It appears that the Division is slowly returning to normal after the Covid 19 virus with many Regular Meetings in vogue with new initiates coming to the fore.
Zoom online video conferencing meetings have resulted in a surge of interest within Freemasonry New Zealand with many Brethren within NZ and offshore catching up on long lost friendships which is marvellous.
The Grand Lecturer Northern, VW Bro John MacDonald has utilised the interest in Zoom to present to members globally and I must congratulate VW Bro John on his ability to interact with others. He has visited Taupo, Rotorua and Tauranga in recent times offering interactive presentations to members of Lodges within the Bay of Plenty District. He also runs weekly Zoom presentations on Friday and Sunday evenings to which all members are invited.
We have a busy few months coming up with the Divisional Grand Masters and District Grand Masters getting together in Wellington on 15th and 16th August with the Grand Master for a workshop to discuss options for the Strategic Direction of the Craft from 2019 – 2023. Covid 19 has delayed the introduction of the plan for 2020 but as we progress through to December 2020 further information will be made available to all members.
Recently a survey of members and their view of Freemasonry in New Zealand was sent out to every member. Effectively the return was quite high showing the Freemasons regard their Craft with respect, but that it requires a few tweaks to make it work even better in this modern age of Freemasonry. Further information will be coming shortly.
The recent Almoners and Charity Officers meeting held in Auckland was well attended and presentations by W Bro Jeff Mear, Shelley Newson, VW Bro Brian Crone and VW Bro Bob Monson were received well and updated those attending of how, why and where they can assist members, their families and the Community through Charitable grants and assistance with Community projects. A number of Districts are very proactive in looking for Community projects and some are starting to come to fruition now. Really good to see. The other result is communication and visibility in the community via local papers etc. Any project should have a long term goal and be presented in a way that Freemasonry feels proud of what they have accomplished.
A reminder that Daylight Saving commences on 27th September 2020 and we need to get up an hour earlier.
You may have already seen the Grand Master, MW Bro Graham Wrigley in an interview with MW Bro Peter Kirwan, Grand Master of Western Australia. Refer to the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg_mz63tcmE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2_9-9KvT1ooyCaCfEX_ONMsLoA30_PT-MvkHAKPsLS6kIvLxBgXzAvFsQ
That’s all folks until next time - “Keep well and safe out there”.
RW Bro Michael Hattie
Divisional Grand Master (Northern)
I trust you, your families and friends are all well.
Now is the time for the refreshment of Freemasonry in New Zealand. A time to enjoy the camaraderie and contact with your friends and Freemasons.
It has been an arduous 10 weeks for all members of Freemasonry in New Zealand and behind the scenes the Grand Master, Board of GP's and the Executive team have been working hard to mitigate any risk to our members due to the Covid-19 virus. Now we are in Category 2, lodges can return with a maximum number of 100 attendees. This does not mean you can fit 100 members in your lodge, as they must cater for the 2 metre social distancing. My hope is for the Ministry of Health and the government to lower the Category to Level 1. We can only wait and see what happens on 22nd June or earlier. Fortunately the risk to kiwi's has largely been minimised and I congratulate all Freemasons and their families for their risk management practices to prevent the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
As per the Grand Masters recent guidelines, we cannot afford to lower our guard until the all clear is given and a possible vaccine provided for our use. Of particular note, when returning to your lodges from the 1st June, please ensure that your lodge buildings and the members conform with the Grand Masters guide and flowchart. There should be every opportunity to practice good hygiene, sanitise when entering or leaving the lodge building etc. There are guidelines for the provision of refectory food and it is not encouraged that home prepared food be provided and if a caterer is involved in supply then they must show the correct hygiene credentials and practice the optimal Health and Safety best practice. Until the all clear is given, it is important that the sick or immune deficient Brethren stay at home as there is a risk they may attract the virus, but it is up to the individual member to make that call.
The 2 metre separation between members applies both in lodge and refectory. It is best that full refectory proceedings are withdrawn until we return to normal (Category 1?). You may however like to have a few toasts, but ensure any utensils (plastic cups) used are disposable.
It appears that a number of Lodges in June are having a business meeting with a view to planning for the rest of the 2020 year. There have been provisions made by the Grand Master using the online dispensation system for the Divisional Grand Master to issue suitable dispensations so that lodges can carry on business as usual, including ceremonial and installations. Throughout New Zealand there are approximately 80 lodges awaiting the installation of a new Master and investiture of Brethren, so the 15 District GM's may be spreading the load to ensure these can proceed as normal.
The winter weather is almost upon us and I urge Brethren, especially the elderly that if they do feel unwell or show signs of the flu, do not go out. Keep warm and get well. Give the younger members something to do while you are incapacitated.
Maintain the lines of Communication to members and widows and the sick and infirm. The Freemasons Charity will assist where required. Please contact your lodge almoner and District Charity Officer.
ZOOM video conferencing has proved popular and the Grand Master has grabbed the reins and attended many meetings through New Zealand during the Lockdown. He has also provided valuable leadership with a weekly online video on the Grand Lodge of New Zealand website.
In the meantime, return to your lodges, enjoy the social contact and slowly get back into the Rhythm of lodge meetings and visiting.
RW Bro Michael Hattie
Divisional Grand Master