The organisational meeting or formation night for this club was held on Tuesday 16th November 1976 at the Timberlands Motor Hotel. Tokoroa Lions Club called the meeting due to the fact that their membership numbers were becoming too large to handle effectively. President Bernie O'Sullivan (recently deceased) saw the opportunity to form a new club in Tokoroa. Officers selected that night were: President Jim Hassall, Secretary – Phil Jackson, Treasurer - Ron Murray. Nine other positions were also filled that night The choice of a club name was well discussed. At the time a population census was due to be held and the town folk were sure that the magic population number of 20,000 was going to be reached. As a result the use of "City" was finally adopted. The fact that the town never reached this goal..more..
This was a busy period for City Lions. Lake Moana Nui projects began with the installation of a weir and "beach" below the Cossy club, a large retaining wall, and then annual stints with the lake edge retainers on the main lake. The senior citizen's Centre was constructed in 1980 and our first firewood delivery commenced in .1981. A tennis court and fencing was completed at Hodderville Boy's Home in 1982. One of the first town seats was erected in memory of the late Bob Millar. A real asset for the town was the formation of the Cherry Garden adjacent to Radio Forestland. In 1984 we completed what was perhaps our most demanding project with installation of a large hothouse structure over the pool at the Tamariki School. The twinning exchange project with Mt Stuart Townsville Lions was secured with our first exchangee Bronwyn Hassall in 1985. The Tokoroa Pakeke Lions Club which continues to thrive today was formed in 1982 with our sponsorship.
Club members were busy in 1986 among other tasks promoting the district convention to be hosted by our club in February 1987 which was attended by the then International President, Stan Akestam. Other projects included lining the A&P Association building, painting the Candy Floss Caravan in Lions colours, completion of the Tamariki Pool project, refurbishing of pontoons and their placement back into the lake (along with a certain member's truck). Farewells were made to many members in this era - moving on to other districts as the winds of change began to gather over Kinleith and consequently over the town. Norm & Shirley Holden moved on to world adventures, the Bean's to Ohope (after they won the Xmas Raffle), the Moss's to Hamilton the Sargent's to Waihi, the Miller's and Lang's to Whangamata and the Farrow's to the Bay of Plenty. Adrian Reid, Rima Teao Jr, Natalie Mateer, and Lauren Korte..more..
The club planned for and raised (with the assistance of others) $150,000 to send a local lad to Brisbane for a liver transplant. This massive undertaking was achieved in three months. In July 1991 City Lions sponsored their second club - the Tokoroa District Lioness Club which, because of changes of direction within Lions International, became the Tokoroa District Lions club some ten months later. The club continued to grow and develop over the years. There was a steady growth in membership and a number of new and major projects were undertaken. Among these have been the information Kiosk construction, the Cancer Hostel Appeal, Air Ambulance Appeal, Camp Quality Caper, and the Heated Pool (Chips) project. An annual charity cycle ride was established and the club took over the organisation of the Xmas Float Parade. These were in addition to the club's long standing projects such as firewood, show gate manning,..more..
Our club has changed as it reaches a quarter century of service. The annual projects like the A&P gates, candy floss, Braille Collections, Pensioner firewood, and Christmas Raffle are as strong as ever. Others like the Charity Bike Ride and Christmas Parade (with Tangs) are both popular and highly successful events. The big changes were opening up our membership to women, recycling some of our old Presidents, and generally being a lot more sensitive to Member and family needs. We even found time to change venues back to the Tokoroa Club, and change some old smoking habits! Newer ventures include trivial pursuits, stock taking for club funds, and painting everything from houses to bridges. Who will ever forget Lion Ian Reid getting more paint on himself than on the project in hand, or Lion Bob painting "Hello" on his roof for passing aeroplanes to see? The top community project over this period would probably have to be the purchase of three "Lifepak 12 Defibrillators" by all six district Lions Clubs. The Millenium changes have been good for our precious Lions club, and we can look forward with some confidence to the years ahead.
We had a notable Fortieth Anniversary celebration at the Event Centre, and gradually our projects evolved through changing circumstances and new needs in the community. The A&P Show was canned and with it much of the extra excitement of the Christmas Parade day. Our candy floss machine finlly gave up the ghost, having lingered a little longer than the caravan which was stolen. The Lions International 100 years Centennial projects involved planting trees in a riverside domain and the creation of a garden close to the pensioner flats in Kindergarten Street.
Our strong engagement with the community continued through marshalling for the Porangahau bike ride and the motocross club, barbecues for the Elim Light Party and Take-a-kid-fishing. We continued support of the Summer Reading programme and collections for the Blind, Arthritis, Seeing -eye dogs among others. Our fund raising continued through banner-making, forest firewood and the Christmas raffle, with a late addition of taking on the bag exchange for the Tarawera Ultra-marathon. This challenging project involves the whole club, day and night, at first with stations out in the forest as well as in Rotorua. Year-by-year we improve our systems to make it more efficient.
A new area of community support opened up in line with the new Lions International focus on diabetes, with a donation for wearable metering systems to help diabetics better understand their needs on a moment by moment basis. The Christmas Parade became more and more difficult to feel satisfied with as the loss of the A&P Show, and school terms changing, reduced participation year by year.
Meanwhile the pensioner firewood continued as a major community contribution (no-one will forget the massive gum trees on the steep slope running down to state highway one), and the wood yard was constantly the subject of planning, particularly when the Council decided to demolish the building we relied on for storage and "smoko". As we moved towards the "Twenties" it became clear that new ventures were needed - but City Lions remain in the eye of the community with a particular enthusiasm seen on social media for all that we do.