Previous Speaker List

This is an archive of our previously curated speakers.


19th June

Karl Lapwood – Chief Fire Officer of the Ngaruawahia Volunteer Fire Brigade

Karl will tell us how a volunteer fire brigade operates, how through Karl’s efforts the Ngaruawahia Volunteer Fire Brigade has acquired more equipment leading fire fighters possessing greater skills, plus descriptions of some memorable calls attended, in particular the time in April that Karl and others spent providing back up support for flood devastated Edgecumbe.

12th June

Mark Penman – Hamilton West School

Speech Competition Finalists – Mark Penman, one of our valued members, is the Principal of Hamilton West Primary School.  Each year the school holds speech competitions, the finals this year will be held on 8th June at the school. Our president Don Oliver will be one of the judges.  The winners of year groups 5, 6, 7 & 8 will attend our meeting to deliver their winning speeches.  A great opportunity to appreciate the skills displayed by such youngsters who have what it takes to produce winning speeches.

1st May 2017

Lisa Clausen – Interactionz

Lisa is the Business Development Leader of Interactionz which is a registered charitable trust that provides mentoring support to a wide range of individuals..  She will be telling us about the commercial trading operation it established to bring in money to assist it to do the good work it does.  In particular she will discuss what led to the decision to establish the trading arm, what the trading arm does and how the income generated from its activities contributes to the operation of Interactionz and maximising its impact on individuals and the community.

10th April

Gourmet Delicious – Kim Lee & Ali Foers – Olympic Caterers

Ali & Kim’s business, Gourmet Delicious continues to go from strength to strength offering tasty and nutritious catering options. They were selected once again to cater for the NZ Rowers in the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Other feats they have had were catering for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on their visit in 2014 and they were also part of the catering crew for the 2012 Olympics in London. Ali & Kim will share with us some of the highlights of their catering careers, in particular about catering for our Olympic rowers, the challenges they faced and the importance of the athlete’s specific requirements to keep them in peak condition during the Olympics. They operate Suburban Kitchen in Robinson Street, Cambridge, well removed from the main shopping centre.

3rd April

New Members Meeting

This follows the highly successful meeting we held in April last year the purpose of which is to attract members of our community to Rotary to show that we are good people doing good things.

27th March 2017

His Worship the Mayor Andrew King

It has been a long tradition in our club that the Mayor is an honorary member. Andrew will tell us about his first five months in office, his experiences to date, and what he hopes to achieve for the benefit of our wonderful city.

20th March 2017

Professor Ross Lawrenson – The Proposal for a third Medical School for NZ in the Waikato

Ross Lawrenson is a professor of population studies at the University of Waikato and also the Clinical Director for Strategy and Funding with the Waikato District Health Board and is a key influence in a concept which would take graduates with a degree from any discipline, who are from rural communities that need them, put them through 4 years of on the job training in their hometowns. This initiative has been instigated due to the number of GP’s retiring in the next decade and also the staffing issues they have in the smaller rural areas.

13th March 2017

Graeme Meade (Mintie) –YMCA

Graeme has a strong sense of community and works as the manager at YMCA this includes co-ordinating school programmes and programmes for our older members in the community. He volunteers an extraordinary amount of time to the wider community including his Saturday morning sports programme on Newstalk ZB interviewing local sports people and also commentates for Huntly Speedway.

6th March 2017

Traci Houpapa – Chairman, Federation of Maori Authorities, LandCorp Farming Limited

Traci is an award-winning company director and recognised industry leader. She specialises in strategic and economic development, advising public and private sector clients throughout New Zealand.
She has been instrumental in raising the profile of Maori agribusiness across the primary industry sector. She has an MBA from Massey university and is a member of the Order of New Zealand,
a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Celebrant.

