Rotary Whakatu led an ambitious project involving multiple Clubs to completely renovate and upgrade an iconic schools outdoor training facility at Lake Rotoiti. 
 
Rotoiti Lodge Upgrade October 2019 - District 9970 Newsletter ...
Rotary’s involvement in the planning and construction of a youth outdoor education centre on the edge of New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes National Park in 1967 has come full circle, with various District 9970 clubs collaborating over the past 12 months to facilitate a nearly $1 million upgrade of the facility.
 
Opened in 1968, the Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre was built with the help of volunteer labour and the support of the Rotary Clubs of Nelson, Nelson West and Blenheim. In its first half century, it has hosted more than 120,000 school pupils from across the top of the South Island. During the 1970s the Rotary Club of Richmond hosted RYLA programs at the lodge.
 
It was during a Rotary Club of Whakatu painting bee at the lodge that a chance remark about the need for a new kitchen was picked up by member Trevor Marshall. Never one to take on a small challenge when a larger one presents itself, he drew up an ambitious wish-list for the lodge. Trevor has since been the driving force in bringing together Rotary clubs from the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough districts to work on different aspects of the upgrade, and convincing businesses, organisations, community groups and individuals to support it by way of grants, donations, labour and goods in kind. A District 9970 grant also helped.
 
The lodge now boasts a commercial grade kitchen, double-glazing, a large deck overlooking the lake, new dining room and living room furniture, three new lodge vehicles, and upgraded outdoor utility areas. While Whakatu has been the lead club, others have taken on fundraising or particular aspects of the upgrade.
 
The Rotary Club of Nelson donated funds raised during its last two annual motorhome shows towards painting the roof, and the Rotary Club of Blenheim South secured the construction of a second garage cum workshop.
 
Last October, members from Whakatu, Blenheim South, Nelson and Richmond clubs spent a week repainting the lodge exterior and living room, staining the deck and laying a path. “It was a great way for clubs in the top of the south to come together to work on a common project, and Rotarians really enjoyed getting to know each other,” Trevor said. Nelson Rotarian Rex Morris agrees, saying the four days he spent painting reinforced the first object of Rotary –acquaintance and service. “That’s what Rotary’s all about. It’s good to see Rotary projects refurbished and continuing long after they were started.”