Tena Koutou katoa, he mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa
When I was looking for an appropriate quote to open tonight’s proceedings, I looked for something that offered a message of encouragement, reminding people they have the power to control their own destinies, make their own choices and ultimately lead others to the same path.  As an avid reader I favour those quotes that make me think of my role not only as a Rotarian but as a human being in everyday life.  
One of my favourites is actually from Doctor Suess which reads -
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better”
We have been blessed to have a president this past year who has cared “a whole awful lot” and about to receive another whom I assume will have the same mantra.
This past year has been about change for us all in many and differing ways.  We have, most all of us, witnessed new beginnings or endings in our own family situations, through birth or death, or loved ones needing more support.  We are seeing communities changing through illness and recession.  The world has changed through the demise of our Queen and the crowning of our King.  Later this year our Country will make another change when we decide on who is going to govern for another term.  All major changes.  The one thing that remains constant for us all is the faith we have in what we are doing as people of service.  The principles of being a Rotarian helps us deal with change through fellowship, empathy, accountability and trust.  A huge ask for people whom already care “a whole awful lot”.
All the more reason to keep being the people you are and doing the things you do best.
I would ask that this evening you raise your glasses in a toast to friendship and fellowship.