Over the past 100 years the Rotary movement has spread right around the world. During that time Rotary has been involved in countless health projects, the most notable of which was begun in 1985 in conjunction with international health organisations. Known as PolioPlus the campaign set out to eradicate polio from the world by 2005. Rotary donated millions of dollars, and manpower in many countries where polio was rife, to help immunise the world’s children against this crippling disease. By 2004 polio had been eradicated from most countries. The global economic savings are estimated at US$1.5 billion annually; the savings in human suffering are immeasurable. The campaign continues.

In New Zealand Rotary has been responsible for introducing (alone or in partnership) several health related movements or projects, including the Crippled Children Society, the first Karitane Hospital, the first mobile TB clinic, and the first Health Camps. Rotary also introduced Defensive Driving Courses, the National Kidney Foundation, Riding for the Disabled, the
Asthma Society, The Child Development Foundation of New Zealand, and the National Child Health Research Foundation, among others. Many communities have adventure playgrounds, fitness trails and walkways provided by Rotary Clubs.

Guided by the Rotary motto of Service Above Self, thousands of Rotarians in this country share a desire to improve the human condition and a willingness to give of their time and expertise to help others.

Healthy Heroes 

Healthy Heroes was first proposed by Past President Laury Sinclair in June, 2003, and began in 2004, a Programme designed by the Rotary Club of Wellington North under the banner of Pioneer for Better Health.

During a two-year pilot phase in four schools in the Wellington region, various revisions were made in the light of experience, and suggestions from staff, parents, and especially children.

An evaluation in July 2006 confirmed the value of the Programme, and a website was recommended to facilitate its spread.

From mid-2007 other Rotary clubs are invited to adopt a local school near them, and introduce Healthy Heroes, now a proven means of helping families to build essential habits of good health.

More information on the background of Healthy Heroes:

  • How the programme draws on Government policy
  • Evaluation Title page & Exec Summary
  • The Pioneer Evaluation