair with, my Dahlia collection!
Well that is all from me for now, keep doing what you are doing it is good to see. I am extremely proud to be your DistGM and to be able to be part of this district. Remember spare a thought for your Brothers and their Whānau and continue to fight the good fight. I look forward to seeing you all on the other side, for there is much to talk about.
Just for fun, watch 9 minutes of my first amature video about our district video on your tube
Fraternal best wishes
The old black shoes are looking glum
As I pass the lobby door,
“What’s wrong with you?” they seem to say,
“We’re going out no more.
We’ve taken not a single step,
Not third or even first,
And ne’er a sign we’ve seen you give,
Has Masonry been cursed?”
“It has”, I said, “by virus vile,
We have to stay at home
Until such time the plague has passed,
Then once more we can roam.
The Masons’ Halls are empty,
Regalia put away,
Gavels now stay silent,
DCs hold no sway.
Volumes of the Sacred Law
On pedestals redundant,
Now Brother Jim contacts his friends
By social posts abundant.
No handshake, word or secret sign,
No friendly Festive Board
No Tyler’s song to say Goodnight,
No organ’s well-loved chord.
“Black shoes,” I said, “do not despair,
Our Chain is firm and strong
Our flag of love remains unfurled
We’ll sing again our song.
And though our Brethren may have passed
To Grander Lodge Above,
We’ll look upon their memories
With everlasting love.
And in their name, we’ll offer help
And soothe the burdened heart;
We’ll comfort those who are distressed,
Thus Masons play their part.
And when this crisis is resolved
We’ll sing the old refrain,
Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part,
Happy to meet again.”
On 22 March, I sent our quarterly Ruapehu District newsletter out to all Brethren with an email address. To reach a wider audience I have posted it for anyone interested to read my ramblings. I must admit I am also using this as a test of some software that turns newsletters into online books to make sure I know what I'm doing for an important future project. Click on the link below to view our March Newsletter.
A phone tree is a prearranged system for activating groups of Masons by telephone, the phone tree system can help you spread a brief message quickly and efficiently to the members of your Lodge. Once your phone tree system is set up, you can use it multiple times to, quickly contact Lodge members to stay in touch, ask if they need any help or relay an important message. You need to decide who will be the phone coordinator, then you will need other Brethren to make the calls, usually anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes.
The District 'One Charge Challenge' whilst lodges are closed, take on the challenge of smashing out a charge, any charge from the 'Ritual of the Three Degrees' any degree...TELL US WHAT CHARGE YOU ARE GOING TO KNOCK OUTTA THE PARK ON FACEBOOK IN TEN WEEKS!
19 March 2020
Beating the English suspension on all masonic activities by five hours, I had been invited to represent our Divisional Grand Master and constitution at the Tongariro Lodge No. 705 , Wanganui by RW.Bro. Brian J. Westhead, District Grand Master North Island UGLE. This was the occasion of their installation and as I had been officially invited I had decided despite the CONVID 19 threat, I was young enough and fit enough to go, as long as I took precautions in no shaking hands, washing them before and after the ceremony, wearing gloves and not touching my face, whilst trying to observe social distancing I would be OK.
Whilst there was some risk in going to myself, it was minimises on the evening, and I am glad I had the chance to represent our constitution, especially as the UGLE District Grand Master Elect, RW.Bro Warren Weir was present and the Scots, unfortunately the Irish weren't represented. I also had a job to do.
It was understandable I was not accompanied, apart from one Grand Lodge Officer who was there to Steward and two of our younger masters, who had jobs to do. So I was content that all our other Brethren from the district were not put at risk.
I will comment, the feel in the Lodge room was erie, only twenty Brethren present, many of the officers to be invested, rightfully staying away. All that was missing was tumble weeds rolling gently across the floor, and the sound of the desert wind! The refectory however was excellent having catered for 50 instead of 20, so we were all very full at the end of it.
