Brethren as the year draws to an end it is always interesting to reflect on the outcomes of our past 12 months activity. I will in due time be reporting a collective summary of divisional activities but suffice to say, it has been a busy a productive year for freemasonry in the Northern Division.
Since my last update, I have had the opportunity to represent the New Zealand Constitution at Scottish and English installations, the Waipa, Onehunga Maungawhao, and Copernicus installations. The presentation of two 50 year badges in Whangarei and the Grand lodge Annual Church service held at the Mount Roskill Chapel, where the Grandmaster read one of the lessons and approximately 80 Grand Lodge officers, their wives, partners and families were in attendance.
I note following; a few summary notes to update you on divisional activities that I trust will be of general interest.
Grand Installation 2019
You will be aware it is the Northern Division turn to host the Grand Installation next year. We have been working on the most practical manner in which that can be achieved, and to ensure that New Zealand is able to present the best possible celebration and investiture for the new Grand Master and Officers of Grand Lodge taking leadership of the craft for the next term.
We have therefore agreed, what we believe is the most practical solution. It has been agreed that we will share the responsibility for the event with the main focus for Northern Division being the Friday night welcoming function and the opening of Grand Lodge.
The Grand Superintendent of Ceremonies will oversee the business session, the ceremonial, MC the Saturday night banquet and the Wellington team will conduct the ceremonial of the Grand Installation. We believe this is a good solution and will provide the best possible outcome from the ceremonial performance and weekend activities.
Registrations are now open and I encourage you all to take advantage of the early Bird registration fees and lock in the date for this great masonic occasion and celebration.
Hokianga Lodge Refurbishment
During the year the Manukau-Westmere Lodge agreed to fund the interior painting of the rooms used by the Hokianga Lodge in Rawene. The building is the old Manukau-Westmere Lodge rooms that were relocated to Rawene many years ago. In addition to the lodge, the building is widely used by community groups and the work has been greatly appreciated by the local Lodge and the community. At the completion of the work a group of members from Manukau-Westmere made a fraternal visit to Rawene and were able to see the impact of their support. The Grand Master was represented by RW Bro Peter Muir and the team had a great time celebrating with the locals and inspecting the painting.
Divisional Team Meeting
The divisional leadership team met last week in Auckland and I was most pleased that everyone was able to be in attendance for the day. We had a full agenda of discussion and were grateful for the Grand Masters attendance for a short time.
District Grand Master Reports - An important part of the meeting agenda was reports from the District Grand Masters who all report considerable activities within their districts during the past year and in particular, the significant increased interest from good men wishing to join the craft. They are all confidently of the view this is as a result of the speak up campaign and clearly those lodges that are taking advantage of the opportunities are experiencing the greatest levels of interest.
Succession Planning - It is also a time for us to be working on succession planning and if anyone has a desire to progress their interest in a Grand Lodge appointment they should be talking to the district Grand Master and in the first instance, clarifying the commitment of the role. In The process of nominations will begin in January 2019 and we look forward to working with you all on positioning a robust team of new Grand Lodge officer’s to lead us through the next term.
District Seminars - We discussed changes to the Constitution which do not now require us to hold a divisional conference next year. I am concerned that we do not diminish our opportunity to communicate with you all and I was pleased to have the support of the divisional leadership team for a series of district meetings in March / April next year.
These forums will provide the opportunity for me to report to members the past years activity and statement of accounts, signal our intentions for the rest of our time in office and to provide opportunity for other matters from Grand Lodge to be communicated. It has been suggested, and I think a good idea, that we provide time for the Grand Almoner to conduct workshops to encourage a better understanding of the opportunities and process for attaining support from the charity. I will canvas later for other expressions of interest to contribute. In the meantime, I look forward to finalising arrangements in the New Year and communicating the programme and meeting arrangements to you all.
Divisional Charity - The report from the Divisional Grand Almoner showed that lodges have raised $45K and the charity provided $130K a total charitable contribution of $175K for the year to date. This does not include all your individual lodge donations that we don’t have collective visibility of. This is a great achievement and I congratulate you and thank you for advancing the charity performance of Freemasonry in this division.
Le Quesnoy Museum
The divisional team have committed to support the national charity project to raise funds for the Le Quesnoy Museum. The project has been introduced and supported by RW Bro Neil Ingram and our Grand Lecturer, VW Bro Mark Hall, and has the full support and encouragement of the Grand Master and the Board of General Purposes. I trust you will discuss this within your lodges and support them as you are able.
There is still much happening in Freemasonry as we wind down at the end of another year but I trust you will all take some time to rest, reflect on your past years masonic experiences, and prepare for another year of good progress within the craft.
The interest from good men wishing to join our fraternity is at its highest level in recent times and we must take advantage of the opportunity and to ensure we look after those who have joined us and make sure their journey and experience in freemasonry is a good one.
I want to thank you for your hospitality and friendship during the past year. It is greatly appreciated and confirms what a wonderful privilege it is to have the opportunity to serve as your Divisional Grand Master.
I extend to you all, your wives, partners and families, festive greetings and wish you a joyful and safe Christmas celebration, along with a time of rest and relaxation.
Fraternal Best wishes and Festive Greetings
RW Bro Gary W Salmon
Divisional Grand Master