Inner Wheel

New Zealand

40 years and Going Strong

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.


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.

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