My Masonic History...
I often get asked about my masonic career, where I was initiated and what I have done since becoming a freemason.
Here's a snapshot of my masonic careeer to date.
I joined Coronation Lodge No. 127 as a Lewis in 1983. I am very proud to be a fifth generation Freemason. I was Master of Lodge St Matthew No. 355 in Masterton in 1997; and again at Empire Fergusson Lodge No. 225 in 2010. I remain an active member of Empire Fergusson Lodge; am a member of Coronation Lodge No. 127; am a member of Waihenga St John’s Lodge (this was my father’s Lodge when he lived in the Wairarapa) and a member of the Research Lodge of Wellington. I continue to get immense enjoyment from my masonry; I particularly enjoy the philanthropic work we do as Masons.
Through my involvement as convenor for the Empire Fergusson Lodge Annual Whisky Tasting Night; and annual Quiz nights (and along with significant assistance from the Freemason’s Charity) I have been fortunate enough, with assistance from other members of my Lodge, to raise more than $250,000 over the past 10 years for both the Big Buddy Charity and the Vincent’s Art Workshop for which I was awarded a Gold Charity Jewel in 2015.
In May 2012 I produced the first web-based District Newsletter for the Hutt Wairarapa District - something I continued to produce monthly until February, 2015. In October of 2012 I also started producing a monthly web-based newsletter for the Eastland and Ruahine Districts (prior to their merger in 2016).
I am the webmaster for the Northern, Central, and Southern Divisional websites. Visitor numbers to all 3 websites exceeded 30,000 in 2019. I am passionate about the importance of effective communication and hell-bent on doing what I can to improve masonic communications; particularly at Divisional, District and Lodge level.
I also produce an annual “Proud to be a Freemason” publication showcasing all that is good and great about Freemasonry.
My “hobby” is .php software development. I have managed to leverage this hobby to develop a number of process enhancements for the Craft in conjunction with the Divisional Websites. This has included the development of systems to automate monthly lodge workings, and calendaring; automation of Lodge Dispensations; development of the Departed Merit Database; and development of the District Grand Master Portal system to reduce the ‘back office’ burden for District Grand Masters.
I was appointed to the Board of General Purposes in November, 2013. This is an annual appointment with a maximum term of 6 years. I was appointed to the “Book of Constitution Review Committee” in 2014 and the “Districts and Divisions Review Committee” in 2015. In my time on the Board I have taken a strong position on those matters which I believe to be critical to the strategic direction of Freemasonry in New Zealand. I was a strong advocate for the 2017 sale of Freemason’s House.
I was sponsor for a number of important initiatives to the Board during my term including:
1. Development of “The Internet Lodge of New Zealand”
2. Development of a Loyalty Card for Freemasons (through a separate committee chaired by RW Bro Steve Salmon, PDep GM).
3. Review of the role of Divisional Appointees for the Board of General Purposes
4. Development of an enduring succession plan for the management of Divisional Websites
In early 2018, after a competitive interview process, I took up the role of District Grand Master for the Kapiti-Wellington District a position made vacant through the untimely death of VW Bro Merv Johnston.
In 2019 I succesfully applied for the role of Divisional Grand Master for the Central Divsion - a position I took up in November, 2019 at the Grand Installation held in Wellington.
I have the ability to translate strategic initiatives into tactical and operational plans; and believe I have a collaborative and collegial style to the way I work. I’m confident that if we succeed as an organisation making Masonry relevant to 40 and 50-something year old men that our future will become more positive. What I am certain of is that our future won’t happen by mistake; it needs to be properly planned and executed; supported by a strong vision.
In 2015 I developed a paper entitled "The Future for Freemasonry in New Zealand. You can read it here.
I am very privileged to have been involved in recent years in a broad range of strategic, tactical and operational initiatives within the Craft. Exposure at both Board and District level has enabled me to round out my experience base. I understand the fine tuning and necessary tensions that exist at Lodge, District, Divisional and National level and feel well equipped to put my contribution on the table for the future benefit of the Craft.
Divisions and Districts need strong leadership now more than they have ever needed it before. Each Lodge in the Central Division enjoys a sound core of good men – a coalition of the willing – but each is seeking guidance, leadership and direction through empowered District Grand Master’s each equipped with the right tools, processes and skills. I believe I can positively contribute to that empowerment.
I am also privileged that my wife Tania is fully supportive of my involvement in Freemasonry. She continues to support me in whatever practical ways she can – and while we recognise that freemasonry is my love not hers, she regularly reminds me that she is barely a step behind me on this journey.
I strive for perfection in whatever I do. “Near enough” is never “good enough”. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions and make the tough calls. Freemasonry shouldn’t be either.