Gift of reading for new babies and whānau


15 April 2021


The Rotary Club of Wanganui North recently gifted 400 ‘Rhyming Around The Alphabet’ books and alphabet flashcards sets to the WDHB for the whānau of each baby born in Whanganui, Taihape and Waimarino.

Lucy Pettit and Dugald Matheson


Past President of Rotary Club of Wanganui North, Dugald Matheson, who is also a Family Court Judge, wanted to extend Rotary’s literacy projects - such as books in homes and dictionaries in schools - to infants.


“Why are we waiting until these kids are at school? The best thing a parent can do to bond with their child is by sitting down with them and reading books. This is a small beginning. I hope it gets bigger,” said Dugald.


Maree Carter, Rotary Club of Wanganui North Youth Service Committee member and WDHB staff member, worked with current Rotary Club of Wanganui North President Evert Van Reneen to get the project off the ground, until the COVID-19 pandemic slowed it down.


However, on 30 March 2021, members of the club, Lucy Pettit, Directory of Midwifery and her midwifery colleagues and the Māori Health Team and haumoana, who work on the maternity and children’s wards, had a mihi whakatau so everyone could get to know each other and to hand over the books.


Mal Rerekura, Kaitakitaki Educator, said: “I acknowledge anything which supports our tamariki and their learning. We want to teach our kids you can read and learn anything without going outside your home. You can travel anywhere you want.”


The funding for the books and other community projects are funded through the Rotary trailer raffle.


Lucy Pettit said: “We’re really humbled at this - it’s absolutely lovely.  This is going to be really beneficial.”