Posted by Colin Alford on Oct 01, 2018



 (26 September 1978 – 1 October 2018)

Here is a bit of background to Joe Tomlinson and his remarkable involvement with Eastern Hutt Rotary in servicing his community for the past 40 plus years.


Joe Tomlinson, was born in Glasgow and lived there until at the age of 17 he joined the British Army.  He enjoyed his army life, which included some time in Korea.  Somewhat restless after his time in the army, at age 21, decided to emigrate to NZ arriving in Wellington.


Joe obtained a job as a painter and, as they say, the rest is history.  While living in Eastbourne he met and courted una bella donna, a lovely young Italian lady, Luisa. They married and have 2 children and 3 grandchildren, who are all live locally.


Joe set up his successful painting business in the Hutt Valley and many schools, houses, and commercial buildings bear testament to the quality of his work.  Joe has a reputation for integrity and for quality, his staff were always polite and skillful.  A testament to the man and to his ability to get the best out of people.


On 26 September 1978, Joe joined the Rotary Club of Eastern Hutt after being in Jaycees for the previous 10 years.  It was this collective of worthy and energetic young men who helped build the Avalon Pavilion.


He was involved in a myriad of projects.  Not the least of which was OZBO Day, a project that happened every year for close on 20 years on Waitangi Day, February 6.  OZBO, an acronym for "One Z Bee" was held at TV's Avalon Studios, an open day, where the public could wander around the studios its Sets for a gold coin donation.  This annual event often raised $25,000 for local charities, a huge amount in those days. 


Joe was always at the forefront of all these Rotary activities, he gave of his time, his skills and quietly without fuss, his money.  Like the Quiet Garden project at Hutt Hospital.  Many Saturday mornings were spent clearing the waste land and creating the Quiet Garden, welcome morning teas being provided by the wives. This garden was completed in April 1981 and was later refurbished by our members.


In the 1982-83 year Joe was the Community Services Director for President, Maurice Heyes.  The projects undertaken by his committee, that year included:

  • Helping with the Crippled Childrens Society Appeal,
  • A table tennis table and equipment and a radiogram for the Laura Ferguson Home,
  • Selling Christmas cards,
  • Building the Avalon Park Picnic Shelter, at the south end of Avalon Park.

Joe was elected President for the 1995-1996 year, the Rotary motto for that year was “Act with Integrity, Serve with Love, Work for Peace".  Joe epitomised these values.  To highlight some of the activities that year:

  • A visit to South Pacific Tyres, whose Personnel Manager was our member James Wheeler. Sadly the factory is no longer here. 
  • The first and very successful Past Presidents Dinner.
  • A 24-hour relay race around the Wellington waterfront, our team came 7th and raised $7,950. 24 hours of fun, fellowship and fund raising.
  • Tree planting on Mana Island, over 500 trees planted by our team of 19 members and friends.
  • He visited and provided paint for Salamumu school in Samoa,
  • Repaired and repainted the picnic shelter in Avalon Park and repainted a large garage at the Laura Ferguson Home.

Have you noticed the theme of paint and painting here?  And there can be no projects without fund raising!  3 theatre evenings, the legendary Christmas raffle, selling Phone cards in support of the National Child Health Research Foundation, a Casino evening, 2 Emergency boxes and funds towards a Rotahome in Fiji, house to house collections raising money for the IHC and the Salvation Army, the humbling Children with Handicaps Christmas party, an outdoor Bowls Gala Day, and a cricket game against the Stokes Valley Rotary.  Whew, what a year!!!


Joe has been a councillor involved in the International Youth Exchange programme over a number of years.  He and Luisa have been host parents for Barbara and Catherine from Germany, and Hero from Japan.  They all speak glowingly of their Scottish/Kiwi Dad.


In 1997 Joe was honoured with the Paul Harris Fellowship award - a truly worthy and popular recipient.


In 2006-07 Te Omanga Hospice needed the outside re-painted, so once again Joe came their needs using his business connections and generosity - Luisa having been a volunteer there for many years.  At the entrance to Te Omanga a plaque to celebrate the generosity of the donation was unveiled by Rotary World President, Bill Boyd, a past member of Eastern Hutt Rotary.


Though taking a back seat these days, Joe is still ready to offer advice and participate.  We all thank Joe for these amazing 40 years of commitment and providing pleasure to so many.