It has been quite sometime since I updated this page, but not for any other reason other than my main thrust has been to communicate through the main Grand Lodge website. Having said that, this is a good time to post a few comments that flow through from our recent Roadshows and the approaching Divisional Conferences.
We have almost completed the 10 Roadshows throughout New Zealand, and to achieve this over a 4-week period has been outstanding. We did have a few postponements due to the change in COVID-19 Alert Levels, but we have now caught up on these. I have been impressed with the attending numbers and the enthusiasm for change. The thrust for One Vision – One Goal and One Team has resonated well with the brethren, so I am confident that our path for change will be successful.
The answers to many of the ‘issues’ fall within the domain of the Lodge to address. Looking after and engaging with our newer brethren, properly hosting our visitors, and engaging with the community are so easy to address as low hanging fruit. Build these changes into your Lodge plan and keep your eyes on the bigger picture. As I have been saying – by making some changes in how we work will achieve thriving Lodges with engaged brethren and a growing membership.
This leads me to mention the Divisional Conferences which are about the commence. Full details have been circulated to all Lodges and have been published in the Freemasons Magazine. These Conferences are an ideal opportunity for brethren to engage in the affairs of the Craft at a local level. These are quite different to the recent Roadshows, and I encourage you all to register and attend. I will be attending all three Conferences so that I can meet with our brethren and see how we are going with the Lodge plans. Please make this a feature of your masonic year.
I was recently in Invercargill for the Dedication of the new Lodge rooms following the sale of the former building. This new facility will serve the District well for many years to come, and it was great to see the Lodges all working together to achieve a fantastic Lodge room that is spectacular in so many ways. It just goes to show that by working together we can achieve so much more!
Let’s continue the journey!
Graham J. Wrigley - Grand Master
Just when we thought that it was safe to go back into the Lodge room, COVID-19 appears again. It reminds me of the ‘Jaws’ movies where the monster keeps returning despite seemingly being killed off in the last scenes.
I don’t want this to be a movie, but I do recognise that the continuing resurgence is something that we will have to live with for a while. I also know that the impact of this virus is not only limited directly on Freemasonry, but also on the personal lives and families of each member. Some may have financial impact through business or employment, and others may have health or vulnerabilities that need to be managed safely. Whatever your personal circumstances, please stay strong. History shows that we do recover from these setbacks, and it has been for this reason that I have wanted to ensure that our Lodge rooms are a safe haven for us all. Please follow the government instructions and our guidelines as they are there for your safety.
In the small window that we had to return to Freemasonry, I have enjoyed the opportunity to make a few official visits. Three of these have been to Installations, where the incoming Master and I have enjoyed a personal connection. At The Waitohi Lodge No 111 Installation in Picton, I had the pleasure of investing our new Junior Grand Warden R W Bro Ian Musgrove who has replaced the late R W Bro John Dennison. It was great to see a full Lodge room. I am hopeful that over the next few months I can continue with these official visits to support our Lodges during this challenging time. In the meantime, please stay safe and follow the rules.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master
After 10 weeks of lockdown, restrictions, and frustrations, we have finally made it! Well done to everyone for the commitment to rid COVID-19 from our country. It looks increasingly likely that we will move to Level 1 sometime this month, and I am looking forward to that.
On reflection, it was an extremely hard decision for me to close the Lodges in March, but I do know that it was the right decision. I have received a lot of positive feedback, and when I decided to reopen from 1 June, I could almost feel the relief and newfound energy. Already I have received notices that Lodges are opening their doors, preparing for ceremonies, and encouraging visits to support other lodges that may be struggling with enough to open their Lodge. As we rebuild, support to each other is important. Please do not over think the way that we operate in Level two – it must be purely simply good old fashion common sense.
Over the next few days, each Lodge will receive a gift pack from me to help kick start their meetings. The pack contains hand sanitisers and wipes that will assist in maintain good hygiene. There will also be details of how you can directly reorder more supplies online that will be delivered to your door. The invoice for your purchase will come from National Office. We see this as a membership benefit, and the discount is good, so it will assist our Lodges in a simple and meaningful way.
And finally, please do not put any restrictions on Lodge meetings that are outside of the guidelines that we have issued. All decisions regarding the reopening of Lodges are to be in the hands of each individual Lodge and no one else. Please visit other Lodges to support them. Use Refectory to socialise, but also maintain strict hygiene and compliance with the Government requirements. Do not do anything that restricts the engagement of Lodges in Freemasonry.
This month I am being officially received into my Mother Lodge in Wellington Lodge Zetland No 312), so I am looking forward to that.
Take care and enjoy your Freemasonry.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master.
