New Rotary District 9940 director-general Marion Johnston is not only a good organiser - she's a stockcar driver and the owner of a Mark II Zephyr, Bob Smith told an audience of Rotarians.

Johnston took on the role yesterday at a large district meeting at Whanganui's racecourse function centre. About 200 people from the service club looked on as the district and Whanganui's three clubs changed leaders.

Johnston joined the Rotary Club of Whanganui North in 2003, and was its president in 2008, Smith said. A trained teacher, she's also involved in her partner's Holdaways automotive business.

She is the sixth person from the Whanganui cluster of Rotary clubs to be the director-general of a district that covers about half of the lower North Island, and also the fourth woman in the job. The district has 50 Rotary clubs with more than 1600 members.

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Johnston served on Rotary's international youth exchange for two years, and received the Paul Harris Fellowship in 2012. She's done two years as assistant district governor and a year as district governor elect.

In Whanganui Johnstone distinguished herself by her organisation in roles with the Waimarie riverboat and the Wanganui Vintage Car Club, Smith said. She has a passion for cars.

The Rotarians had a day of it at the racecourse, with meals and entertainment as well as the changeovers. During the morning Whanganui's three clubs also changed presidents.

Raewyn Overton-Stuart became the president of the Rotary Club of Whanganui Daybreak, Stuart Hylton is the new president of the Rotary Club of Whanganui and Colin Slaughter takes on the Rotary Club of Wanganui North.