27th February 2017

Jeremy Cleland – Student Hamilton Boys High School

Jeremy was lucky enough to be selected by the Rotary committee last year to be sponsored by the JR McKenzie Trust to attend Outward Bound. This adventure sends keen young men and women on a three week opportunity of a lifetime to Anakiwa where they get to experience many outdoor activities including sailing, overnight forest stays, marathons and much more – all to build confidence, test character and bring an awareness of themselves.



20th February

Reserved for the celebration of our Club’s 93rd Birthday!

13th February 2017

Cindy Baker – Principal Scientist – Niwa

Cindy addressed us early 2016 about NIWA’s whitebait habitat enhancement project, concentrating particularly on the construction of fish passes in streams around Hamilton, one of which is in Gibbons creek in Parana Park.  At the time that Cindy said she wished to return to tell us more about other aspects of the fish work she does.  This time it will be about her particular interest in Lamprey.  Lamprey are New Zealand’s only freshwater representative of the agnathans (jawless fish) and can be regarded as a living fossil representing 360 million years of evolution.  These fish are considered “threatened – Nationally Vulnerable” with populations nationwide in decline.  Cindy will discuss the finding of NIWA’s research programme investigating the reproductive ecology of pouched lampreys.

 6th February

 No Meeting as Waitangi Day

30th January

No Meeting as Auckland Anniversary Day

23rd January


Reserved for Rotary Members

Approximately every two months two of our long serving members will tell us about both their life experiences and their involvement in Rotary, this to enable the newer members to get to know them.  We shall have two more of our members addressing us

 19th December

No meeting due to Christmas function at Skycity @ 6.30pm

12th December

Naaz Shah – Teacher HBHS – Former Olympian

Naaz has a long history and interest in hockey and is an accomplished player herself being a gold medal winner, having played for India in the 1980’s Olympic games.  Since then she has attended three further Olympics in various capacities from an official at Seoul in 1988, a visitor in London in 2012 and her latest as a volunteer helping the Black Sticks at the Brazil Olympics this year.  She also coaches the elite hockey teams at HBHS and runs coaching workshops. Naaz will be sharing some of her highlights from her experiences at the Olympics, not the least wearing her Rio uniform to our meeting!

5th December

Mike Safey – Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club (JUNATS)

Junats began in 1962 and is a club for 10 – 18 year olds who have an interest in all aspects of natural history and preservation in New Zealand.  The club members get together every Friday to listen to speakers covering topics such as fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes, native plants and much more.  They also do field trips to put what they have learnt into practice and engage in activities such as tramping, camping, caving, canoeing, abseiling and snorkelling to name a few.

28th November

Jeremy Tizard – Physics Teacher – HBHS

Jeremy was lucky enough to be involved in helping with the Department of Conservation during one of their bird monitoring trips to the sub Antarctic Auckland Islands.  In particular he helped in the head count of the rare yellow eyed penguin.  Jeremy is going to share with us his unique experience and how the work of the Department of Conservation is so important in understanding these unique animals.


14th November

Reserved for a commemoration of the Rotary Foundation Centennial

7th November

Dr Megan Balks – Senior Lecturer Earth Sciences – Adventures at the ends of the earth – field trips in the Arctic and Antarctic

Dr Megan Balks has been involved in soil research in Antarctica since 1990, having undertaken 19 fieldtrips to “the ice”. She has also travelled to the high Arctic on several occasions with “frozen soil” researchers in Russia, Alaska, and Norway. Megan will give an illustrated talk about the landscapes, soils, and challenges of travel in both Antarctica and northern Siberia.

31st October

Mike Paviour from the Department of Conservation

Mike is the Waikato site leader from the Department of Conservation and he will be covering a topic that he is passionate about – all the great work and effort going into the restoration and living water work at the Waikato peat lakes including the silt and nutrient traps and how this is working and what success they have seen so far.

24th October

No Meeting – Labour Day

17th October

Thomas Gibbons from the Waikato Branch of the Property Council

Thomas, one of our newer members, is on the executive committee of the local Property Council branch, which advocates for a thriving commercial property industry that has a positive impact on the city and its people. Thomas will explain what the Property Council is about, what they are working on and how that can make Hamilton and the Waikato a better place.

