It has been a time of celebration and regret in the Northern Division during the past few weeks.
I have had the opportunity of celebrating with our scholarship students in Wellington; we have seen announcements for the appointment of a Deputy Grand Master and my successor as the Divisional Grand Master; I have attended the 50 year badge presentation of RW Bro Peter Aspen, Past Deputy Grand Master, in Auckland; with the Grand Master making the presentation, but it is also with much regret I attended the Waihi lodge meeting when they handed in their Charter and the lodge closed for the very last time.
I am sure you all join with me in extending our most hearty congratulations to RW Bro Jim Watt, the current Divisional Grand Master for central division, who has been appointed Deputy Grand Master and most especially to our own VW Bro Mike Hattie, who has been appointed as my successor and I am so very pleased. Mike has been part of my divisional team for the past 2 ½ years and I know that he is well prepared and ready with new and refreshed enthusiasm to assist you with the development of your districts and lodges as we look to meet the challenges of the next three years.
I have had the opportunity of spending time with the Brethren of Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty districts, at the two district seminars held in Whangarei and Hamilton. I have been exceptionally pleased with the attendance at the seminars and in particular, the response to the new strategic plan and the resource material that is available for lodges to use.
I do urge you all to take ownership of the strategy and to ensure that your lodges use the material and develop a plan for your lodge during the year ahead. The new District Grand Masters will be particularly focused on making sure incoming and outgoing Lodge masters present a report on progress, against the past years plan and the plan for the year ahead.
We need to keep the momentum of the past couple of years moving and the plan will be a big part of that programme. We can prove in all divisions that a lodge with a plan is the lodge that is gaining membership and making good progress.
District Grand Master Nominee briefings
On this occasion, there is only one nomination for the position of District Grand Master in each district. However, the division is blessed with a team of talented and enthusiastic nominees and after a full briefing on the requirements of the role last weekend, they are all looking forward to your support through the election process and more particularly during the next three-year term of office.
There is still work to do once their positions have been confirmed as the support team of active officers are selected from, what in most cases is a competitive list of nominations.
Sky Tower Firefighters Challenge
The Sky tower firefighters fundraising activity raising money for the leukaemia and blood foundation, which is an annual event, with approximately 1000 participants climbing the steps of the Auckland City Sky Tower. This year we have been pleased to support W Bro David Piper, with some funds from the old East and West districts project account. We are in the process of dispensing a small amount of remaining funds and we were pleased to support David with a donation of $2000. David has advised me the total raised from his efforts was $5,300.
Much of my time at present is directed at arrangements to ensure we achieve the smoothest possible transition of the Division and Districts to our successors. We have a divisional training and induction day planned for later in the year and it will be important to ensure the new teams are fully prepared and ready to take over their various duties with effect from the Grand Installation.
I continue to remind you all of the Grand Installation and hope that everyone who is able will make an effort to be there, and to support the members from this division being invested, as well as enjoying the great camaraderie that is always a big part of the weekend.
As always, I look forward to having the opportunity to visit your lodge or district and to meeting with you as time and opportunity permits. Thank you again for all you are doing for Freemasonry in your area.
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master