Northern Division
LATEST COMMENTS FROM GLEN HARRIS - BAY OF PLENTY DISTRICT
August 2021

Greetings Brethren,

I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well while the Country goes through the latest Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.  We have all been through this before and the Gov’ts messages are unchanged.  If you have not already seen the Grand Master’s message he released last week, I encourage you to view it – the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXo9uDBCr70

Also at the time of writing this message, it is with great sadness to learn of the passing of RtW Bro Derek Meredith Past Grand Warden, following his long illness.  He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prays go out to Jenny and family.

Since my last Newsletter we celebrated a special milestone with W Bro Merv Wilson achieving 70-years service as a Freemason.  This occasion was suitably acknowledged by reflecting his active service in both Craft Masonry and Royal Arch, and representatives of his Mother Lodge, Lodge Wairoa 55 were also present.  Well done Merv!

The District also recently celebrated the installation of W Bro Mark Lamb as Master of Lodge Rotorua 153.  A good turnout to this installation ceremony which was conducted by Rt W Bro Bob Gainsford PGW.

The District Motorhome & Caravan Rally gathered to start its journey as planned at the Athenree Hot Springs on Friday 13th August, and we enjoyed the company of additional attendees on that weekend.  The Rally moved onto Miranda Holiday Park, however, the stay was cut short due to the Covid-19 outbreak and everybody returned to their respective homes.  A shorter than planned Rally but enjoyed by all.

The District Meeting was scheduled to be convened this Friday, however in line with Gov’t lockdown restrictions and the Grand Master’s message, this meeting is postponed until further notice.

It is no doubt we continue to live in uncertain times as we experience the impacts of this virus.  As we did during the previous lockdown, remember to keep in touch with each other, and Lodge Almoners ensure our Lodge Widows are also contacted.  From earlier experience it proved that the on-line Zoom platform was a good way to keep in touch, and to also undertake essential business transactions to keep a Lodge functioning.  Noting though, that any decisions made are to be ratified at the next available full Regular meeting.  Keep safe and keep in contact with each other.

Fraternal regards, Glen




July 2021

Greetings Brethren,

The winter months are certainly taking hold with colder temperatures being expereinced.  Remember, if unwell please stay at home.

Our Divisional Grand Master, RtW Bro Mike Hattie, undertook an officiail visit to the District on Saturday 10th July where attended the final meeting of Lodge Arawa 406 when their Charter was handed-in.  It was an emotional and solemn event including  Lodge memories being shared.  Although it was an end of an era for the Lodge, it was viewed as new beginnings for Freemasonary in the Rotorua area with the two Lodges merging to become one major Lodge.

While RtW Bro Hattie was in the District, he took the opportunity to invest two Officers of Grand Lodges into higher roles.  Those being:

It was acknowledged these promotions were well deserved to reflect the ongoing commttment and support these Brethren provide to their respective Lodges and to the District.

Recent Installation ceremonies within the District have included:

Recent presentations throughout the District to recongnise long service have included:

 

Our two Grand Stewards, W Bros Ross Jones & Kevin Carroll, recently represented the BoP District by participating in a 2nd Degree Ceremony that was undertaken by Grand Stewards of the Northern Division at The Ara Lodge 1.  Thank you for representing the District.

Upcoming events to note in your diary:

Investiture of W Bro Fergus Shaw

Remembrance of VW Bro Noel Whiley, PDistGM, to acknowledge his service in both Craft Lodges and Royal Arch.  Representatives from Auckland Lodges & Chapters will be in attendance.  Evening meal is being planned.

Investiture of Bro Mark Lamb

Hosted by Lodge Whakatane 198

Te Puke Lodge Rooms - Commencing at 7.00pm

You will be aware that Freemasons NZ Special Olympics is to be held in Hamilton from 8th to 12th December.  Individual Lodges and we as District can support local athletes by donating funds to support local Special Olympics’ Clubs.  Freemasons Charity will provide a 1:1 subsidy for Lodge raised funds and a 2:1 subsidy for District raised funds.  It is pleasing to hear that some Lodges are including this worthy cause as their charitable projects.

Brethren can also assist with the logistics of the event by registering as a volunteer – link to register: https://specialolympicsnz.rosterfy.co/invite/Freemasons_Volunteers

I look forward to your support for these events.

Fraternal regards, Glen




April 2021

Greetings Brethren,

It has been a good start to the year undertaking the Installation Ceremonies during the month of March, being:

I also during March had the privilage at Lodge Arawa # 406 Regular meeting to present Bro David Glen with an award of Roll of Honour to reflect his lengthy service as Treasurer to this Lodge and other entities spanning over three decades.  Bro Glen is a good example that a Brother does not have to become a Master of a Lodge to be a fully engaged member.  Well done Bro Glen!

The Northern Divisional Conference is being held at 155 Kyber Pass Road, Auckland, on Saturday 17 April commencing from 9.30am until 2.30pm.  There is only the one Divisional Conference for the current three-year term and all Lodges are expected to be represented by at least their Master or a representative.  Ladies are most welcome with a separate programmme organised.  The Grand Master will be present along with other National Office representatives.  If you haven’t already, you should register your attendance at your earliest opportunity.

