Introduction - It is with a heavy heart that I write this update for the website as I return from the funeral of W Bro Geoff Evans, District Grand Director of Ceremonies, for the Counties - Hauraki District. Geoff has been a wonderful Freemason and he will be deeply missed by his family, the District, the Division and in particular, by his District Grand Lodge team.
It has been another exciting time of activity within the Division and I have been pleased to have the opportunity of attending the Belmont Albion Lodge Scottish night and the opportunity to talk to the members in attendance about the role of Divisional Grand Master and how I have found the first year in the position.
I enjoyed a very pleasant evening with the members of Te Marama Lodge when they celebrated their pending closure with a final night meeting and dinner that included the ladies and friends. The worshipful Master, W Bro Alan Harrop explained the history of items of furniture within the lodge room - much of which was in excess of 100 years old.
Of course, the highlight for the month has been the consecration of the new Waikato Lodge number 475 conducted by the Grand Master and the celebratory dinner to follow. I have been able to join as a foundation member of the lodge and look forward to its prosperity and implementation of the plans the membership of this new lodge propose. The joining membership as the lodge starts is almost 100 members.
Director National Office – We have been pleased to receive news this month of the appointment of Gareth Turner as the new Executive Director of Freemasons New Zealand. I have been advised that Gareth will start his new role on the 20th of November 2017 and I look forward as one of the Divisional Grand Masters to working with him on the implementation of national initiatives and progressing freemasonry with his guidance. The appointment also signals the end of our current Chief Executive Officer, Laurence Milton’s term of office and I know you will join with me in wishing him well in all his future endeavours.
Divisional Team Meeting – I am pleased to confirm the active Divisional team members will be meeting in Auckland on Saturday, 2 December 2017. We will be discussing our progress within the Division and to review our performance during the first year of office. These are very useful meetings and provide the opportunity for us to engage in open discussion on a wide range of matters that impact the whole Division. I will look forward to reporting the outcomes in due time.
Divisional Website – I continue to be most pleased with the way you are accessing and using the Divisional website. In particular, the increasing number of lodges using the calendar to promote their meeting night activity and those of you who have lodge newsletters attaching them to the site for the general interest of members throughout the whole Division and indeed New Zealand. I would like to see all Lodge calendar updates recorded on line and our secretaries using the reporting portal for dispensations and meeting night reports to National Office. I would just caution at the moment that we are experiencing some issues with the dispensation portal and Russell Pratt is doing his best to correct the problem. However, in the meantime I recommend that you follow up if you do not get a response as expected to your request. I must continue to record my appreciation for the outstanding work of Russell Pratt in updating and managing - not just our Northern Division site but those of the other two Divisions as well.
Grand Lodge Installation Victoria – The Grand Master will be representing New Zealand at the Grand Lodge of Victoria Installation being held in Melbourne from Friday the 6th to Sunday, 8th of April 2018. I am pleased to confirm that Kate and I will be attending on this occasion. There is an open invitation for members of the craft to support the Grand Master on these visits and, from my previous experience, I would recommend if you have the time to join the delegation, you will find it a great experience.
Conclusion – I will be away in Australia next week returning on Monday, 13 November 2017. In the meantime if there are any matters you require a decision or information please contact the Divisional Secretary, VW Bro Ken Galley or the Divisional Treasurer, VW Bro Mike Cadman and I am sure they will be able to assist.
In the meantime, as always, I thank you for all that you are doing to promote Freemasonry and I look forward to catching up with you as opportunities present.
RW Bro Gary Salmon
Divisional Grand Master
Brethren it seems only such a short time ago I was reporting on activities for the month of July. However, for me, August has been a special month as I celebrated my birthday by taking the family and grandchildren to Surfers Paradise for a week of sunshine and fun with the children at the various entertainment parks on the Gold Coast.
Immediately prior to my trip to Australia I had the wonderful opportunity of being formally received as Divisional Grandmaster into the Auckland District by VW Bro Dennis Waller on the occasion of my own lodge – Arawhaiti - installation. I was further honoured by the opportunity to conduct the investiture ceremony of W Bro Andrew Alexander and it was very special occasion.
