You are currently viewing Service above self for 50 years
Ron Tyrrell said he had lived by the Rotary motto, service above self, for half a century. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Service above self for 50 years

Living by the Rotary motto has kept Ron Tyrrell volunteering with the Paeroa club for half a century.
The 87-year-old told The Profile he was a sharemilker who had moved to Tirohia from Tatuanui, near Morrinsville, when he joined Rotary Paeroa in 1973.

“In those days it was quite a privilege to be invited into Rotary… I could’ve declined, but I decided I hadn’t been in the area very long and it was a way of meeting business people around Paeroa,” he said.
“The Rotary motto is service above self… living by it is what you do in anything and everything. “There’s been some quite interesting changes. Originally, it was men only and then women came into the club and weren’t necessarily secretaries only – they also held other offices including president”.
Ron said his Rotarian highlights over the years included being involved in its market days, fundraising trail rides which are held in Komata, and the V8 Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet events.
“We’re always trying to raise some more money for the local community and around the world,” he said.
“We have events now that can make a few thousand dollars. In the earlier days, if you made a few hundred dollars you thought you were doing well.”
Ron said he was devoted to preserving the Rotary Paeroa history at Paeroa Museum, where he is president. “Seeing as I’ve been around a long time, I’m the historical person,” he said.
“Many years ago, all their records of Rotary actually came together at our place, and putting them under a bed was not the best thing to do, so they were all put into the town museum for anyone who wants to see the history of the club.” Ron said he held the Rotary Paeroa presidency between 1977 and 1978, and between 1985 and 1986. He had also held the position of treasurer in his 50 years.
A surprise celebration evening for Ron was held at Paeroa RSA on May 9. He was joined by past members, members from other Rotary clubs, and family members who had travelled from as far away as Nelson and Punakaiki, north of Greymouth.
“I would like to thank the club and especially [current Rotary Paeroa president Margarete Ford] and the people that organised it all,” he said.
“I found out afterwards [the secret] was all over the place; some people were afraid they would spoil the evening.”
Ron said he’ll stay involved with Rotary Paeroa for as long as he can.
“If you look at the list of things I want to do, I’ll have to live until 150,” he said.