40 brethren and partners from across the Kapiti-Wellington and Hutt Wairarapa Districts enjoyed an enchanting charity dinner at The Estuary Te Onepu Restaurant on Friday 22 June.
This is an evening with a twist… as you are served up meals by cookery students as part of their final assessment for their qualifications - so they take it VERY seriously!
The Global Cuisine Buffet Dinner is undertaken by the Diploma in Cookery students. They are tasked with researching a chosen country, ordering ingredients then preparing and serving the dishes they created to the guests. The guests are encouraged to question the students about their dishes.
There were 7 hot dishes, three salads and two desserts, with more food than we could have ever eaten.
And as an added bonus the venue is BYO so you are encouraged to bring your own wine to enjoy with the meal.
To assist with the fundraising there were 2 raffles - one featuring a collectors bottle of Teeling 15yo whiskey; and the other was a selection of fine red wines. Congratulations to Sarah Milton who won the whiskey and to Keith Knox for winning the wine. Sincere thanks also to Peter Benstead who won the auction for a bottle of Moet and a bottle of NZ Nautilus.
Thanks to this being a District Project qualifying for a 2 for 1 subsidy from the Freemasons Charity a total of $5,400 was raised for the Wellington Soup Kitchen. VW Bro Duane Williams, Grand Secretary and member of Lodge Zetland has graciously agreed to manage the distribution of the proceeds to the soup kitchen.
The next event will be a degustation dinner - expected to be held in November.
When Divisional Grand Master, RW Bro Jim Watt asked me to represent him and the New Zealand Constitution at the Wellington Lodge - English Constitution Installation on 20 June I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
I shouldn't have worried though because it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Farouk Khan presided over the ceremony with the Installation being done, almost exclusively by the outgoing Master, Chris French.
The New Zealand, Scottish and Irish Constitutions were formally received and we made to feel most welcome. This hospitality extended to refectory where again I was made to feel most welcome.
I must confess to something of an ephipany when I was sitting in refectory with 60 or 70 brethren only to realise that as a mason of 35 years in this district that I knew less than 10 of them.
Frankly - the Craft can't afford the luxury of living in isolation of our sister constitutions. I understand that the New Zealand Constitution has for years been formally received at thus Lodge's annual installation. It's about time we returned the honour.
The picture at left is of incoming Master Steve Haultain.
More than 20 Grand Lodge Officers assembled at Lodge Windsor on Tuesday 19 June to assist me with the Installation of Peter Cross.
At 24 years of age Peter is amongst the 3 youngest brethren ever to be made a Master in a New Zealand Constitution Lodge. And to make things even more memorable he is a 4th Generation Master of this Lodge with his father, grand father and great grandfather all having been through the chair of this Porirua-based Lodge.
With only 24 members I was previously most concerned about the viability and future of this Lodge. At its peak Lodge Windsor was the District's largest Lodge with more than 250 members.
I am buoyed by how Peter carries himself - he delivered a pitch perfect reply to the Master's toast in Refectory. He is confident and articulate but with a natural humility.
If Peter can harness the personalities within his Lodge and through his efforts introduce a few new members then this will be a Lodge to watch.
Peter has my unfettered support and I will rally the resources within this great District to help him succeed.
The photo above shows Peter (second from left) with his Grandfather (Eion Wimsett), his father (Tony Cross) and cousin (Kirby Taylor).
Tania and I were delighted to attend a farewell evening for Mac and Denise at Lodge Te Puni Rooms in High Street Lower Hutt.
Mac and Denise are relocating to Nelson - and while we wish them the best of luck - they will both be such a sad loss to the District and the Division. Attending Divisional Conferences won't quite be the same with Mac and Denise no longer on the 'desk'.
The evening was such a delight - karaoke for those that were up to it - and a laptop smuggled into the robing room for those wanting to catch a glimpse of the French taking another hammering.
The evening was also attended by Divisional Grand Master, RW Bro Jim Watt, and Kapiti Wellington District Grand Master Rick Masterton - a tribute to the regard in which both Denise and Mac are held.
Two highlights for me were the extensive selection of fine single malts on offer (I just love the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben) and Tom Greaves on the Karaoke. Watch our Frank Sinatra.
Top marks to Ray Keenan for another fabulously organised event.
Freemasons New Zealand has given Coastguard Kapiti Coast $100,000 towards the purchase of a new rescue boat.
At a cheque presentation ceremony at the Kapiti Boating Club on Saturday, Coastguard Kapiti Coast president Rob Berry thanked the Freemasons, saying the donation was a "significant landmark" in the fundraising campaign.
The donation, and others from different organisations, would allow the Coastguard unit to continue its volunteer work of saving lives at sea.
