Inner Wheel

New Zealand

President's Post

This is a space where you can come and read about various ideas and inspiration.

Below you will find a selection of my blogs and messages. I will be sharing some of my speeches, ideas and motivational pieces. 

I hope you enjoy reading these over the coming months.

I te Whakahoahoa, In Friendship,

IWNZ National President & National Representative, 2021-22

  • 8 Jan 2022 1:30 PM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    Happy New year to you all!

    A reflection of what it means to be part of Inner Wheel, one of the worlds largest voluntary service organisation, with over 108,000 women in over 100 countries across the globe.

    Why Is 10th January International Inner Wheel Day?

    In 1923 a spark was lit by a conversation and remark made over a speech at dinner. An invitation was extended to the wives of the Manchester Rotary Club for them to start thinking about forming a Club of their own.

    At an inaugural meeting on 15th November, the dream became a reality. A temporary committee was established, and the first President Elected, Mrs Margarette Oliver Golding, accompanied by Mrs Mabel Nixon, Secretary/Treasurer.

    Imagine the conversations that took place in the coming months, the planning and ideas that would have flowed?

    At the second meeting held on 10th January 1924, the Club announced that they had already raised £11 from its first fundraiser at an America Tea and that 80 woolly garments had been sent to St Mary’s hospital in time for Christmas.

    This meeting must have been alive with discussion and excitement, as they shared their first service opportunities and planned for their way forward. The most significant announcement is the naming of their new Association: “We shall call it Inner Wheel.”

    This group of women in Manchester, with the passion for establishing a sense of belonging and friendship for the women in their community along with the desire to offer service to those in need, became the first Club of women in action sharing friendship through service.

    It did not take long for this to spread across the world and establish in many countries, including the first Club formed in New Zealand, in Napier, on 27th November 1936, 85 years ago.

    Every 10th January since 1970, Inner Wheel members worldwide celebrate International Inner Wheel Day.

    International President Helena Foster (1969-70) was the inspiration behind this day of commemoration. In her letter she wrote :

    “I would like to ask all Members of Clubs throughout the world to link together in ACTION on 10th January. I have chosen this special day because it was on 10th January 1924 that the Mother Club Inner Wheel, the Manchester Club, England, first adopted the name Inner Wheel. It can be interpreted in any way you think fit – in group or individuals - giving personal service to someone who needs you – planting a tree or flower to beautify some corner of your land or just the simple act of writing a letter. I am sure that there is inspiration and encouragement to be gained by the knowledge that your fellow Inner Wheel Members throughout the world are at that moment joining together to extend service and friendship.”

    In 2022, we commemorate 98 years of Inner Wheel. We are still strong and have an exciting and inspiring future ahead of us as we continue to strive to follow the three objects of Inner Wheel

    •          True friendship
    •           Personal Service
    •        International Understanding.

    Whether you're able to meet with your Club, or take a moment of reflection on Monday 10th January, wherever you may be, may you be inspired by the greatness of the organisation that you are a Member of.

    We thank the women of Manchester, who in 1924 began to share their vision and their dream began to grow. It is up to us to keep the flame burning. Their vision can continue to grow and spread through our communities and beyond with our actions.

    “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” Joel A. Barker

    Happy Inner Wheel Day to you all from the IWNZ National team,

    Michelle, Aly, Dot, Judi and Anne.

  • 6 Dec 2021 8:58 AM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    Below is the full transcript of my Mid year report which was given to all Districts at their District Meetings. held in October/November 2021.

    This has also been videoed, so you may like to watch it here. 

    Who would have thought I would be sitting here in Auckland in Lockdown and unable to attend any of the District meetings across the country in person. However, I'm pleased that three of the four Districts could meet and share time together during October and November, and NZ291 met for a Zoom meeting.

    It was a great disappointment that I could not attend any of these meetings in person, as I was genuinely looking forward to connecting with members across the country, making new friends, and spending time with many friends I have made over the years. That was going to be one of the highlights of the year.