The UGLE DistGM Designate explained in great detail what the EC District was doing to support their Brethren through this troublesome time and as Tongariro was the last meeting until the all clear is given, it was good to be there and recharge my English roots, even only for a brief while.
17 March 2020
"Good intentions might sound nice, but it's positive actions that matter" and so it is with Lodge Strategic Plans.
By now Lodges should have completed or nearly completed their plans for the future, well at least for the next twelve months. early in the game I asked Bro. Ainsley Watson of the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No.47 if he would kindly volunteer to act as a facilitator and assist Lodges to produce a worthwhile and meaningful plan, that was their own. Ainsley has been very proactive and has helped several lodges and been asked to help several more. Those of you that haven't embarked on a plan, now is the time to make a move.
Bro. Watson was recently kindly thanked by Lodge Rangitikei for the work he had done in assisting them with their plan.
12 March 2020
WBro. Les Anderson was initiated into Freemasonry on the 9 March 1995 at The Ruapehu Lodge No. 128, Marton. he subsequently transfered to Lodge Rangitikei No.38 in 2003. Les was the Master of the Lodge in 2005 and 2006 whilst he was running his busy local glass business. Les is always at home in the Lodge kitchen stewarding, is a dynamo and the Lodge is very lucky to have him. Les's 25 years in Freemasonry was marked in Lodge, with the presentation of his lapel badge by VWBro. Hill PGLec.
10 March 2020
The great thing about being District Grand Master, is you get to welcome a newly made Mason into Freemasonry at the end of the ceremony, Last evening I had the pleasure of welcoming Bro.Maloney into our ancient fraternity and into Otaihape Lodge No.142. I charged the new Brother to challenge the other members, by asking questions of them and always pushing them to be act as proper and fit mentors, both within Masonry as well as socially. Lodge Otaihape is one of our rural Lodges in the Ruapehu District and the most Northern of them, being based among the hills in Taihape.
7th March 2020
VW Bro. Laurence Hunt PDistGM can only be described as a true Freemason, his actions in life and his Masonic record back up that statement. As many of us know Laurie has been unwell for some time, suffering from shortness of breath and has had a fair few trips to Whanganui Hospital’s medical ward. His decision to relocate from his home in Marton to his daughter and Son in-law’s house in Ashburton was not an easy one, but it was the best decision under the circumstances. Laurie joined Freemasonry in 1988 and has since gained an impressive record, being Master no less than six times, Grand Steward, Past Grand Steward, District Grand Director of Ceremonies, District Grand Master and Past District Grand Master. He also gained the rank of Past SGW in the UGLE constitution.
Laurie has not only mentored me since 2002, he has mentored many more who all owe him a debt of service. Laurie’s visiting went beyond the call of duty as many know and he carried the name of Lodge Rangitikei wherever he went. His service to Lodge Rangitikei has been an example to all, and we know we have not seen the last of him.
We met at Cook’s Bar in Marton last evening to wish him farewell, a huge turnout of Masons, his family and community members filled the large room. I was privileged to be able to present Laurie with a Masonic Certificate of Merit and lapel badge, for his outstanding work both for his Lodge, the Ruapehu District, his fellow Masons and the Manawatu Youth Trust.
Well done Laurie, bon yoyage and we’ll see you on Skype very soon!
Image: Presentation of a Certificate of Merit and badge to VWBro.Hunt Dist GM.
The social group 'The Speculative Guild of Ladies' held their inaugural coffee meeting at Viv's Kitchen, Sanson (Famous for the cream horns and fifties American decor)
The 'SGL' is the brainchild of Jo Williamson and has been formed to bring ladies who are connected to a Mason, together outside of Freemasonry for general fun and interest.
A small group of the members attended this first outing and from all accounts they had a great time and maybe a few cakes!. Jo informs me that they have already planned another event, this time at the weekend so more of our lovely ladies can attend.There are 15 ladies currently following the SGL on social media, and they are currently working on an online website.