As Freemasons, we are all missing our regular meetings and the connection with our Brethren. Perhaps we have taken this for granted in the past, but although we are still in the early stages of the Level 4 lockdown, there are encouraging signs that we may be coming through this better than other countries. I certainly appreciate the commitment of all Freemasons in following the Government directions, and I know that in the longer term, this will be to our advantage.
Many will have seen my weekly short videos that are on our websites. It has been somewhat of a challenge making these and I must film them on my mobile phone, then send off a link so they can be edited and formatted ready for viewing. In the latest one (Video 4), I tried using a teleprompter, but have now concluded that I will never make a newsreader, so future recordings will all be unprompted and from the heart. I hope that you find these worthwhile and I would be interested in your feedback.
I am impressed with the exceptional innovation that is taking place for Brethren to stay connected. Virtual Masonic Gathering for education and knowledge are impressive and I congratulate you all for this. Social contact via Facebook and Zoom meetings are also proving to be worthwhile. I am looking forward to seeing the end of the lockdown and restoring the ability to once again sit in a Lodge room. There are also a good number of worthy Newsletters in circulation as well. Well done to you all.
On Friday 17 April, we will be conducting a live Questions and Answer session via the Freemasons New Zealand Facebook page. We expect this to run for about 30 minutes, and there will be the opportunity for Brethren to submit questions. Details about this will sent out in the next few days. Please take the opportunity to join with me and the Deputy Grand Master.
In the meantime, please stay safe and follow the rules. We all have a part to play, so let’s make it work for the wellbeing of our country.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master
I am very much aware of the frustration that we all share with no Lodge meetings and the need to stay home in ‘lockdown’. However, it is encouraging that we are moving closer to being able to make a decision about the reopening of our Lodges, and if all goes to plan, this should happen on 1 June 2020 – but it is not guaranteed just yet. Much will depend on the limitation or restrictions that will be announced shortly, and as soon as we know what these are, then I will be releasing my decision and guidelines.
Please keep watching the Grand Lodge website (or on this page) to see my short weekly videos as I have been using this medium to keep in touch with you all.
Last week we ran our second Facebook Live stream for the Annual ANZAC Commemoration Service. This has had an amazing 10,500 plus views and has been shared on numerous individual Facebook pages. Remember, that we are using this platform to also support the Returned and Services Association (RSA) as a fundraiser to offset their inability to hold the Annual Poppy Day Appeal this year. Personal or Lodge donations can be made via our National office and details are on our website. Please take the time to assist the RSA as many of our Brethren are veterans or members.
Over the last few weeks, I have been making random telephone calls to several our newer Brethren. This has been most enjoyable, and whilst a surprise to them, it was an opportunity to engage in a conversation that we would not normally do. Without exception, all appreciate that contact, and I was encouraged to hear how interested they were in Freemasonry, and the keenness to get back into the Lodge room. I do hope that I will get to meet the Brethren face-to-face soon.
And finally, please stay safe and remember that if you need any assistance, please contact the District Charity Officer. Do not be afraid to ask.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master.
The last few weeks have been challenging for us all, and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would close all our Lodges as Grand Master. I did so with a very heavy heart, but at the same time I knew that it had to be done. I am new in this role and was looking forward to getting out and about, but it now looks like that will be on hold until we pass through the other side of this pandemic.
I am no different to everyone of you. I enjoy my freemasonry and the social interaction with likeminded Brethren, but now, it looks like we are in this for the long haul. Some of you may have already seen my short video that is now on our websites. We did this as a part of continuing to communicate with our Brethren to ensure that we continue to keep everyone well informed.
My message was simply this. Please follow the government instructions and stay safe. Look after yourself, family and friends, but also think about our masonic Brethren who may, through personal circumstances, be more vulnerable than others. Do what you can to look after our brethren and the widows. Do their shopping. Telephone or connect in other ways with each other. If you want to practice some ritual, have a go online with Brother.
Visit our websites on a regular basis and engage. It is my intention to do a weekly video as a form of updating and connecting. It’s certainly not the way that I saw my term as Grand Master, but I know that I have to Step Up and Show Up for Freemasonry, so that when this is all over, we can seamlessly return to our Lodges and do what we do best.
Take care and look after yourselves.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master
As expected, January has been somewhat quiet for me, mainly because many Lodges are still in recess, but this will change in the coming months as Freemasonry steps into action. However, I have not been sitting still!