    The 2021-22 Inner Wheel Year started on 1st July with much enthusiasm and was full of exciting ideas for the year ahead. In the short time before lockdown on 17th August, I managed to visit 2 Clubs – Matamata and Oamaru as they celebrated significant birthdays. Both were extraordinary occasions to be able to celebrate with these Clubs. In addition, we managed to hold our National Governing Body meeting the weekend before lockdown. With the new Covid Protection Framework in place, I can hopefully share some exciting events and activities with members across the country in 2022.

    The use of technology has been a significant factor in the Inner Wheel year, and I invite all of you to please reach out and connect. I have been working from home and living life on my little slice of rural paradise south of Auckland but sadly inside the City boundary. I am very fortunate to live in the countryside and have enjoyed taking time in the gardens and rearing our lambs. I did not leave the property very much during the 107 days of lockdown, and it took me 85 days to use a full fuel tank. I can tell you that our rural delivery driver made many visits to our front door, and online shopping has now become typical to our household.

    It seems very strange to see and hear of our friends across the country managing to live their lives in the relative freedom that we could do here. I have been delighted to read Club newsletters that share images and stories of your activities and get together's. So please keep them coming, and please Club Editors, if you can send a photo and short report to Arshi at, she will happily add these to the News section of the website.

    Despite these Covid lockdowns and levels, Inner Wheel NZ has had a lot happening.

    The IWNZ website has evolved and developed into a complete resource. It doubles as a public website aimed to attract new members and share our work and a members website and database where a secure login gives you access to many resources.

    I invite you all to take the time to log into the website and check out the resources created for you to use in the library. Register to attend a monthly Digital Education session (or watch it later by going to the Past events on the events page), attend a bi-monthly Sunday session, find the resources for Clubs and membership tools, or share in the discussion forums – book club, knitters network, Gardner's patch and sewing bees. Take time to have a look around and see what is new.

    Every Club has had a web page created. So that visitors to the site looking to join us can see what is available in their area and may like to join you. The new email accounts allow them to link directly with you too.

    The database has been a massive piece of work to install, update and check all registered members. The member's details are kept private from all public users.

    Limited access is granted to members through the directory, only accessible when members are logged into the website.

    For your security, every person is automatically logged out of the website when they leave the site, and complete site protection and security are active.

    Members will be sent communications related to:

    •        IWNZ events.
    •        IWNZ communications – from the National team – e.g. President's Communicator and Inner Link Newsletters.
    •        Important notifications.

    Every member can choose their subscription level and opt out of receiving any communications.

    Please remember to send details of new members to us so they can receive a personal welcome from me and logins created for access to register to attend IWNZ activities online. There is also a section in the resources library on "new Member Procedures" with a quick link to a form to send the correct information.

    I'd like to personally thank the hours of work put into building this system by the team behind the scenes and especially the technical knowledge and assistance from Anthony Smith.

    Last year, we registered with Google as a Non-Profit and gained free access to the Google workspace tools through our domain name Last year we launched the accounts with National and District roles, and this year we created an account for each Club. I know that these have made some anxious moments, and it can be frustrating to learn something new and find new ways to operate. However, the ultimate goal of these accounts is to provide each Club with a safe and secure online storage facility of all Club records on Google Drive, to be a communication tool for Clubs to save having private emails and contacts that need annual changes on the website and for the ability to host free online meetings using Meet, that has all the same features as Zoom.

    To assist in all this work, IWNZ has contracted the services of a part-time administrator, Arielle. A young Canadian woman who has been a fantastic asset to the organisation and has been extremely active in setting up and maintaining the database, building and creating pages on the website, managing online meetings so much more, including personally connecting with many members who need her assistance. She is a precious resource for us, and although she has now left NZ, Arielle is not 'gone from the role. She will still stay on board as our Administrator and will still be contactable at Please reach out if you need help!

    So what else has happened in the IW world:

    Two Clubs have had official name changes after application to International Inner Wheel – Aotea Auckland, now Aotea and Blenheim, now Marlborough.

    Dot Anderson Lee travelled to Christchurch to proudly present Nola Moffett with a Margarette Golding Award for over 50 years of service in the Hornby community, as I was unable to travel. I invite anyone to make a nomination for a Margarette Golding Award – forms and information are found on the IWNZ website under 'nominations' in the library.