I also had the privilege last week of presenting the address to the master at the United lodge when W Bro Matthew Delaney was installed as the new master. Matthew is a member of the Order of St John and I have worked with him for some years, so this was another special night for me.
The Grand Masters visit to Lodge Copunicus was a great success and enjoyed by the members of the lodge, partners, a strong line-up of visiting Masters and brethren and a good number of Grand Lodge Officers to support the District Grand Master VW Bro Don Seath.
As promised last month we have finalised the details of our divisional plan and I have it available now in the form of a “plan on a page”. This is the summary version of our more detailed document covering all our intentions but within just one page of text. I am in the process of arranging for it to be added to the website for permanent reference and will be reporting against progress at our divisional conferences and when I have the opportunity to visit your areas.
I am most pleased with the response that continues from our members visiting the divisional website and the lodges that have loaded their calendar of events providing easy access for members throughout the division and indeed New Zealand. I would encourage all lodge secretaries to ensure their programmes are entered into the calendar section of the website and made available to the wider membership.
Divisional Conference 2018:
I am pleased to confirm that we have now agreed the date for our next divisional conference will be Saturday, 21st of April 2018 and will be held at the same venue as last year, the Alexandra Park Raceway facilities in Green Lane. We are working on a programme that I hope will be of interest to the widest possible number of members and partners. In the meantime, if anyone has specific ideas of how to improve the format of the divisional meetings then please don’t hesitate to communicate with me. I do want a programme agreed before the end of this year so there is plenty of time for everyone to plan coming to the meeting.
Brethren there is much happening around the division and I am so grateful for all that you are doing to openly promote Freemasonry in this division. The recent Field days and Bay of Plenty show displays are just two great examples of district activity that is taking Freemasonry to the public.
We are now looking forward, in October, to the formation of the new Waikato lodge being established after three existing lodges have decided to close in favour of the new entity. The change provides such great opportunity for the lodges based around Hamilton and it will be an interesting time for members of the new lodge to show initiative and leadership within the district.
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master
Well it’s been another very busy and active month in Northern Division with such a lot of interesting and enjoyable activity throughout the Districts. I have also been busy trying to complete the landscaping of my section and I must say it reminds me that I am not as young as I once was. The shovelling of soil and carrying macrocarpa logs has tested my resilience somewhat. However, its mostly completed and I am happy with the outcome so can take a bit of a rest from that for now.
Grand Master Visits
The Grand Master has been visiting our Division and presenting long service badges to distinguished brethren. In particular, his visit to Hamilton to present RW Bro Athol Thorpe, Past Grand Warden, with his 75 year service bar was a special occasion. What an unbelievable achievement and although I missed the presentation due to a 24-hour stomach bug it was a great night and enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately, following the evening after returning home Athol had a fall and ended up in hospital. I am however pleased to report he has now recovered and back home. The Grand Master also made a presentation of a 70 year service Bar to W Bro Jack Matthews during a visit to the Okara daylight lodge in Whangarei on the occasion of their installation. The District very much appreciated having the Grand Master in the north again – we have had some very good press exposure as a result of the Grand Masters visits to the District.
I had the special privilege of being formally received into Lodge Hillcrest 276. Hillcrest is the lodge I served my term as Master and it will be one of the lodges closing when the new Waikato lodge is consecrated next month. This was a special privilege and I am most grateful to the District Grand Master VW Bro Don Seath for arranging this for me.
I also had the opportunity of visiting Lodge North Harbour on the occasion of their double second-degree working, conducted by Masters from throughout the Auckland District. It was another great night, well attended and fantastic to see two young candidates progressing in Freemasonry.
I have further had the opportunity of visiting the Counties-Hauraki District, attending lodge Tironui installation and what a special thrill to see the Master, Immediate Past Master, the Wardens and Deacons, all under the age of 30 years. See photo below:
I will be going to the Whitianga Lodge installation this weekend and visiting the Bay of Plenty District on the occasion of the Gate Pa Lodge installation next week. So it all adds up to a great month of Freemasonry in Northern Division.