Planning for ANZAC Remembrance for 2021 is well underway and I am aware of the following Freemasonry-related events:

“Empty Chair” Ceremony

“Empty Chair” Ceremony

There may well be other ANZAC remembrances that Lodges are involved with throughout the District, and if so, it is simply they have not been brought to my attention.

The upcoming Installation Ceremonies to be held during the month of April are:

Investiture of W Bro Brian Purvis, PGStdB

      Investiture of W Bro Mark (Snow) Williams

I look forward to your support for these events.

Fraternal regards, Glen




March 2021

Greetings Brethren,

At the time of writing this Newletter the District is in Covid-19 Alert Level 2. It means that Lodge meetings while at this alert level can continue, however, Lodges are to implement their Risk Mitigation Plan they developed last year.  These plans include:

The attendance at last month’s Grand Master’s Roadshow in Tauranga was near-full capacity and all Lodges throughout the District were represented.  The on-going trend of falling membership was highlighted and to mitigate this it was emphasised that Lodges needed to give urgent consideration to how they can modernise to meet the needs and expectations of younger Freemasons, and collectively we “Build Our Future”.  To assist with this process I advised that W Bro Ivan Perry has agreed to be the District Champion to assist Lodges with their planning to Build Our Future.  This appointment is a natural fit with his current role within the District Management Team by championing Development.  Lodges were encouraged to each establish a small team consisting of older and newer members for their Lodge planning, one of which to be identified as a Lodge Champion who will be the point of contact with Ivan, and will be given various respources to assist with the planning process.  I know some Lodges have made a positive start with potential ideas following the Roadshow, and I look forward to hearing from all Lodges as to who is appointed their respective Lodge Champion.

Last month also involved the inaugural Motorhome / Caravan / Tent Rally organised by Lodge Whakatane # 198.  It was a very enjoyable five-day social event travelling around the East Cape involving representatives of six Lodges.  During the period appointments were made of a “Sheriff” who tested daily geographical knowledge and fined for misdemeanours.  So enjoyable and with the benefit of getting to know each other a lot better, one of the wife’s asked “do we have to wait 12 months for the next Rally – can we have another one sooner?”  Watch this space….

The first of this year’s Installation Ceremonies are being held this month, being

         Re-investiture of W Bro Adrian Klein, PJGD

         Investiture of W Bro Todd Saunders

         (refectory to include a speaker: “Freemasonry in Japan”)

         Investiture of Bro Neil O’Brien

Finally, a reminder that Daylight Saving ceases Sunday 4th April.

Fraternal regards, Glen




January 2021

Greetings Brethren,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and the New Year is starting out as you have wished.  I certainly hope this year will be less disruptive than last year regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, though, I do not believe we are out of the woods yet and we should remain vigilant maintaining good hygiene and remember to stay at home if unwell.

My first official event for this year was on Thursday 14th January the pleasure to present a cheque to Camp Quality for funds provided by Lodges, individuals, and Freemasons Charity towards this District project.  Last year I presented a cheque for $20,000 and this year it was my delight to present a cheque for $23,000.

This is a tremendous achievement that we can be proud of, and to acknowledge Freemasons efforts Camp Quality presented to me this Certificate of “Thank You”.  Although the Camp Quality organisers were tight lipped on the actual location, it was confirmed the Camp would be held within the Bay of Plenty for the 2022 year.

Freemasonry activities recommence next month and starting of note is a double Initiation ceremony being held by Lodge Rotorua 153 at their Regular meeting on Tuesday 9th February.  What makes this meeting special is that the Master is initiating his two sons, and I encourage Brethren throughout the District if possible, to attend this memorable event.

All Brethren should have received a personal invitation to attend the combined Bay of Plenty / Waikato Districts meeting on Saturday 13th February where the Grand Master will be delivering the Roadshow “Building our Future”.  If you are interested in your Lodge’s future but have not already registered, I encourage you to register now.

The inaugural Motorhome / Caravan Rally organised by Lodge Whakatane 198 touring the East Cape is happening from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th February 2021.  If you have not registered but wish to attend, contact VW Bro Paul Henricksen.

The finalised District Grand Lodge Calendar covering all official events for the coming year is being distributed throughout the District.  One amendment from the draft version recently distributed is the date change for Lodge Te Papa’s Installation Ceremony.  Brethren will be advised of other changes as they occur.

Fraternal regards, Glen




December 2020

Greetings Brethren,

Since my last Newsletter we have undertaken the following Installation Ceremonies:

At the Installation Ceremony of Lodge Kaimanawa some members of the Brothers Keepers Chapter of the Widows Sons Motorcycle Group attended and participated in ceremony.  If there are Brethren throughout the District who may like to share their passion for motorcycle riding with other similar minded Brethren, you may like to consider contacting this Chapter through W Bro Peters.

