Whanganui Midweek - 2021-10-13


Rotary connections create gift of gear for Nuku'alofa


Paul Brooks

When John Tindle towed a heavily laden trailer into the yard at Mainfreight, he was completing part of a process to get some necessary dental equipment to Tonga. John is president of Rotary Club of Wanganui North, and on his trailer was a stack of equipment, all crated up by the guys at The Men’s Shed, and destined for Nuku’alofa. “This project is sort of a spinoff from our big Rotary club project with Tonga, which is to send an orthopaedic surgical trauma table to the hospital in Nuku’alofa,” says Rotary Club of Wanganui North vicepresident Marion Johnston. “That’s a big, ongoing project. We’ve sourced about $200,000 worth of orthopaedic equipment . . . so this is John van Dalen’s project that he started.” Marion says that project should extend over three years, which will include bringing one of the Tongan surgeons to a New Zealand hospital to study and upskill in orthopaedics. “As a spinoff of that, I was telling my daughter-in-law [Rachel Mayo] about this and she asked if they need any dental equipment.” Rachel works for Adam Durning at The Dentists as Group Clinical Administrator. An inquiry to the relevant people in Tonga confirmed the need. Consequently, Adam Durning has donated equipment including a steriliser, water distiller, ceramic filling mixer, boxes of attachments and hand tools. The Rotarians put out the word for people to look for a reasonably new dental chair and Marty Emmett said they had one looking for a home. Marty was brought up in Whanganui and is the managing director at Youth With a Mission’s New Zealand office in Tauranga. They normally operate from a ship but Covid-19 has left them ashore. Recently they received a donation of two new dental chairs so were able to give one of the old ones to Rotary for their Tongan project. “Jamie Barrett from Timmark Services, who travels all over installing dental equipment, turned up at work [Holdaways] the other day with a suction unit that attaches to the outside of the building and connects to an internal unit.” It was Jamie who helped source the dental chair from the ship when he installed the new ones. “I went to JA Russell’s and they sold me at next to nothing 50 metres of electrical flex to reconnect the switching gear for the suction unit.” The crate that John towed into the Mainfreight yard is jam-packed with all that gear. “Access Engineering gave us an empty crate and The Men’s Shed used that, cut it down and modified it and fitted all the gear into it, ready for shipping. Everybody that’s heard about this has said, ‘I can help with that.’ It has just been amazing,” says Marion. “And all from an idle conversation one Sunday afternoon. “It’s all about networking, making connections with people and using those connections to do good somewhere.” The crate will be shipped to Tonga from Christchurch. Mainfreight in Whanganui has arranged to freight it to Christchurch at no charge, thanks to branch manager and fellow Rotarian Vanessa Johnson. It will join a container load of equipment going to Tonga, organised by Rotary NZ.


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