Riccarton House became the venue of its meetings in 1961 and remained so for 41 years, until this historic house became a house museum and public restaurant, when the change was made to the present venue of the Chateau on the Park hotel.
Over the years the club has loyally supported Rotary International projects and schemes – Rotary Foundation projects like Polio Plus, Student Exchange schemes and so on.
Some of the club’s projects have included:
In the first decade – 2 major building projects
- The Sir Tohu McKenzie Memorial Children’s Library (1958)
- The Hei Hei Community Hall (1961)
Between 1963 and 1978 (the 25th Anniversary)
- The association with Cholmondeley Children’s Home, continuing today in the golf tournament which has netted more than $20,000 a year for the home over the last 15 years;
- A defensive Driving Course, which was taken up nationally;
- The Bankside planting project (1974-1975). The forest was later sold and the funds incorporated into the Charitable Trust;
- The re-siting of the historic Deans Cottage (1970), and
- The Matipo Street Aged People’s Rest Centre (1975-1977)
During the 1980’s and 1990’s to the present
- Disabled Person’s Support – a caravan for the Paraplegic Association (1982); the Arthur’s Pass Disabled Peoples Walkway (1981)
- Young People’s Support – ‘The P Factor’ booklet addressing youth problems (1989); the Siemen’s Science Experience (1996); low decile Wharenui School.
- Rotahomes for displaced Fijian Villages – a project of the 1980’s and 90’s, revived and expanded in the last decade.
The financing of these and other projects required large scale financing schemes and the club has developed these over the years:
- Bankside Tree Planting – started in 1974, which was sold in 1990
- Housie – ran from 1979 to 1988
- The Riccarton Market – which began as a trailer sale at the Riccarton Mall in 1988, through intermediate venues at the Bush Inn and Riccarton High School, to today’s hugely successful Sunday Market at Riccarton Racecourse.
- The Riccarton Rotary Charitable Trust – established in 1992 to absorb the Bankside Forest asset funds and own the Riccarton Market, dispensing funds the our committees for community projects.
- The Riccarton Rotary Youth Trust –evolved out of the Youth Foundation, set up in 1978 “promoting and assisting the education, training and enhancement of … … young people”.
The club admitted women to membership in 1991, and has been greatly strengthened by their inclusion.
The club has sponsored three other Rotary clubs over the years:
- Papanui Rotary Club (1959)
- Hornby Rotary Club (1962)
- Avonhead Rotary Club (1983)
It is a sister club to Amagasaki North in Japan (1985)
Thanks to Garry Jeffery for compiling this club history.