History

History

The first officially chartered Rotaract Club was in North Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1968.

The first Rotaract Club chartered in New Zealand was The Rotaract Club of Mount Albert in Auckland on 19 February 1969. Charter President Graham Allan encapsulated why many young people join Rotaract – Youth has always dreamed of bettering the society in which it lives. We view our present society with a harshly critical eye, dissatisfied with its tendency towards selfishness.

We can now do something about it!

The Rotaract programme spread rapidly throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. In 1970, just two years after the programme started, there were 50 clubs and by 1982, approximately 80 clubs. Unfortunately in the late 1980s and early 1990s Rotaract entered a phase of decline in New Zealand with most clubs terminating.

That is until 1998 when the Rotaract Club of Somerville in Auckland was chartered with many of its members coming from another Rotary youth programme, RYLA. This club serviced the whole of the Auckland region until early 2003 when the Rotaract clubs of Pakuranga and The University of Auckland were chartered. Pakuranga Rotaract is predominately made up of past Interactors (school based 14-18 year old Rotarians).

In addition, the Pacific Island Rotaract Clubs of Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Apia and Rarotonga were rediscovered. Many of these clubs were chartered in the early 1970s. The Rotaract Club of The Fiji Institute of Technology was chartered in 2003. The “Rotaract Revival” has continued with the charter in mid 2004 of the Rotaract Clubs of Frankton (Hamilton) and Christchurch Central.

Rotaract Clubs planned in the immediate future include clubs in Helensville, Tauranga, and Lower Hutt. Anyone interested in starting a new Rotaract club in their area should contact their local District Rotaract Representative or Rotary Club.

Today, there are some 165,000 members in more than 7,500 Rotaract Clubs in 161 countries. Most clubs are either community or university based.

Did you know?

  • The first female club president to be elected was Silvia Whitlock of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, USA in 1987.
  • The most notable current global project is PolioPlus. Since beginning the project in 1985, Rotarians have contributed over US$850 million and tens of thousands of volunteer-hours, leading to the inoculation of more than two billion of the world’s children.
  • The Lord Cobham Outward Bound School of New Zealand was opened on Saturday 1st September 1962. In the weeks leading up to the launch, work parties from local Rotary clubs came to Anakiwa armed with shovels, hammers, saws and chisels to help to prepare the place for the historic first intake.