"These donations aren't just for us, they're for the entire local community."
The new boat, costing just under $400,000 including tractor and trailer, would replace a 27-year-old boat that had spent her whole life as a Coastguard rescue vessel.
"She's served us very well over the years taking part in several thousand rescue searches and even more hours of training exercises.
"As we go out in all types of weather, and we build a strong affection for our boats, it will be sad to see her go, but the time is right for a new replacement rescue vessel.
"The new boat will be a huge leap in terms of layout, equipment and electronics as well as being faster, more economical and safer to operate.
"We anticipate this new vessel will serve us and the wider community for another 20 years or more."
Freemasons Divisional Grand Master Jim Watt said the community focused organisation had been keen to help after hearing about the project from Coastguard member Pete Woodward, who is also a Freemason.
The donation, raised over four years, was from all the lodges in the Wellington region and had been met dollar for dollar by the Freemasons Charity.
"None of the funds of the $100,000 cheque have come from the public, nothing has been done through public fundraising, everything has come from our own organisation.
"We hope the boat gives long service to you."
Coastguard central regional manager Lesley Slieker said the donation had been "inspirational to the unit" and a new boat would give it "a whole new era".
"Everyone who has given to this new boat has a part to play in our future.
"You have invested in us for which we're thankful.
"But I know someone who is going to be more thankful than we are and that's the boatie, or family, who are stuck out there [at sea] one night in the future, when it's cold, wet, rough and they think no one is coming, and then they see a rescue vessel.
"They're going to be more thankful than any of us can ever imagine."
Robyn Putt, from Heartland Bank, which has a strong association with Freemasons, praised the Coastguard.
"The work they do is truly lifesaving."
Construction of the new boat is expected to start in about two weeks time with completion late September.
Tania and I attended the special evening hosted by Westminster Lodge on Friday 15 June to showcase the amazing 4 month bike ride from Egypt to South Africa by Past Master of the Lodge, Marty Arrell.
From the time we arrived at 6.00pm until we left a little after 10.00pm it was non stop action. The evening started with drinks and nibbles and just after 7.00pm we commenced the meal in the Grand Dining Room at the Wellington Freemasons Centre. And what a banquet we were served.
The meal was followed by a most informative, often humorous account by Marty of his adventures that included being mugged; and being forbidden access into South Africa.
4 months of riding a bike in some of the worlds most extreme conditions was an amazing feat. I couldn't help reflecting on the fact that I grizzle to Tania about having to climb up the drive to clear the mail. Compared to having to cycle 000's of kilometres - I guess I have little room for complaint.
This is my second visit to Westminster Lodge in an many months and I can't help thinking what a great job Richard Illingworth is doing leading this fine Lodge. Stuart Brooker and his team at the Wellesley crafted a meal fit for royalty.
The 90 or so brethren and partners that were lucky enough to attend were truly treated to an evening of profit and pleasure. Freemasonry and fellowship at its very best.
I was really enjoyed visiting Hutt Valley Lodge No. 176 on June 12 to particpate in their District Fund Raiser.
These guys had really given this a lot of thought and there were a number of games and activities for having fun and contributing to their chosen charity.
Camp Purple (camps fopr children with Crohn's or Colitis) is an amazing charity and we were privileged to see a video on the the camps in action. Life changing.
Nearly $1,000 was raised on the night - and I am sure - that with the assistance of the Freemasons Charity - that amount could be doubled.
Congratulations to Rick Masterton and Steve Salmon. Not only did they raise some serious cash - but everyone had a fantastic time. Masonic fellowship at its best.
I have a very good feeling about Ngatiawa-Russell's incoming Master, Nigel Hillind (pictured at right).
Nigel's pedigree in Human Resources Management shines through in every aspect when you speak with him. Over the years he has found himself having to negotiate himself and his company out of complex HR issues so exudes an air of confidence and competence.
It is also great to work with someone who speaks so fondly and respectfully of his wife. I had the privilege of meeting Avril at a recent charity event - what a joy.
I've got a feeling that this dynamic duo may be all it will take to help cement this Lodge's future.
Since his Installation Nigel has been the "everywhere" man around the District and has quickly developed a great level of rapport with his peers in the District.
Watch our for this man - I don't think the District has seen the last of him!
It was a delight to install Gavin McArthur back into the chair at Lodge Mana on the 5th of June.
Gavin has been a master of this Lodge 4 times perviously - so this will be his 5th time.
Although the past couple of years have been a challenge for this Lodge - I understand that they have 2 or 3 candidates in the wings and are looking forward to seeing some sustained growth over the next period.
This Lodge is blessed with a slew of very capable Grand Lodge Officers so I am certain that any initiatives Gavin comes up with will have the full support of all of the members of this proud lodge.