You might have noticed on the homepage of the website that we have now had almost 10,000 visits to the site since it was launched in mid April this year - less than six months ago. This is a fantastic result and I am so pleased the website is proving popular with our members and to have contacts from all over the world visiting. In particular, I note there are five (5) lodges that have their own website links listed.
I also encourage you all to look at the website calendar and note the good number of individual lodges that have listed their activities for all to see. This is excellent progress and I hope you will all maintain the momentum and for those lodges not currently listing their monthly programmes in the calendar I encourage you to do so. It enables anyone looking to see what you are doing and when you are meeting.
New Waikato Lodge
It is most exciting to be part of the initiative in Hamilton to form a new lodge to be called Waikato Lodge. While it is sad for the three lodges handing in their charters the new lodge will open with a membership of 98 members and has the potential to do great things. I will be a member of the lodge and hope to contribute to its future development and activities. The consecration will be on Saturday the 14th of October 2017, at the Grey Street Masonic Centre.
Appointment of Lodge Representative to Divisional Conference
The Grand Secretary has this week sent to all Lodge Secretaries a notice advising the registration of Lodge representatives to Divisional conferences providing the authority to vote on remits. At our last year’s conference some members expressed disappointment at not being able to vote due to not being registered. Can I please ask that each lodge takes early notice of the need to register a representative so your lodge can exercise a vote on remits presented at the conference to be held early next year.
I am reminded that daylight saving starts this weekend and I hope that makes us start to feel a bit better after a very wet winter. It also signals the closing months of the year are ahead. I don’t know about you but I seem to have a lot of things to do over the next three months.
I look forward to catching up with some of you as I have opportunity and in the meantime let’s keep up the good work in your lodges.
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master
Brethren it has been another busy month of activity for me on divisional business and I am pleased to summarise some of the activity of the last few weeks.
Firstly, I had the opportunity of presenting a past masters bar to the immediate Past Master of The Ponsonby Lodge number 54 at their installation last week. This was a special privilege because I was the installing master when W Bro Jeasy Sehgal was installed into the chair of his lodge two years ago. Jeasy has been a good Master and this has been highlighted by the lodge’s recent quadruple initiation ceremony attended by many Auckland brethren.
Since my appointment as Divisional Grand Master, I have established a Divisional administration team to assist me with the administration and organisational duties required of the Divisional Grand Master. We started with the Divisional Secretary VW Bro Ken Galley and the Divisional Treasurer VW Bro Mike Cadman and more recently have included in the team VW Bro Mike Wyse a past District Grand Master from Auckland East District and W Bro Paul Sargison who has a senior management background and brings accounting and business skills to the team. There is much to do behind the scenes to ensure the Division performs well and I am very grateful for the support of these brethren making a commitment to monthly meetings where we discuss Divisional activity and plan for future events.
Following the Divisional team meeting in Auckland last month we have continued to work on the development of a summary overview of the Divisional Plan and develop a format that can be easily disseminated to you all. I am pleased to confirm the “Plan on a Page” is now being peer-reviewed and I look forward to disseminating it to you all in the next few weeks. It is a high-level summary of the intentions that we will focus on during the next 2 ½ years. I hope you will agree the content covers those facets of freemasonry in the Northern Division that deserve focus and attention, and that you will support the Plan by adopting a focus on those targets that will be of benefit to your own lodges.
We have just this weekend enjoyed the celebration of 50 year badge presentations to Bryan and Bruce Wigg, when the Grand Master was formally received into the Coromandel Lodge for the occasion. There were more than 200 Freemasons from across New Zealand, with their wives, family, and friends in attendance at a specially prepared Lodge room at Toll Stadium, Whangarei. Bruce and Bryan Wiig were originally from Bluff, and were initiated into Freemasonry on the 15th July 1967 in Lodge Fortitude No 64. Bruce now lives in Auckland with wife Carol, and Bryan in Whangarei with wife Marie. Northland, District Grand Master, VW Bro Kevin Burch received and welcomed the Grand Master, MW Bro Mark Winger and 48 Grand Lodge officers.
I take this opportunity to thank the Coromandel Lodge for hosting the event for Bryan and Bruce and for agreeing to hold it in Whangarei. It will prove to be one of this year’s signature events and greatly enjoyed by all who had the opportunity of attending.