10th October

Sally Fletcher on Shelter Box

Other than our newer members we have all heard of the Shelter Box programme. This is where a supply of tents and other survival equipment can be transported at a moment’s notice to any part of the world where a natural disaster has struck. To date, all that we have learnt is about the organisation. Sally has been to Fiji flooding in 2012, Phillipines cyclone in 2014 and Vanuatu in 2015 cyclone for Shelter Box disaster relief. She will tell us about her experiences with Shelter Box in action on the ground.

3rd October

Abdullah Alacozai – From a small boy in Afghanistan to running a business in New Zealand

Abdullah was born in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. He will tell us of his memories and his way of life before he left when he was 8 years old. He will tell us about adjusting to the New Zealand way of life, his impressive standing up as a 12 year old to tell his school at the time of the 9/11 attacks that not all Muslims were terrorists, his subsequent addressing the Model United Nations here in New Zealand and his establishing his own digital business. One of our newest members, Eion Miles works for Abdullah’s business.

26th September

Richard Swainson – Auteur House and Waikato Times Columnist

Richard owns Auteur House, an independently owned and operated DVD Rental Store. It stocks over 4000 titles concentrating on arthouse and classic “hard to find films” as opposed to mainstream. Richard will tell us what led to his establishing this interesting business, and how the world of dvds is faring in the face of challenges from Netflix and the like. Richard has been a frequent contributor to the “Waikato Times”. He will tell us about his experiences in that field.

19th September

Member Showcase – Campbell Patterson and Richard Jerram

Approximately every two months two of our long serving members will tell us about both their life experiences and their involvement in Rotary, this to enable the newer members to get to know them. Some weeks back we had Murray Day and Jim Macdiarmid filling this role. This meeting we shall have two more of our members, Campbell Patterson and Richard Jerram.

12th September

Lyn Chapman & Grant Bezett from Aesthete Gallery, Hamilton

Here is some fine culture for you — Grant Bezett of the Fine Art Society of NZ, and who operates the Aesthete Gallery on the cnr of Victoria and Rostrevor Sts will address us. Grant will tell us how he came to be involved in this most interesting vocation, what people like and what people don’t, as well as about a forthcoming promotions and activities he has in.

5th September

Singing to the Top – Maria Colvin

The Bel Suono Choir from Waikato Diocesan recently competed in an international music festival in Sydney being one of 27 school age musical groups from New Zealand, Australia, United States, Taiwan and China. They performed in adjudicated concerts, participated in workshops with professional musicians and demonstrated their musical abilities including performing on stage at the Sydney Opera House. A truly impressive result. The Choir was awarded a gold medal by the adjudicators for their performance. Maria Colvin will be speaking about the experience and what they learned.

29th August

Speaker to be confirmed

22nd August

Conquering the Southern Alps on Two Wheels

One of the toughest mountain biking events in the world is The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race in the Southern Alps. Matamata natives, Anthony Vandepas and AJ Power successfully completed this grueling event comprising 569 kilometres over seven days with almost 15,273 metres of climbing over spectacular and breath-taking scenery. They will tell us about the suffering they endured and the exhilaration of finishing.

15th August

District Governor Keith Owens Visit

Hamilton Central Rotary receives the new District Governor Keith Owens to speak.

8th August

Adventures of a Hamilton Sports Photographer

Kevin Booth is a lawyer practising in Hamilton. He also is an avid sports photographer and gains access to many top rugby matches to further his intense passion. Kevin will tell us about where his interest in sports photography has taken him and will say something about the many photographs he has in his office of famous people who have signed those very same photographs.


Matthew Stark is a property developer who is working on a number of buildings in the central business district. He has a vision for revival of Hamilton’s CBD which will be of great interest to all of us belonging to the “Hamilton Central” Rotary Club.