Celebrate we did at the club Changeover!
Above (left to right) is President 2016-2017 Ainie and Club Service Director Peter, our Speaker Coordinator Namrata, President 2017-2018 Peter and our Guest Speaker, Dr Siouxsie Wikes.
The theme for the evening was Green evoked by light with a predominant wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm and representative of growth and nature. Introduced as the "Doctor of Fungus", our Incoming President, Dr Peter Buchanan, revealed an evening that was revealing, fun and very educational; Why? ... well read on ...Peter introduced guests including his family and the theme for the evening of sustainability. To that end the menu was on screen to save a whole lot of paper but there is more ... "payment" for dessert was to be four fingers in a petrie dish and in two weeks it will be revealed who has the fingers with the most bacteria on them from the fungal growth!  Exciting!
After a delicious main course of lamb and fish, Guest Speaker Dr Siouxsie Wikes spoke on the topic "Is this the end of the Golden Age of antibiotics?"
Frighteningly her answer is "Yes".  But her lab is working hard to stop the answer "Yes" becoming a reality.  Siouxsie has always been interested in micro-organisms and while most are beneficial to us as humans her main interest is in the ones that can cause us incredible harm ... literally destruction and death with New Zealand's rate of harmful infections from these micro-organisms bucking the world trend and rising.
In short, the resistance of micro-organisms to antibiotics is very rapidly increasing, immeasurably raising the risks around medical treatments and surgeries.  Unfortunately the research in finding new antibiotics worldwide is largely non-existent as there is no money to be made by the drug companies.  Enter Peter and Siouxsie.
A chance meeting at a Lego show several years ago led to Peter enabling access by Siouxsie to a collection of 10,000 fungi that is now being searched for new potential antibiotics.  So far 500 have been looked at and from those it has been noted 50 approx with potential.  However, funding is an issue and as none comes from the Government this has to be found elsewhere, and one main source at present is from Cure Kids who have backed the research for the coming year.  .
So, something is being done.  In an exercise each table received a number of petrie dishes and when the lights were turned out had to arrange these to form a sentence from the glowing bacterial in them forming the words "St Johns Rotary - the greatest little Rotary club in the Bio Sphere".  Thanks Siouxsie for your passion and commitment to a better future for all of us.
Our Exchange Student, Henning spoke of his time in New Zealand and thanked the club for the support of many during his time here.  In particular he acknowledged the massive contribution of his host families who he mentioned were true "family" now and showed him so much of New Zealand.  Henning returned home the next day to Germany having had an experience of a lifetime, an experience where he has grown of himself and an experience that will form a foundation stone of his future life.  Go well Henning.
We had the changeover between Ainie and Peter with Ainie taking a short time to outline the many successes of the year.  New President Peter introduced his leadership team, announcing that we have a new committee from this year; the Environment and Science Committee because through sciences we care for the environment.  The club already supports a number of science and environment programmes and projects and as with other projects, these are to grow.  In doing this we are leading the way in placing the 'Greenness" in Rotary and Peter sees Rotary International President Ian Riseley as being Rotary's 'Green President'.  Peter went on to justify the petrie dish message ... that we are now "the greatest little Rotary club in the Bio Sphere" and like the earlier description of the properties of green shows a natural propensity to use science to justify reality.
Having all placed our fingers in the petrie collection dishes we received dessert!
2017-2018 ... here we come!