I will be in Australia from the 4th – 9th of August 2017 celebrating a birthday with my family and grandchildren. If you require anything during this time please contact the Divisional Secretary who will direct you accordingly.
I continue to appreciate and thank you for all that you do to promote Freemasonry and all the great things that are happening throughout the Division. I look forward to joining with you as time and opportunity permits during the next month.
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master
Brethren I have enjoyed the past few weeks and the opportunity to visit a number of Lodge Installations. I have greatly enjoyed the visits and I thank you all for your generous hospitality. We had a wonderful night in Thames at the Walter Scott Installation, followed by Ara 1 in Auckland and then last Saturday the Coromandel Lodge Installation at Papakura.
However, the highlight of the past month has been our Divisional team meeting which we held in Auckland on 10 June, and with the exception of the Grand Lecturer, VW Bro Mark Hall, who was overseas, all members were in attendance. It was a full agenda of discussion, the intention of which was to clarify working arrangements and importantly to discuss a draft Divisional Plan. We all enjoyed the opportunity of sharing recent experiences in our current roles and I am sure by understanding each other’s circumstances it will make for a harmonious team effort as we progress with supporting Divisional activities.
As a result of our meeting discussions, it is clear there is a significant amount of activity throughout the Division and our Districts are in generally good heart. We are now looking forward to the next significant event for the Division on 15 July 2017 when we have the opportunity of being in Whangarei with the Grand Master, for the occasion of 50 year presentations to Bruce and Bryan Wigg. I understand that current registrations indicate there will be about 200 members and partners attending, so we look forward to a very enjoyable weekend of masonic celebration.
I continue to thank you for all that you do in the name of Freemasonry and look forward to seeing you when I have the opportunity of visiting your lodge.
Firstly I take this opportunity to thank all of those who made the effort to attend our Divisional Conference and I trust that you enjoyed the day and found the content of discussion useful. I hope that you’ve been able, in particular, to share with the members of your lodge the presentation from W Bro Russell Pratt on the Divisional website. I must say, it is very encouraging to see the number of our members who are visiting the site and I am sure you are being rewarded with a wide range of useful and interesting information. I take this opportunity to thank all of those throughout the Division who have been contributing various articles and news items that have been used nationally and locally.
I recently had the opportunity of joining members from the lodge of Peace in Auckland on the occasion of their scholarship presentations. It was again another fantastic evening celebrating our charitable activity and meeting such wonderful and talented young people that give us confidence that we have such developing talent and skills ready to lead this country, our various business and innovation developments in the future.
I have more recently been somewhat busy with my St John activities, a number of which have occupied weekends and limited my ability to be out and about visiting with you. I am about to leave for South Africa on 19 May for a week of International St John business and I look forward to being more actively involved on my return.
It is encouraging to hear from our District Grand Masters that work in the districts is progressing in such a positive manner. I am pleased also to confirm the Divisional leadership team will be gathering in Auckland on Saturday, 10 June for a meeting to further synchronise our activities and support for each other.
In the meantime, I extend to you all my very best wishes and urge you to continue to “Speak up for Freemasonry” and take advantage of all those positive things that are happening around this at this exciting time.
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master
Brethren is my intention to communicate with you through this page on our website keeping you up-to-date with my activity and visiting programme, as well as special promotions that will be of interest to the Division from time to time.
I take this opportunity to thank the members of Lodge Te Papa, in the Bay of Plenty for their hospitality last week when I had the opportunity of attending their installation ceremony and presenting the address to the Brethren.
On 1 April the members of Nau Mai Lodge in Taumaranui enjoyed the opportunity of hosting the Grand Master. I know they appreciated the commitment of MW Bro Mark Winger and his willingness to travel to Taumaranui and being received into their Lodge.
The pressure is now building as we finalise the details of our day’s activity at the Divisional Conference next Saturday and I look forward to seeing as many of you in attendance as are able to make it. We tried to make the start and finish time such that Brethren travelling from out of Auckland can do so with some ease and I hope the programme on the day will be informative and useful to all those attending.
My Fraternal Best wishes
RW Bro Gary Salmon
Divisional Grand Master