I had the fortune to visit ‘Camp Purple Live’ in Waikanae in mid-January and spoke to the 70 children who have Crones Disease, along with all the numerous doctors, nurses and volunteers. What a day that was. Freemasons have financially supported Camp Purple for several years through Lodge contributions and from The Freemasons Charity, and this was appreciated. Brethren would have seen in the news that Wellington Airport was fogged in on the Sunday with most of the Camp Purple attendees stranded. My thanks go to the Freemasons who stepped up and showed up by opening their Lodge room doors to accommodate those with nowhere to sleep for the night. Well done Freemasons of the Hutt Valley. Great compassion with excellent publicity all round.
I also sent my application off to get my ‘Freemasons Fuel Card’. What a great service this is, and I encourage all Freemasons and families to support this. As well as a good discount, I know that an additional 2 cents per litre from every purchase is also going to Freemasons New Zealand. My contribution might seem small, but as I said at the Grand Installation, working together we can do great things. I can also get good discounts for a large number of retailers as well.
In late February, I will be leading a Delegations to the Grand Lodge of Tasmania for their Grand Installation. If you have never travelled to Australia for one of these, please give it some thought. We also have the Grand Lodge of Victoria Grand Installation in April, so think about that as well. I would really welcome you all. Contact our National Office if you want more information.
MW Bro Graham Wrigley, Grand Master.
I have just returned from Hobart Tasmania attending the Grand Installation of their Grand Lodge. On this occasion I had 14 Brethren joining with me and 13 partners, so that is impressive. We had a fantastic time together that also included day trip down to Port Arthur. The hospitality from our Australian Brethren was exceptional.
Shortly, the next issue of our magazine ‘The Freemason’ will be in your letter box, so please keep an eye out for it. As we build on our strategic direction, we are now operationalising some of the important aspects that will help create the pathway for us all. Remember the comments that I made at the Grand Installation – that if we all work together, we can achieve so much more. Read the article as I am sure you will find it inspiring.
This month I have a couple of important events to attend. First up is to attend the Proclamation of ME Companion Graham Redman from Royal Arch. As First Grand Principal. I am looking forward to this event, as we are making good progress in promoting a seamless experience within Masonry. Again, working together is important.
Next, I have the centenary celebration to attend for Lodge Omarunui No 216 in Taradale Hawkes Bay, followed by the 150th Jubilee for The Cromwell Kilwinning No.98 in Central Otago. Congratulations to both Lodges on achieving these significant milestones.
Finally, I will be off to Melbourne at the end of the month for the Grand Lodge of Victoria Grand Installation. Would you like to join me? If so, contact the Grand Secretary for further information.
Graham Wrigley, Grand Master
I am a few days early, but welcome to the start of a new year. May this be a year of profit and pleasure for all Freemasons as we engage in our future by connecting well with our Lodges and the community.
Last month was busy for me, although most of the activities were outside of the Lodge room. Nevertheless, December was a most enjoyable month, and a nice way to settle into my term as Grand Master. I had the pleasure of attending two Gala Black Tie functions in Auckland where the Freemasons of New Zealand were well acknowledged for the long and meaningful relationship with the University of Auckland, and secondly with the Centre for Brain Research, also in Auckland.
I also attended the 150th Anniversary of the St Augustine Royal Arch Chapter No 1 in Christchurch, where I was joined by many families and friends for a modified Chapter Installation to mark the anniversary.
My final activity for the month was to attend a presentation to 40 young students taking part the “Powering Potential” programme funded by The Freemasons Charity and run by the Royal Society of Aotearoa New Zealand. This was an inspiring event to see the youngsters of today working collaboratively on vexing questions that inspire our world of tomorrow.
I know that January 2020 will be quiet Masonically, although I am looking forward to visiting Camp Purple in Waikanae along with several Local Freemasons. This is yet another fantastic opportunity for me to ‘Speak Up, Step Up, and Show Up’ for Freemasonry – as we all must do.
1 January 2020
The Grand Installation in Wellington on Saturday 16 November was a very humbling and emotional experience for me, as it would have been for the new team of Officers also invested. I wish you all well over the next three years as we share our journey.
If you have not already seen the YouTube video of the full ceremony, please take some time and have a look. You can view it by clicking here. Whilst it is quite lengthy, the impressive ceremony certainly puts Freemasonry in a good light. I was also interviewed on Face TV as a part of the “Speak up for Freemasonry’ campaign and you can view that episode by clicking here.
I do want to contribute on a regular basis to this forum, so please check back from time to time.
My message at the Grand Installation was to continue with Speaking up for Freemasonry, but also asking our Brethren to ‘Step Up’ and to ‘Show up’. Stepping up means becoming more actively involved within the Lodge and the community and to better engage with our Brethren, families and friends on all things masonic. Show up is a natural extension to ensure that we are more visible in our communities. Let the public know who we are and what we do.
Please don’t see these as a recruiting programme. Its more about being open and forthcoming so people see us as we are.