So lads they have laid the guantlet down, about time the 'Speculative Guild of Gentlemen' had their first event.
4 March 2020
I have received official notification from VWBro. Kendrick, Divisional Grand Almoner, of a change of the Ruapehu District Charity Officer, as from November of this year. I am very pleased to have been informed Bro. Craig Ancell, of the St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge No.79, Wanganui has been appointed to this position. Bro. Ancell will be assisting WBro. Lockyer PGD, until he takes over fully in November. It is very pleasing to see a Master Mason take on this vital role, and I would like to thank Bro. Ancell on behalf of the district, and I look forward to working with him in the future. I would also ask all Lodges to give him their full support. I would also like to thank WBro. Lockyer PGD for his time, dedication and service to the Freemason’s Charity, John has always been an excellent Charity Officer and worked hard for the district.
29 February 2020
As part of our campaign to be more recognised in our local communities, we need to be seen at open air events throughout the district, and there are plenty, Field days, motor shows, Wanganui Vintage Weekend, the list goes on. I have been in touch with a New Zealand Based company that manufactures a custom print gazebo, which will have our Freemasons NZ and District Logo. The current cost is $2,679.50 inclusive of GST for their top Pro 57 alloy top of the range model. Lodges will be able to use the Gazebo for events around the district via a booking system, whenever they need it, and it is an idea chance to get us our message out into the public arena.
I am asking each Lodge to consider donating $100 towards the cost of the Gazebo, if all thirteen Lodges contribute that is $1300 towards the cost, I have spoken to a generous Masonic benefactor who will donate $1,379.50 enabling us to buy the gazebo for all to use. I would like all Lodges to consider this request and to support this campaign, it will benefit your Lodge, the district and NZ Freemasonry.
So far we I have received $100 pledges from Lodge Otaihape, Te Awahou, Rangitikei and Manawatu Kilwinning
The above image is not the finished gazebo, it is my impression of what it might look like.
19 February 2020
I was privileged to be invited by the Petre Lodge to officiate at the installation for VWBro. Colin Making PDistGM. Colin was going into his second year as master and has proved his worth in the previous twelve months. Daytime Lodges serve our retired brethren who appreciate daytime social interaction with friends.
The survival of daytime Lodges is high on my list of priorities as I believe they serve a great service to Freemasonry in our district. The struggle is we are now expected to work well beyond retirement and many are unable to attend a daytime Lodge, hence a fall in membership. I wish Colin all the best for the next twelve months and will give him my full support.
As shown in the Ruapehu Reporter March-April Edition 2020
"Time has passed with regular ease and we are now well and truly back into our Masonic year. I have just completed by first full board installation for WBro. Puki at Lodge Rangitikei No.38. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to that evening, Grand Lodge, officers, members, visitors and Rima’s Mum. There was standing room only in the Marton Freemason’s Hall, and impossible to squeeze another Mason inside. I think we witnessed one of the greatest attributes of Freemasonry that evening, to please each other and to unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.
The famous soccer player Pele once said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” Between 1995 and 2001 I had lost my love for freemasonry, it was something I didn’t enjoy, until I was persuaded to re-join by a Past Master at work and I slowly regained that initial fascination and later love for the craft. So, I fully understand why sometimes Brethren get disillusioned and disappear from Lodge, especially our Master Masons, that is why I need to ask every Brother in our district to ensure we provide for the needs of all, regardless of rank or age. Happy, content, interested men have less reason to want to leave Lodge. All I ask is for you to be a genuine Brother to a Brother, communicate happiness regularly, be an active mentor and social companion, and all will benefit in the end"
18 February 2020
I was delighted to be able to congratulate Bro.Steven Frederick Meredith on his initiation into Freemasonry and into The United Wanganui Lodge no. 468.
