It’s a strange and unfamiliar world we are living in at present. We are being bombarded with unsavoury news items every day about COVID-19 and it took a while for those in charge to begin giving us the good news, which is that is the numbers affected that have now recovered!
In a previous life I was very focussed on exporting products all over the world having visited more than 120 countries and for 5 years as Chairman of Export New Zealand in Auckland, I witnessed and was often involved with many fantastic trading success stories as well as seeing a few failures. One of the sometimes-mentioned barriers to trade was our isolated location and the added costs to market that this caused. However, don’t we feel now that this so-called isolation is an enormous benefit in our fight against an unwanted and unseen enemy. 
For Rotary, as with most volunteer organisations, it is a very trying time for all members as well. We have had to cancel or postpone many excellent events and community service activities, plus not to mention fundraising which provides significant donations to many worthy causes, including the Rotary Foundation. Also not physically meeting on a regular basis may have an impact on membership retention but all is not lost.
A good number of Clubs in our District including our cluster, are discovering a number of alternative ways to maintain contact. Apart from making sure the Club is still communicating with the regular newsletter, some are having virtual meetings using Zoom, Skype or other software options. One Club in the District is having a regular Happy Hour with wine, beer or coffee in hand, using Zoom at a set time almost every evening. No set agenda, just a random discussion between all signed in at that time.
This week we had our monthly District Leader Meeting using Zoom which was very successful and included an Assistant Governor from Fiji. She kept us up to date with the aftermath effects of Cyclone Harold in the Pacific and the concern it may have on the control of Covid-19, as well as the immediate damaged it caused. We have some ERK packs in Fiji ready for distribution but there will be a call on all our resources as soon as we can access the existing bins and build more stocks in NZ during and after this current lockdown.
My final message is: please keep in touch with your members by any means and ensure all are handling the lockdown OK. Check to see if anyone needs help with food supplies, prescriptions or just a chat on the phone or through other digital means. Don’t just limit to members, check with neighbours, friends & relatives on a regular basis.                   
Graham Kearns
Assistant Governor
Area 3, District 9920