In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 34

Southern New Zealand is about as far as you can get – quite literally – from Sweden. But distance is no barrier when it comes to the shared values and ideals of Rotary’s global family, as our latest friendship exchange showcased. District 9980 was delighted to host six Swedish couples from District 2400 earlier this year – and, guess what? They’ve extended a special return invitation for 9980ers to visit them in southern Sweden later this year. Exchange team leader Krister Lindkvist ... rockin’ and a-rollin’ at Moeraki Boulders. By Krister Lindkvist Team leader, Swedish RFE D2400 The Swedish team of 12 left New Zealand on February 26 after two incredible weeks visiting Rotary District 9980. Six couples from Rotary District 2400, of southern Sweden, arrived on February 12 from Christchurch for a two-week tour, including Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau, Queenstown and Wanaka, where we were taken care of by Rotary club members. We also made excursions to Milford Sound and Mt Cook. New Zealand is as far as possible as you can travel from Sweden, but, we all agreed, that this was well worth the long hours flying. We were impressed by the way you socialise in good spirit, making the world a little better.” Krister Lindkvist, Team leader, Swedish RFE D2400 Lance Wensley, of the Rotary Club of Timaru, co- ordinated the programme in a wonderful way and everything worked out very well. We were happy about the fantastic friendship and experience, but were sorry that we had to leave our new friends so soon. All the Rotary clubs we visited looked after us fabulously, offered great meals, with buffets and barbeques, and showed us interesting and beautiful places, but, above all, showed great friendship. The Rotary meetings we took part in were very interesting and showed commitment to the Rotary ideas. We were impressed by the way you socialise in good spirit, making the world a little better. I feel that we got ideas to take back home and adopt in our Rotary clubs’ activities. We found that we have a great deal of values in common between our countries and societies, and it was easy to find topics of joint interest. When you come to Sweden and do not know what to speak about, try weather! I feel this is valid, also, in New Zealand, and we were lucky also in this aspect. Just before we arrived, your summer was blooming and kept being great for the two weeks, until we were back in Christchurch. The landscape was as beautiful and impressive as the guidebooks describe. It is difficult to choose among the highlights we got the opportunity to visit. For example, the boat ride to Milford Sound on the fiords was impressive. Mt Cook showed its glamour in bright sunshine, with great lasting views of its surrounds. Those of us who went on a Land Rover safari got a breathtaking view over Lake Wanaka and, as a bonus, we got to visit a station and see sheep shearing. Then, on departure day, the rain was pouring over Christchurch, and it was a bit easier to leave. We want to send our greatest thanks to all of the clubs and individuals who contributed to make our visit so memorable, like hosts offering nice lodging and food, as well as interesting discussions, drivers, including the use of private cars, and all who brought food to the different meals and took part in the activities. You all made our visit a great memory. We also want to welcome you for a return visit to our Rotary District 2400 in the second half of August. Email: krister.lindkvist@gmail.com Page 34 | In Gear - Rotary in southern New Zealand - District 9980 | www.rotarydistrict9980.org