Regionalisation in Rotary Zone 8

A pilot agreed by Rotary International (RI) in February 2019


In July 2022 every Rotarian was sent an e-mail by Rotary International (RI) which said, inter alia:

‘ … For the past three years a group of Rotarians and Rotaractors have been working on a pilot project to consider how we can enhance Rotary and Rotaract and ensure we remain relevant for the future while also addressing some of the challenges we have been facing for a while.

Zone 8 … (is) now one of two regional pilots in the Rotary world looking to explore, develop and test new ways of operating. 

We want to ensure the best support possible to Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs. Through a less layered and more devolved contemporary approach members can continue to do what they do best – projects and connections/fellowship.  … reduce duplication and streamline processes, encourage even broader and more collaboration in … public image, marketing …, partnering with business, government and service partners, and make leadership roles more attractive and doable.

A Regional Council for Zone 8 and Rotary Australia and Rotary New Zealand (Oceania) (will) be formed.  An Interim Regional Council will likely start on 1 July 2023, with a final model in place by 1 July 2026. 

Every club and member will have the chance to hear about what is proposed, to have their say and to ask questions.‘

The challenges listed by RI are:

  • Ageing and declining membership

  • Difficulty attracting and retaining members

  • Lack of public understanding of who we are and what we do

  • Complex and inefficient structure

  • Ineffective use of technology 

Numerous webinars have failed to identify real problems, although those relating to membership have been recognised for years. Competition from an expanding number of similar ‘service’ organisations is ignored.

The ‘lack of public understanding’ is because RI leaves worthwhile publicity to Clubs and never, to my knowledge, tells the world what Rotarians do, apart from self-centred social media.  

Attempts to have problems associated with ‘inefficient structure’ and ‘ineffective technology’ explained remain unanswered. 

More recent web-based presentations suggest the pilot will proceed, Districts will lose finance from RI and decreased operational influence, Areas will disappear, and Clubs will be grouped (into Rotary Community Groups) based on geography, mutual (common) interests, type of Club (e-club) or ‘shared language’. Clubs will choose to meet in person, online, or a combination of both, and decide meeting frequency.

See also recent e-mails from DGE Rob Uhl concerning District Conferences and Re-Grouping. 


How it affects Clubs –

It will not basically affect how your Club operates.  Your Club will continue undertaking the amazing projects that you do; locally, nationally and internationally.   Your Club and your members passions should continue servicing your communities, providing the magic that only Rotary can bring.  There may be more opportunities for your Club to collaborate with other Clubs who have similar projects and passions,  you will be able to access Rotary Specialists in any number of areas to give you advice and guidance on issues that are raised in your Club environment.

Change is something that makes all of us uncomfortable but often it means that we if we rise to the challenge we can advance Rotary and continue the service that we offer into the next generation.   

Membership is critical for our growth, so don’t hesitate to ask your community members if they would like to come and volunteer with you!  Promote your project or event and let the world know about the amazing things we can do and the positive changes that we know Rotary can make not only to communities but to people in general.  Rotary does Make Magic Happen!