In this Pic: The Master of the Lodge WBro. Pat Tasker, Bro. Meredith and Junior Deacon Bro. Watene
We have a talented photography in our midst, this snap was taken by Brother Ainsley Watson at the Rangitikei Installation, simply named the five Reverends, it certainly captured the essence of Freemasonry at Lodge Rangitikei, and makes for a compelling story!
16 February 2020
As many of you know we have created a social club to enhance our Freemasonry, called the 'Speculative Guild of Gentlemen' the purpose is to bring Freemasons together for social activities within our district. The SGG is based on the Light Blues Club in the UK which is very successful. Not being content with us men having all the fun my wife has created the 'Speculative Guild of Ladies' and has arranged the first of many outings to enhance social friendship among our partners and wives. I am currently working on the web site which should be hosted in a few months. The groups are in the experimental mode at present, but we expect these to grow, hopefully nationwide.
13 February 2020
There was standing room only at Freemason's Hall, Wellington Road, Marton, when eighty six Freemsons packed the Lodge room to witness WBro.Rima Wakarua Tamaiparea-Puki installed into the Master's chair. I cannot remember the room so packed with Masons from far and wide. Rima had joined Lodge Hillcrest in 2007, passed in 2008 at Lodge Pukemiro No. 301, and raised in 2016 at Lodge Rangitikei No.38. Rima is also a member of both Lodge Otangaki No. 70 and The Petre Lodge No. 457. This was also my first installation, with a full board and a very large audience, a real baptism of fire!
I would like to thank everyone that made the day so memoriable for WBro. Puki.
19 January 2020
On Sunday the 19th of January I held my first District Meeting, which was very different from the ‘norm’ because we started at 8am with a wonderful BBQ breakfast and the ladies were invited. I would like to thank Bro.Dean Harris and WBro.Mark Kitchin from Rongotea Lodge, who provided venison and made the sausages and patties, free of charge. Also, thanks to WBro. Lockyer and WBro. Lowen for the extra gas BBQ and their cooking skills, and not forgetting Jo who made the scrambled egg and toast in the kitchen.
The meeting started at 9am, attended by twenty-eight Masons and ten wives. Apologies were received from twenty-seven Brethren.
The meeting consisted of the following items:
• My role as DistGM
• National Strategic Planning.
• Charity Matters.
• Social Engagement.
Unfortunately it was Wellington Anniversary weekend which accounted for the low numbers of Lodges represented, this was unavoidable due to my personal comittments on other weekends. I hope to see many more of us at the next meeting.
On the 14th December The Almoner of Lodge Rangitikei No.38, Bro. Winder, accompanied by my wife Jo, visited the good nursing staff of Wanganui Hospital. The purpose of the visit was to spread a little Christmas cheer to the hard working staff that had looked after so many Freemasons. John had money donated by his Lodge, Grand Lodge, the Local Doctors in Marton, and other personal donations. Santa's two full sacks contained a multitude of goodies, of which there was honey, sweets, and surgical light pens. Jo had been in intensive care for 39 days at the beginning of the year, and was so grateful to be able to give something back to the nursing staff that looked after her.
