Newsmaker: Rosemary MacKenzie

Grey Power Rotorua president Rosemary MacKenzie has been in the news after concerns the local branch of the organisation could be forced into recess if they cannot get enough people to form a new committee. She is this week's newsmaker.


Tell us about yourself:

I am a 72-year-old great grandmother with five great-grands - three boys, two girls. I have been married for 53 years to the same man! We visited Rotorua on our honeymoon and when the opportunity arose to move here in 1976 we moved with our three children. Firstly to Rerewhakaaitu, and for the last seven years in Rotorua city.

I love gardening. Our small section is intensively cultivated with dwarf fruit trees, fruit-bearing shrubs and raised gardens for vegetables with pots on the deck for salad greens and herbs.

How long have you been involved with Grey Power?

I joined Grey Power 13 years ago.

How did you become involved in Grey Power and why?

I was brought up to see service to the community in which you live as an important part of life and I have also had an interest in politics from an early age.

The first election I remember was in 1951 following the Watersider's Strike. I like Grey Power's philosophy of non-alignment to any political party.

Tell us about how Grey Power helps those in the Rotorua community.

Grey Power, as an advocacy organisation, makes regular trips to see politicians of all parties and officials from those ministries whose work directly affects older New Zealanders.

Most legislation is vetted by the board through portfolio holders to ensure that anything detrimental to the elderly is not overlooked and board members serve on committees that advise the government on a wide range of issues.

Locally, I field many phone calls from people looking for advice, wanting information, and wanting to "sound off" about some issue that has got them riled. I love those calls because they often raise a perspective on something that hasn't occurred to me. The font size change in the telephone directory last year is case in point. Our protest has brought about a change.

Why should people become committee members?

The local committee provides a conduit for information on local issues up to the Federation Board and on national issues out to the members. We need people with knowledge like those portfolio holders that advise the national president. This cannot be done adequately by just a few committee members. Rotorua has over 1300 members and keeping them connected can become a fulltime job if there are too few.

If you could achieve one thing during your time in Grey Power, what would it be?

Acceptance by the young, because we have grey hair it doesn't mean we've lost our marbles or our hearing!

What's something about Grey Power that most people don't know?

The people who do the work of Grey Power do so voluntarily. We do not have a paid chief executive. There is a small office in Papakura with two part-time administration staff but the bulk of the research and presentation is done without pay from the national president on down to the local committee.

Tell us three things about yourself that most people wouldn't know.

I love to knit socks! On four needles or circular needles. From the top down or the toe up. The more colourful the better.

I belong to an organisation, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. We were granted custody of two of our little great grandsons by the court and GRG provide us with fabulous support.

I am an avid recycler. My goal is zero waste. We visit the recycle centre frequently. Garden waste and paper is composted. Kitchen waste is fed to our worm farms. Now what can I do with those nappies?

Grey Power is holding a special general meeting at the CT Club on Moncur Dr on Tuesday from 1.30pm.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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