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Making a noise – Kiwanis celebrate 50 years

June 10, 2019

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Making a noise – Kiwanis celebrate 50 years

In May, the Kiwanis Club of Mt Roskill celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Onehunga RSA. Kiwanis’ members attended from all over New Zealand, and even from overseas. Mayor Phil Goff ,and guest speaker University of Auckland researcher, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, also joined the festivities.

Kiwanis (pronounced ‘key-wanis’) clubs began in the United States in 1915, and they  focus on working with children. The word comes from the Ojibwe language used by some North American native Algonquian tribes, and two of its many meanings include, ‘to make a noise’ and ‘to make oneself known.’ Mt Roskill president, David Lett, says the Kiwanis’ ethos is about putting in time and effort, rather than money.

The first New Zealand club was formed in 1967, with Mt Roskill coming on board  two years later. Over the years, it has been involved in numerous initiatives such as outdoor adventure camps at Huia, toy libraries and science initiatives in schools.

Kiwanis member, Herb Farrant, says one of his proudest moments was helping launch school science fairs in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and they remain an integral part of  schools’ science activities. Scientific engagement in schools continues to be a focus for the club, which is now supporting the House of Science (HOS) project.

HOS supplies primary and intermediate schools with kits that contain everything necessary to perform basic science experiments. Dr Wiles, who is the official HOS Ambassador, spoke about the work they do to promote science in schools, and how the programme works to engage children with entertaining experiments.

Phil Goff, who has a 20-year-long association with the club from when he was  MP for Mt Roskill, said it was a pleasure to attend the club’s anniversary. “We rely so much on services organisations like this and we need to acknowledge them.”