History of the
Lions club of Waianakarua Inc

The Lions Club of Waianakarua was chartered on 23 July 1977 with 30 members and was sponsored by the Oamaru Club.  A coral club based at the Mill House, it meets for a tea meeting on the first Wednesday of each month.

Like most clubs, it has been involved with many projects and fundraising activities and has contributed to numerous groups, charitable organisations and individuals.  Outings for the senior citizens and youth camps for the younger folk have been on-going activities.

The first major project (in conjunction with the Otago Education Board) was to supply six optimist yachts, which were based at a two-acre irrigation pond owned by one of the members.  Families and school groups attending annual camps at the two local venues use these yachts, along with six kayaks and three Canadian canoes, on a regular basis.

Since the demise of the Education Board, the club has taken over the running of the facility and has upgraded the “fleet’ on tow occasions and thanks to generous sponsorship and fundraising there are now six yachts and six kayaks constructed of polybutelene.

Approximately 1200 young folk use the facility annually and a small daily charge is made to assist with maintenance.

Through fundraising and donations, the club recently completed the purchase of the complex to ensure its availability to present and future generations.  This is an ongoing project which the club is continually upgrading with the provision of a boat shed, jetty, launching ramp and toilets.  Since its inception, in excess of 20,000 children have used the facility, learning basic yachting and water safety skills.

A major boost to funds occurred when the club was awarded the contract to dismantle and remove the telephone lines from Hampden to Oamaru, a distance of approximately 40 kilometres.  This project involved all members over several consecutive weekends and for its efforts, the club received half the copper wire and all the poles and cross arms.

This was a major undertaking, considering that the line followed state highway one, but was completed without a hitch thanks to good organisation.

One of the most satisfying projects was the provision a wheelchair van, for a local lass, diagnosed with cancer of the spine.  Thanks to fundraising, donations and the generosity of local clubs, a total of $27,000 dollars was raised to complete the purchase of a suitable vehicle.  Fortunately the girl concerned made a miraculous recovery at which time the van was hired to CCS on a per kilometre basis and has more recently been donated to them.  Remaining funds are held in a trust and are used as a welfare fund and are allotted to those in need.

Another major undertaking was a ‘sunrise’ breakfast on the top of Mount Charles to welcome in the new millennium.  This function proved to be highly successful with some 800 people being served a cooked breakfast, with champagne, in approximately 40 minutes.

A Victorian Picnic, organised by the local Heritage Group was also catered for when six busloads of visitors on the annual rhododendron tour were served a three-course meal at the local golf course.

For the last 20 plus years, the club has organised and run an offshore fishing contest at Moeraki on Easter Saturday.  This event has become extremely popular, attracting close to a hundred boats each year, and is generously supported by many local sponsors and the general public.  Funds raised usually go towards a local project and the 2012 proceeds were donated to the Hampden and Kakanui Volunteer Fire Brigades.

Annual contributions are made to Camp Quality, the Lloyd Morgan trust and the Melvin Jones trust to name but a few and we are proud to have Four Melvin Jones fellows in our membership.

With the average age of members increasing each year, catering has become the main source of fundraising.  The purchase and fitting out of a large caravan, enables the Club to cater for many and varied functions

For three decades membership has remained reasonable steady around the 40 mark.  However with the current economic restraints membership has steadily declined since 2009.

The Waianakarua Club has been responsible for chartering two new clubs in the North Otago area, namely Waiareka Valley and North Otago.  Both these clubs are extremely active and play an important role in their communities.

To mark the 25th anniversary the Club produced a book of Lion’s poems written over the years by the local “Bard of Ynak”.  This publication was well received by the local community and by Clubs throughout the area.

Many visitors are received at tea meetings, both from within the zone and further afield.

While it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill some of the executive positions, the club is in good heart being led by an enthusiastic bunch of “older” members and we look forward to the next 15 years to the celebration of 50 years service to our community.

Webmaster – July 2012.