Our Club
The Rotary Club of Whanganui North meets every Wednesday at the St John's Club, Glasgow Street in Whanganui. It currently approximately 50 members and welcomes enquiries as to how you might get involved.

Rotary was founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, a Chicago businessman, initially as a friendship group. Because the meetings were rotated around various business offices the name "Rotary" was coined and gradually the movement spread around the world as Rotary International (RI).

We have a record of sponsorship of young people in personal development courses, eg. RYLA and RYPEN, frequently surprising us in the transformation that a course can achieve for a young person in a short time.

Our History

Whanganui North Club

The Beginning In 1957, Alan Brown, president of Whanganui Rotary Club, suggested in his report to the then District Governor (D.G.) that he felt Whanganui could support a second club.

After a preliminary survey he was appointed by the next D.G. to be a special representative to carry out an extensive survey of the Aramoho and Whanganui East areas and report.

By visiting these areas and noting every business that could support a prospective Rotarian, 76 classifications were identified. A report to Rotary International saw a sanction for the formation of a second club.

Whanganui Rotary Club members granted an amendment to their constitution to release the Aramoho-Whanganui East areas from their territory.

A committee of Whanganui members was set up to get the new club into operation. They then approached men they considered would make the nucleus of a club, inviting them to a meeting where the meaning of Rotary was to be explained. They were asked to submit the names of prospective members. This general meeting was held in All Saints Church Hall, Whanganui East, where President Allan Kitchen and several members of the Whanganui Club spoke on "What is Rotary". Twenty-four charter members were signed up. This was the birth of The Rotary Club of Wanganui North: October 28th, 1959.

The Club charter was presented on Saturday, February 20th, 1960.

The Founder

Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, USA on April 19th, 1868. He received a Bachelor of Physical Culture and LL.D. degrees from the University of Vermont and an LL.B. from the University of Iowa. He received an honorary Ph.D. in 1933 from the University of Vermont. He was decorated by the Governments of Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and France.

Paul worked as a newspaper reporter, a business college teacher, an actor and a cowboy. As a salesman for a marble and granite business he travelled extensively in the USA and Europe.

In 1896 he went to Chicago to practice law. In 1900, after dinner with a lawyer in a residential section of Chicago, he was impressed by the fact that his friend stopped at several stores and shops in the neighbourhood and introduced him to the owners, who were his friends. That experience made him wonder why he couldn't make social friends from at least some of his clients. He resolved to organise a club which would bring together a group of representative business and professional men in friendship and fellowship.

By 1905, Paul had formulated a definite philosophy of business relations. Talking it over with three of his clients - Silvester Schiele, a coal merchant; Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer; and Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor - he decided to organise a club with them.

On February 23rd, 1905, they held the first club meeting and the nucleus was formed for the thousands of Rotary Clubs that now exist throughout the world. Paul Harris named this new club "Rotary" because the members met in rotation in their various places of business.

Club membership grew rapidly. Almost every Club member had come to Chicago from small towns and in the Club they found an opportunity for the intimate friendship of their boyhood days.

Paul Harris became president of the Club in its third year and he strove to extend Rotary to other cities, convinced that Rotary Clubs could be developed into an important service movement.

Paul Harris Fellow

An honour bestowed upon a member in recognition of outstanding commitment to Rotary or a significant contribution to the Rotary Foundation.