The November Grand Installation was a magnificent affair as always, but now it is well and truly behind us, it is time to look forward to 2020. Since being invested, I have had the absolute pleasure in being present for no less than six long service awards, presented two Master Mason’s certificates and presented some of our new Grand Lodge Officers with their new warrants, and all before Christmas. Many of our Masonic buildings are precious and beautiful in design, for generations they have served to inspire hundreds of Freemasons, some are a frayed around the edges and require much needed attention for future generations to enjoy. Our Masonic buildings should reflect us as an organisation so the news delivered by the ‘Building Committee’ representatives in late November concerning the purchase of 28, Amesbury Street signalled a new and exciting era for NZ based Freemasonry in the Manawatu, and it is my hope that all the Lodges concerned pull together in a positive fashion, towards the completion of a modern, attractive and well maintained facility. I will be holding a District Meeting early, on Sunday the 19th of January, combining it with a BBQ breakfast, so we have both business and pleasure. Please put this date in your diary and I hope that all Lodges openly encourage your newer and younger members to join us than traditionally happens. An invite and agenda will be emailed out soon. We will be meeting early so not to ruin the whole day. Hopefully all the Lodges have been working on the information contained in the ‘National Strategy’ booklet and are on their way to completing the details for Year One? By the end of February every lodge should have completed this first stage and be able to share their vision with me. Copies of the booklets ‘the Strategy and the poster ‘ are readily available from National Office and I am more than willing to either help you myself or designate someone to help you to complete your future vision if you wish. If not too late? It just remains for Jo and I to wish you, your wives, partners and families from the bottom of our hearts, a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year, and I look forward to working with and communicating with you in 2020. Fraternal Regards
If you have never been to Hamilton Gardens, you have missed a treat. It is one of my favourite places to visit, and I find as a keen gardener drawn to the place. I have known for some time that the Freemasons Foundation have donated to the gradens, but I was plesantly suprised to see the new garden "The 18th century Picturesque Garden" was sponsored by our organisation, and that it was based on the Magic Flute one of the operas written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
If you walk around you will see several indications of a masonic influence, such as a rough Ashler and a smooth Ashler, as well as pillars and heavenly canopies.
On the 4th December I had great pleasure in presenting Bro. Tom Stirling RoH with his 60year bar and certificate. Tom was initiated into the St.Andrew Kilwinning Lodge in 1959, Tom was also awarded the Role of Honour in 2000.
Jo and I were invited by The Tongariro Lodge, UGLE to the Masonic Village in Wanganui to listen to a presentation of Opera by two very talented artists, as part of Wanganui Opera Week. I must admit opera in any form isn't really my choice and I was reluctant to go, but once there we suddenly found ourselves immersed in the music and actually enjoying ourselves! The Freemasons Charity are great supporters of Opera New Zealand and long may it continue! Jo and I will certainly be there next year and seek out more operatic productions in the future. Thank You Freemasonry for the support of these young talented people, we enjoyed every second!
On the 3rd December 2019 I presented WBro. Ian Russell Jamieson with his 50year Badge and certificate. Ian was initiated into Lodge Rangitane No. 369 on the 2nd September 1969 and was Worshipful Master in 1980.
28 November 2019
I was privileged to be able to accompany the new Divisional Grand Master to Pa Ka Ma Lodge, Palmerston North, in order to present four long service awards. The following Brethren were congratulated by RWBro.Pratt DivGM and a presentation made to each.
VWBro. John Dermott Buchanan PGC - 70 years, initiated into The Feilding Lodge No.41, on the 29th October 1949.
WBro. Ray Gordon Thorburn RH – 70 years, initiated into Pa Ka Ma on the 20th September 1949.
WBro. Ralph Corkindale PM - 50 years, initiated into The Palmerston North Lodge No. 383 on the 11th November 1969.
WBro. Thomas David Pearce PM - 50 years, initiated into Lodge Pa Ka Ma 27th November 1969.
Thank you to all those family members, friends, partners, wives and Freemasons that attended.
20 November 2019
On the 20th November I witnessed Brother Hayden Gear, initiated into Freemasonry by the Brethren of Rongotea Lodge No.146. Hayden is keen to be part of the Lodge. it is good to see the Lodge able to recruit good young men into the craft. Left: Bro. Hayden Gear, Right: Bro Dean Harris
The Grand Installation in Wellington for those that have never experienced it, is a most wonderous affair, and it is a shame that not more of the Freemasons of our District attend and miss out on such an occasion. I took great pride in seeing WBro.Pennell and WBro.Tagoai being invested as our District's, DistGDC and GS, WBro.Baggott GS unfortunately not able to be with us on the day and was invested in his own Lodge a few weeks later. Not only is the weekend of the Grand Installation a grand ceremony, it is also a chance to relax among friends and enjoy their company whilst in the capital city. I would urge every Mason to experience the weekend next time, I know I will.