You should have recently received details of a Motorhome / Caravan Rally that Lodge Whakatane 198 has organised.  It is a Rally inviting all Brethren and family throughout the District who have a passion for camping.  This inaugural Rally is touring around the East Cape departing Monday 22nd and returning Friday 26th February 2021.  If there is sufficient interest this event could become a regular occurrence exploring different locations.  Bookings and enquiries to VW Bro Paul Henricksen.

The first significant event for the 2021 year will be a combined Bay of Plenty / Waikato Districts Meeting to be held at Tauranga’s Masonic Centre on Saturday 13th February 2021 commencing 10.00am where the Grand Master and Executive Director will be in attendance for the Freemasons NZ - Building our Future Roadshow “One Vision, One Team, One Goal” for Thriving Lodges, Engaged Brethren, and Growing Membership.  So, if not already, place this event in your diary.  Current and future leaders of Lodges are encouraged to attend.

Another significant event to place in your diary is the Northern Divisional Conference to be held in Auckland on Saturday 17th April 2021 where “One Vision, One Team, One Goal” will also be a focus.

As we near the end of 2020 we can reflect on a year that was unrehearsed and presented unexpected challenges due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.  Lodges responded well to those challenges by maintaining contact with members and widows, offering help and support if required.  Although not out of the woods yet, it is pleasing to learn a vaccine is likely to be available early next year.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Brethren and families, and wish you all a safe and enjoyable time during the Festive Season.

Fraternal regards, Glen




September 2020

Greetings Brethren,

The highlights for the month of August in my mind were the Installation Ceremonies for two first-time Masters.

The District’s first Installation Ceremony since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown was held on Saturday 1st August to install W Bro Norm Kohlberger as Master for Lodge Whakatane # 198.

Then on Saturday 8th August W Bro Roel Austria was installed as Master for Lodge Rotorua # 153.  A unique occasion to have Roel’s family and friends including members of the Order of DeMolay, along with some members’ partners joining us in the Refectory activities.  An impressive DeMolay “Flower Talk” was delivered to the ladies present.

Last month saw Covid-19 raising its head again and the District reverted to Alert Level 2.  It was a timely reminder to not be complacent and remain vigilant with hygiene practices.  And remember, If Unwell – Stay at Home.  It also gave the opportunity for Lodges to reassess their risk mitigation planning and implement necessary interventions to make a Lodge meeting safe.

Due to varying circumstances including the uncertainties regarding Covid-19, two installation ceremonies scheduled for September have been cancelled for the 2020 year.  These being Lodge Katikati # 295 and Lodge Arawa # 406.

The remaining installation ceremonies scheduled for September are to continue as planned, and these being:

An aspect relating to Freemasons who are keen motorcycles riders; the installation ceremony at Lodge Kaimanawa is likely to be of interest as members of the Masonic Widows Sons will be present and involved in the ceremony.  An opportunity to learn about the Widows Sons.

Finally, remember Daylight Saving commences on Sunday 27th September.

Fraternal regards, Glen




July 2020

Greetings Brethren,

It is pleasing to see life including Freemasonry is returning to some form of normality.  By the end of July most Lodges within the District would have re-opened and planning their future activities.  However, we do need to remain mindful that Covid-19 is still rampant around the world so continue to be vigilant with hygiene practices.

During the month it was satisfying for me to invest W Bro Ian Mason as Past Grand Sword Bearer; a reciprocal rank within the NZ Constitution to acknowledge his past English Constitution Masonic activities.

Other milestones throughout the District that have recently been celebrated include:

The Officers of Grand Lodge are looking forward to the upcoming Installation Ceremonies being:

As previously advised, Lodge Katikati # 295 Installation Ceremony has been postponed to Monday 14th September.

Please support with your attendance at these installation ceremonies for these first time Master-elects.

Fraternal regards, Glen




June 2020

Now that life is returning to normal following the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, it is pleasing that we as Freemasons can meet again and enjoy the fellowship that our fraternity provides.  It was encouraging how Lodges remained in contact with their members and widows during the Covid-19 restrictions and provided support where it was needed.

The period of lockdown provided an opportunity for Lodges to trial virtual meeting technology.  From my own experience and the feedback I have received it demonstrated virtual meeting technology is a good platform to keep in contact with members, undertake business related conversations, and provide presentations without the need to physically meet.

Presentations that were arranged within the BoP District during this period included:

Since the lowering of the Covid-19 restrictions, Lodges have been undertaking conversations as to how to reopen whilst considering appropriate interventions for the health and well-being of Brethren and families.  Some Lodges have already reopened, and the remaining are reopening soon.  Although distancing is no longer a requirement, it is important to remember - if unwell, stay at home.

Conversations have also been occurring within Lodges to consider the options who had Installation Ceremonies scheduled but impacted by the restrictions.  Although the odd conversations are still occurring, most Lodges within the District have come to a decision relating to their 2020 Installations.  Accordingly, a revised GL Calendar for the balance of the 2020 year is being circulated.

You will note the first of the Installation Ceremonies post Covid-19 restrictions will be held from early August.  These being:

Please support these Lodges with their upcoming Installation of 1st time Masters and their Officers.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can over the coming months.

Fraternal regards, Glen