Eden Skipper has been mentored by both the Rotary Clubs of Papanui and Riccarton, New Zealand, for the past three years.
He took part in the Rotary Club of Papanui’s University of Canterbury Rotary Associates program, which signs up students to assist with Rotary community projects. This initiative was begun post-Christchurch earthquake, to tap into the Student Volunteer Army group which began to help deal with the crisis. Students are required to contribute a certain amount of hours to Rotary projects, which translate to points towards their Community Service degree.
In 2018, Eden was sponsored to attend World Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) in Washington, United States. There, Eden took part in many personal development activities, as well as showcased New Zealand to delegates from around the world.
Eden introduced many attendees to Maori culture for the first time. At international hour he performed a two minute New Zealand showcase with one of his peers, demonstrating a hongi (traditional greeting) and speaking a shortened mihi (ceremonial greeting), finishing with the Maori proverb “Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei” [Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain].
Eden also hosted a presentation ‘The Treating of Waitangi and a very brief background of Māori’ at the expo. This covered many facets of Ngāi Tahu as a tribe, business and charity, including educational opportunities, the Whai Rawa (savings scheme), governance and environmental management. He discussed New Zealand as a leading example of biculturism with indigenous people, and what can be learned from current practices.
Eden was made “Mr RYLA” 2018 at the event and won the prize of being able to attend the 2019 RYLA convention in Canada.
He recently said to me that if it wasn’t for Rotary he would not be studying at University, or have the confidence to travel and network or take up leadership roles. He now does this with great enthusiasm and has attended changemaker seminars and talked with many University and community groups over the last 18 months on various subjects.
We are delighted to have Eden join us as a speaker and the voice of new ways into Rotary.