The Future for Freemasonry in New Zealand - An Opinion from Russell Pratt, PGS Kapiti-Wellington District
November 26th, 2016 3:38 pm     A+ | a-
Important Note: The views expressed in this opinion piece are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand or the Board of General Purposes.

Are you beginning to think that Freemasonry has reached the end of the road in New Zealand? Are you disheartened with the increasing number of able-bodied men who are resigning from the Craft?

This opinion piece explores some of the reasons why Freewmasonry may have ended up in its current state and provides a number of thought-provoking ideas on things we can do to reverse the trend.

The piece runs into several pages - so read it by clicking here in the first instance.

Important note: If the link above does not work - copy the following url into your browser: or click on the picture.

Your comments on this opinion piece are heartily welcomed - but please play the ball - not the man.
Peter Roberson
October 3rd, 2017 2:06 pm
A good start to a discussion on the future,but,(there's always a but) will this scheme not turn the average lodge into a social venue? With the demise and struggle of Chartered Clubs,it's hard to see that if we are to become a largely social organisation we will buck that trend. Once it was common to see Masonic Clubs in the larger centres,not any more.Masonry holds a special place amongst organisations.It's harder to join,it expects more from its members and it seeks to set and maintain standards. Hard to do in a purely social environment?I am not sure whether it is a fact that many or most new members don't want to do a charge.Doubtless we will hear more on this subject and with fine tuning,who knows.I recently attended a degree worked by the four lodges in the Hurunui District.On an annual basis this seems to be very successful.Maybe more support and combining of degrees may be an answer to the struggle some lodges have in working a degree.
James Yeo
June 18th, 2017 8:29 pm
By all accounts a thought-provoking and timely paper.
I wonder if you would mind rerunning it with a larger type face for the benefit of some of the more mature Bretheren please?
Geoff Mather
May 4th, 2017 8:05 am
Excellent paper Russel I will be forwarding it to our members , & will be intirested to hear their comments - in particular the Philipino members who are joining & participating throughout our country.
warwick roberts
April 17th, 2017 5:27 pm
A very good summation of our current state.Not sure whether LOW will work in the extended districts or could present some problems. One factor that you have not included is wives and partners attitude to the craft and the pressure to do things together.This will influence the structure that evolves.I would like to leave you with this thought :-
FM will not be destroyed from outside.If we falter and lose our way it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Tony Grimwood
April 14th, 2017 10:10 am
A fabulous idea! So how do we go about establishing a Lodge of Working? Freemasonry has always been very reluctant to change anything at all, but the ideas given here are both necessary and urgent. The sooner we get started, the better off we'll be.

Tony Grimwood
Lodge Howick 314
Alan Bevins
April 13th, 2017 3:17 pm
Best suggestion I have seen in many a year.
Puts ritual into context. Real Freemasonry did not need and still does not need a predominance of ritual.
We were a very successful social society developing our personalities by discussion and interaction from 1500s to about 1835-1840. We started to decline in numbers then.
Alan Bevins
Peter Howie
April 12th, 2017 5:35 pm
I believe this to be the most pivotal suggestion that I have ever heard in our Fraternity. It requires much thought and contemplation. Such a sea-change just may be what is required. I will certainly be discussing Russell's paper within Lodge Howick.

WM Peter Charles Howie PGS
Lodge Howick #314
Auckland District

Stuart Eeles
April 8th, 2017 8:21 pm
Well done. I agree Freemasonry is far from being a dead duck. I also see things like the Travelling Gavel idea as a great way of boosting camaraderie... which in turn will boost the enjoyment brethren are getting out of Freemasonry...which will lead to an increase in new members. Here's hoping anyway.
Grant Watson
March 15th, 2017 9:26 pm
Excellent, certainly along the right lines.
We have to cater our Lodges for the new society, and that includes the "new" family man. He is active, electronic, motivated, self interested in the first instance, and family orientated. in the sense that social outlet involves doing a lot more with the whole family. but it must be sharp, stimulating enjoyable, and relevant to what they like.
So as you have rightly pointed out this includes large doses of fellowship, but that includes large portions of family involvement.
But also importantly when these time pressed families can devote time to an organisation. So keep freemasonry at its core male, but involve wives and family as much as possible at times that suit them.
one other thing these members of modern society want is values and ideals that they can anchor to - i.e Moral Principles, BUT they want to talk about them as a couple and even as a family, so the 'ordinary' Lodge needs to factor the subjects they want to learn about and discuss into the Lodges programme.
Fellowship but spiced with topics of modern concern for society = however I fear this is a big ask of our present leadership and membership
Leon Grandy
February 12th, 2017 5:45 pm
Snap. Been talking this story with minor tweaks since I was a GS in 2001/2. Hope your voice is better heard than mine.
Dai Eveleigh
December 6th, 2016 11:58 am
Excellent opinion piece. I can certainly see a place for a "travelling" or a "visiting" Lodge rather than a Ritual lodge. A number of Lodges are starting to see growth in numbers, but have large gaps between offices. Turning into a "visiting" lodge would allow them to maintain momentum and rebuild while having fun instead of struggling for numbers.
Thank you for the though provoking article.
Dai Eveleigh (P.M)
The Crown Lodge 138
Derrick Crosby
November 26th, 2016 4:40 pm
Congratulations and well done.
I have also discussed this concept up our way; getting any real interest is difficult.
I fear that more Lodges will fail before the existing die-hards realise working Ritual is not the only way.
Your paper should be compulsory reading for all.
Derrick Crosby,
Past GDC, Bay of Plenty District 7
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