    Sadly there has been the sudden closure of the Tokalau Suva Club due to the Club collapsing, and all but two members remain in Fiji after migrating due to Covid.

    IWNZ donated over $11,000 to JP Bayly Trust in Fiji in the emergency appeal. This was so gratefully received and will be used to provide essential supplies for many families in their care. Thank you to every member and Club who made donations.

    Our Publicist and Vice President Aly is creating some tools for us. Later this year, each Club will be able to order beautiful Certificates for Honoured Active Awardees, and she has worked with a special team to create some promotional material that will be coming your way very soon.

    We are preparing to launch a new membership category – Virtual membership.

    As virtual members, people will join Inner wheel in an area where there is no physical club. They will have access to all the member's tools, take part in monthly online meetings, and be able to attend all IW District and National events and activities in person or online. In addition, we are planning for online "Discover IWNZ" events to promote and encourage people to join Inner Wheel. These were to happen in October, but we are reassessing when it will be a suitable time to launch these, so look out for notifications soon.

    Clubs received the information about the LGFB Joy Crackers. Thank you to many Clubs who took the opportunity to not only support our National Project but also as an opportunity to do some fabulous Christmas shopping. Some Clubs even purchased crackers to gift to others in need through various charities.

    We are holding our first Membership March promotion in 2022. I invite all Clubs to start thinking about a way to promote their Club and host some form of public event during March. We are working towards building a National advertising campaign for this in national magazine publications.

    Internationally there have been some exciting articles in the regular "In The Pink" newsletters. So lookout for a few IWNZ articles coming in future issues!

    Recently we received information from IIW President Ebe Martines, who has invited all Clubs to take action in an IIW Cervical Cancer Campaign. Information will be coming to you soon about possible ways you can support this cause.

    On Sunday 21st November It was a real delight and honour to host IIW President Ebe online from Italy as she shared an hour with IWNZ Members. It was an opportunity to meet Ebe, hear what she has to say, for our District Chairmen to share what's happening in IWNZ and for some Question time.

    Ladies, we are all living in highly unique times of uncertainty. It seems like our lifestyles and rules of engagement have changed significantly, which is very unsettling. The National Governing Body of IWNZ has discussed the messaging we need regarding the vaccination debate. As an organisation based on friendship and service, it is essential that we consider the safety and health of everyone we connect with. We will be following all government regulations and guidelines. Your venues and meeting places may implement vaccine passes. You may not be able to meet safely without vaccination passes. Each Club needs to ensure that they are meeting safely, following the Covid Protection Framework guidelines and consider the health and wellbeing of all members. Please help all your members by reaching out and checking they can download and print their vaccine passes, or for your non-vaccinated members, please ensure you follow the guidelines to ensure you can meet safely. Above all else, remember we are an organisation based on friendship. Each Club will be taking the positive steps forward to ensure all members are cared for within in the framework provided.

    I hope you are excited about some of the ways forward and the future for IWNZ. Above all else, I love reading your news, seeing your stories of friendship and service and encouraging you all to continue embracing the opportunities the Inner Wheel offers you. Keep doing the great things you are doing. Together we will get through. Together we will continue to be the women's service organisation that you love and belong to, as women in action sharing friendship and service. Thank you for all you do!

  • 30 Aug 2021 2:57 PM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    On Saturday 28th August, I was invited to be the "Chief Guest" presenter at a Membership Training Event for New Generation Clubs at District 323, India.


    It was a great honour to interact with and present to the five New Generation Clubs in this District. It was a late evening for me, but I did my best to present some "words of wisdom" about being a New Generation Inner Wheel Club Member.

     I congratulate Arathi Narayanan on organizing such a successful and fun event. I particularly enjoyed the games and dance interaction fun at the end of the event.

    The questions and the positive comments were amazing!

    I'd also like to thank my dear friend Azhagu Annamalai, Past IIW Treasurer, for connecting me with Arathi in order to help her make this event happen.

     I wish the District all the best for all future presentations.

