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What is Rotaract?

Rotaract Club

Are you:

  • 18-30?

  • Want to meet new and interesting people- outside your profession/current social circle?

  • Want to learn new leadership, business and life skills?

  • Want to help benefit your local and international community?

Then Rotaract is for you!

The Official Line

Rotaract is an international organization of service clubs for young people aged 18-30 that fosters leadership and responsible citizenship, encourages high ethical standards in business and promotes international understanding and peace.

Rotaract is a program of Rotary International. Rotaract Clubs, sponsored by a Rotary Club, take their name from a combination of the words "ROTARY" and "ACTION".

A Brief History of Rotaract in the World and New Zealand

The first officially chartered Rotaract Club was in North Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1968. The first Rotaract Club chartered in New Zealand was The Rotaract Club of Mount Albert in Auckland on 19 February 1969. Charter President Graham Allan encapsulated why many young people join Rotaract - "Youth has always dreamed of bettering the society in which it lives. We view our present society with a harshly critical eye, dissatisfied with its tendency towards selfishness. We can now do something about it!"

Rotaract programme spread rapidly throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. In 1970, just two years after the programme started, there were 50 clubs and by 1982, approximately 80 clubs. Unfortunately in the late 1980s and early 1990s Rotaract entered a phase of decline in New Zealand with most clubs terminating. That is until 1998 when the Rotaract Club of Somerville in Auckland was chartered with many of its members coming from another Rotary youth programme, RYLA. This club serviced the whole of the Auckland region until early 2003 when the Rotaract clubs of Pakuranga and The University of Auckland were chartered. Pakuanga Rotaract is predominately made up of past Interactors (school based 14-18 year old Rotarians).

In addition, the Pacific Island Rotaract Clubs of Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Apia and Rarotonga were rediscovered. Many of these clubs were chartered in the early 1970s. The Rotaract Club of The Fiji Institute of Technology was chartered in 2003.

The "Rotaract Revival" has continued with the charter in mid 2004 of the Rotaract Clubs of Frankton (Hamilton) and Christchurch Central. Rotaract Clubs planned in the immediate future include clubs in Helensville, Auckland CBD, Tauranga and Lower Hutt. Anyone interested in starting a new Rotaract club in their area should contact their local District Rotaract Representative.

Today, there are some 165,000 members in more than 7.500 Rotaract Clubs in 161 countries. Most clubs are either community or university based.

WHAT DO ROTARACT CLUBS DO?

Rotaract Clubs conduct formal meetings, usually every two weeks, which feature speakers, tours of local businesses, cultural activities, discussions and visits to other clubs. Rotaractors utilize weekends for service project work, social events and professiona and leadership development workshops.

Every Rotaract Club is part of a district Rotaract organization, run by elected representatives with support from sponsoring Rotarians. The district organization plans regional conferences, develops regional projects, holds club leadership training programs, and sponsors special events to strengthen the bond among clubs.

Rotaract functions internationally through a committee of Rotaractors and Rotarians. This committee works with Rotary International to plan an annual two days-long forum held prior to the Rotary International convention. This event offers Rotaractors from all over the world the chance to meet, discuss issues of mutual interest, and develop friendships based on international goodwill and understanding. Every three years Rotaractors conduct another international meeting called Interota, named from the words international and Rotaract.

The goals of Rotaract:

  • To develop professional and leadership skills.

  • To emphasize respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual.

  • To recognize the dignity and value of all useful occupations as opportunities to serve.

  • To recognize practice and promote ethical standards as leadership qualities and vocational responsibilities.

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the needs, problems and opportunities in the community and worldwide.

  • To provide opportunities for personal and group activities to serve the community and promote international understanding and goodwill to all people.

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