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Lions Club

Time to say thank you to Richard

Richard Vetter spoke at the recent Whitianga Lions Club meeting held at Mercury Bay Club. He is a member of Lions so he spoke as one of them rather than as a Guest Speaker.  It was a very special night for everyone because it was an opportunity to acknowledge Richard’s work and achievements as a member of Lions International, an excellent volunteer and leader in a number of community organisations and the friend of many in the Mercury Bay community.
John Pedersen presents an award to Richard Vetter
John Pedersen presents one of the awards to Richard

Richard is loathe to receive recognition and public affirmation preferring to stay in the background. But he could not avoid this evening. The Secretary and acting Chair of the evening, Gordon Barnaby, ensured there would be no other way.

Richard spoke a little about some areas of his life:-

• Radiography Trust where he has recently taken on the Chair from Graeme Matthews. Richard’s comments were about Graeme’s very hard work, his achievements with the Trust and the complex nature of dealing with District Health Boards, ACC and various funding teams.

• His love for the work of St John and the privilege of being the Chairperson, the work of the St John Op Shop, the team of amazing volunteers, the sheer cost of keeping one Ambulance van going, the difficulty of accessing funds and ways to ensure specific funding for St John Ambulance Service, Whitianga.

• His enthusiasm for the Menzshed and how he built the shed they use every week as his own ‘Mans Shed’ a long time ago. He loves the way it is used by the MenZshed but also recognises how much they need better and larger premises to which he is committed to helping them.   

Richard Vetter Presentation at Lions Club
Secretary and acting chair of Whitianga Lions Club makes a presentation of Sir Edmond Hillary’s signature to Richard.

Richard and Diane had recently sold their business, Peninsula Roofing and he thought, ‘What do I do next with all this extra time?’ But now he thinks differently. “I don’t know how I managed to run a business. I am so busy,” he smiles. “We had 40 staff constantly, and it is a tribute to them that we have been successful.”

Richard has his eye on a future where he and his wife, Dianne, can spend time travelling – the wide inland of Australia to be one of the first points of call.  They are both trained members of Taskforce Kiwi able to be deployed to areas of crisis in another country. He is very keen and had been deployed to Vanuatu to reroof school buildings in the outer islands. Richard spoke fondly of his brief experience in Nepal to rebuild a community hall without tools and resources.   He and Dianne are up for the challenges of future deployment.

Richard received three presentations that evening for his service to Lions and the community. One was an award of Honoured Recognition in the Lloyd Morgan Lions Clubs Trust. This was in recognition of his outstanding service and initiated by his Lions Club. It was very moving when Gordon Barnaby presented him with a Nepalese framed signature of Sir Edmund Hilary that had been in Gordon’s  possession and was now  being passed on.

Richard was referring to the work of St John when he said, “We are trying to put back as much as we can.” However, in essence, this is Richard and Dianne Vetter’s attitude to the time they have and the meaning of their life.

It was good to be able to say thank you to this man.


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