    Here is a link to the presentation on You Tube:

    For a Copy of my presentation, click on the image below:

  • 31 Jul 2021 4:30 PM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    "Thank you for being a friend" 

    It was such an honour and delight to attend the 50th birthday celebrations of the Inner Wheel Club of Oamaru on the 24th July 2021.

    Celebrating 50 years as an Inner Wheel Club was a delightful celebration of friendship.

    I decide to step outside my comfort zone and sing! Click here or on the photo to watch the video of my speech from the may like to watch the beginning and the end - as I serenade the Golden Girls of Oamaru.

    I would like to make a personal thank you to all the members of the IW Club of Oamaru and to all the lovely visitors as IW members from Clubs around NZ298 and your husbands. An extra special thank you to Dawn and Brian Perkins for your chauffer  driving and beautiful hospitality and to Jean Currie, my travel buddy.

    It really was a very special weekend to share with you all. My heart was full of friendship and many amazing memories were made from the special time I spent with you all. I look forward to seeing you all again, soon!

  • 20 Jul 2021 4:56 PM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    I recently attended the 40th Birthday Celebrations of the IW Club of Matatmata where I had an opportunity to share a few words.

    Below is what I shared:

    I am not too young that I cannot remember 1981 – I was 11 and entering the world of Form 1 (Year 7) at school in Auckland.

    1981 – The year that MS-Dos was invented, and IBM introduced the first Personal Computer on the market from Microsoft.

    Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark debuted during June in the cinemas.

    Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer walked down the Aisle at St Pauls, London.

    Ronald Regan Becomes President of the United States

    The AIDS virus was identified.

    The first flight pf the Space Shuttle Columbia

    The first year that the world Internet was mentioned.

    In NZ

    ANZAC relations took a hit – at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds when The Chappell brothers were responsible for the famous underarm bowl incident.

    Violent incidents made it to the streets due to the Springboks tour.

    NZers travelling to Australia required a passport for the first time since 1972.

    And a little closer to home the IW Cub of Matamata is founded.

    Jumping 40 years on –

    And travel to Australia is now even harder than ever – due to a bigger virus than Aids and Trans-Tasman Bubbles opening and closing.

    The world wide web and technology has taken off. As IW members you are now being invited to log in to the website to view and review information and learning about new terms such as goggle workspace accounts.

    But above all else The IW Club of Matamata holds firm… amongst all the changes and developments in the world and around us a few things remain consistent… that is object of Inner Wheel – to promote true friendship, foster personal service and gain international understanding.

    Looking back to 1981 –

    A time when joining organisations and Clubs was the thing to do.

    People were keen to be part of something bigger than themselves, to enjoy the connectivity and involvement in Clubs as you worked together to make such a difference to so many others lives through service projects, social activities – you were and still are women in action sharing friendship through service.

    But what has happened to society? – why is it now so hard to get people to commit to joining something? The mentality in society is still there – and if 2020 proved anything – it proved that when times are tough and we are locked down, our normality is removed, then we join as a community to help others in need, to be kind, to go out of our way to help others. Is that not what Inner Wheel does? and has done for well over 40 years, in fact we celebrate the 98th year of IW international this coming year.

    I do not believe it is only NZ society that has this fear of commitment, this fear of being involved in something “organised” an organisation, a need to commit to something bigger than ourselves, but I believe it is a worldwide problem where people perceive life to be busy, to be too difficult and scary to commit to something outside of our bubbles. People enjoy the feeling of helping other on their terms, but to commit to be part of a Club or group is a mental block.

    We are not a secret society, we open our doors to welcome new people, but if only they know the benefits of being a member of something bigger than themselves, by committing to being a member of Inner Wheel is committing to being part of a group of friends, who meet once a month, sometimes a little more often for service projects or social activities. It is being part of a group that offers just as much to its members as the members give those in need. We are the something bigger than ourselves, that connection between our desire to help and not feeling like we are doing things on our own, we are not isolated, we have a voice, we have something bigger behind us So that if we promote ourselves and let the world know who we are we can have a bigger voice in supporting social services not only in NZ but abroad too.

    We are amazing ladies – women in action sharing friendship through service projects in our local communities. As a national body last year, we connected with 269 charities, giving 62000 hours of service, and raising over $279,000 in funds and goods to support those in need. That is pretty awesome! And so much bigger than any one individual can do. So, what can we do to help spread our wings, open our doors, encourage others to step out of the comfort zone and become part of something bigger than themselves, and become and Inspiration a Woman, and Inner Wheel woman, a woman in action sharing friendships through service?

    This year our IIW President Ebe Martines has set us a challenging theme, Pink First, Now on face value that seems a tough one to acknowledge and goes against the grade of so many stereotypes and ways of thinking, yet, when you read deeper into what she is asking us to do, we see that really, the message is not too different than what we already do and have been doing for at least he last 40 year as the IW Club of Matamata – supporting women – helping women and children in our communities through our actions. She is inviting us to think about the 4 areas of health, education, empowerment, and opportunity. These core areas lie within the United Nations mandate towards gender equality in 2030. On top of this there is very strong cross over with the IIW service project them for 2021-24 – strong women stronger world. Looking at both in combination provides a powerful base for us to continue doing what we already do – to support women, children, families in our communities that are in need. Whether it be thorough assisting with education – by reading in schools, providing books and resources, providing scholarships for girls to attend education facilities, events, or activities. Opportunities are vast but there may be an opportunity such as the local girl guides are currently fundraising to attend jamboree in January at Mystery Creek – Maybe your Club may sponsor a girl or 2 to attend? Health – so many of you regular club activities already support health related activities such as the National Project LGFB, Days for girls, Cancer Society, your knitting supplies and so much more. I encourage you to continue doing what you do and may look at ways to introduce just 1 new activity a year but stay within the boundaries of what is capable for you! You already do so much and should be very proud of all your achievements and activities.

    Friendship above all else is what makes a Club great, Visitors soon get a feeling when they walk in the room as a first impression if this is something they want to be part of or not, so keep the atmosphere positive, keep the politics and business at bay and take time to enjoy the friendship of each other, it’s amazing how quickly others want to be part of something when there are positive friendly stories coming their way.

    Ladies of the IW Club of Matamata – you have so much to celebrate and to be proud of. Congratulations on this 40th anniversary milestone, I certain hope I am here to celebrate with 50th with some of you in the future. Keep doing what you do, embrace the new, treasure the heritage and above all keep smiling as you all truly are women in action sharing friendship though service.

  • 15 Jul 2021 5:24 PM | Michelle Atkinson (Administrator)

    Let me introduce myself, Michelle Atkinson, Inner Wheel member since 2008 as a charter member of the Inner Wheel Club of Aotea, NZ291.

    To me, life is about taking opportunities as they come your way and to make the most out of every day.

    A passionate IW member, I soon accepting challenges along the way to test my limits and step out of comfort zones. District Editor for NZ291, 2011-14, then a massive leap of faith took me on to become International Editor/ Media Manager, 2014-17. Returning to NZ291 as District Chairman and Conference Convenor for the 2019 IWNZ conference.

    In my "day job" I work as a contractor to charities to assist with funding and fundraising opportunities, event management, communications solutions and organisational development. I enjoy creativity and dabble in design work, for example the creation and posting of messages on the IWNZ social media channels.

    Teamwork is the key and over the last few years I have been working alon

    Change happens but the fundamental principles of Inner Wheel remain as we strive to be the women’s organisation that people know and want to belong to. We have pride in the great things we are doing. We build bonds of friendship that span years and generations, we encourage others through a wide variety of service projects and ultimately, we care about what is happening to us, to our communities, to our country and to our world.gside a dedicated team of IWNZ leaders who are striving to ensure the future success of our organisation.

    As we move forward into the 2021-22 Inner Wheel year and beyond, we hold our heritage at our heart and yet embrace some enhanced ways of being as we implement the new database, website, communications and activities for all members to enjoy at whatever level of participation you choose.

    I look forward to being on the journey with you all as we share time together, keep connected and above all enjoy the friendship of being Inner Wheel members in the women’s organisation that we are all proud to be members of. We are Women in action sharing friendship through service. I am excited for what the future holds and for the challenges ahead.

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