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New Zealand Grand Priory's Activities for 2000/2002

New Zealand

New Zealand is a small country of some four million people with five Commanderies situated in the main population centres of (1)Auckland (2) Hamilton (3) Wellington (4) Christchurch, and (5) Denedin. Hospitallers activities are developed by each Commandery to suit the circumstances prevailing in its immediate area. Projects are chosen as a part of a Commandery's work in the community, and are selected only if they meet the Order's aims, as set out in its constitution.

While some of the projects may be regarded as "large" in that they involve a significant number of Commandery members, the great majority are undertaken by small groups.

Sun Hat Project (to eliminate Melanoma)

Two major projects were terminated in 2001, very largely as a result of their own success. One of these, the "Sun Hat Project" was initiated by the Southern Commandery. They encouraged the adoption of a "sun safety" philosophy within our primary schools. This project was discontinued because all schools, in this area of operation, now either require a sun hat, as part of their school uniform, or supply them for wear as required. While there is no longer a need for schools, in low-income areas, to be supplied with sun hats, there is a continued need for children and their parents and caregivers to be reminded of the need to take care in the sun, particularly when not at school. The committee responsible for the sun hat scheme, therefore continues to exist as an educational commitee. In 2001, that committee initiated a competition among schools for the design of a poster with a sun safety message. The efforts, of this committee, are paralled by steps to encourage organizations such as the fishing clubs to ensure their members and their children remain protected from the sun at critical times.

Regular spot check clinics had been conducted by the Southern Commandery for many years, and were victims of their own success. When they were introduced there were virtually no other low-cost avenues for those seeking reassurance that they did not have potentially life-threatening conditions such as melanomas. But now most general practitioners offer full body checks and spot checks as part of the normal consultation process, and will often offer regular skin check clinics, often at no charge to the patient. While the ready availability of these clinics has obviated the requirement for the Southern Commandery to continue its skin clinics, there is still a need for those in rural areas, where the coverage of general practioners is less than in the cities and large towns, to have the opportunity to have regular checks. The Commandery is exploring ways in which the needs of rural people can be met. The Commandery hopes also to combine with the local specialist dermatologists to hold periodic refresher courses for general practioners.

Ministry of Health News: Why is New Zealand's Melanoma Problem so Bad? by Gerald Smith

The annual incidence of melanoma amongst the non-Maori population in New Zealand has doubled over the last ten years and one of the factors which could be contributing to this alarming trend is an increase in the level of solar erythermal UV radiation.

Skin Cancer and Melanoma
Sun Protection at work


While our charitable activities, in the past, have been mainly directed towards New Zealand projects, there has been a major shift in emphasis over the recent past with an increased committment to the needs of the South Pacific. The shipment of medical supplies to Samoa is now arranged on a regular basis, and what the Commanderies have been able to do has been supplemented by grants from agencies such as the St. Lazarus Trust. The trust has made a substantial donation on behalf of the Order for that purpose. It is intended to add children's clothing to the list of goods sent to Samoa, as an extension to this project, and it is hoped that we can extend this scheme to include Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu in the very near future.

Samoa declared Leprosy Eliminated Samoa Observer online (October 18, 2002)

South East Asia and the Pacific

Visits to South East Asia and the Pacific, by a member of the Auckland Commandery will continue to provide surgical treatments for those with eye diseases. This treatment is provided at no cost to the needy, and is part of a programme which provides tuiton for local medical staff.

To heighten the awareness of the needs of the Pacific, with respect to the rehabilitation of those who have contacted leprosy, the Priory, in collaboration with the Pacific Leprosy Foundation, has brought Dr. Roland Ferrugia, a former consultant to the W.H.O. to New Zealand. Ferrugia is to lecture and conduct clinical sessions with hospital and public health staff in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the world! While Dr. Ferrugia was in New Zealand, he also addressed members of the Auckland and Southern Commanderies.

The regular and continued donations assist the work of the Pacific Leprosy Foundation of New Zealand and provides for patient's comforts in a hospice for the terminally ill. A number of members pay regular visits to the elderly, the "live alones," residents of rest homes, and anybody who is in need. For Christmas, their visitors bring with them a gift basket provided by the Order of St. Lazarus.

In island countries of the Pacific, travel and migration of infectious cases may lead to the re-emergence of leprosy, in places where it has been eliminated.

See: West Pacific Leprosy
Pacific Leprosy Foundation of New Zealand contributed $626,494 to the World Health Organization - up to 2001.
Extrabudgetary Contributions for WHO - Assisted Activities


The arrival of many of the so-called "boat people," in New Zealand, have provided worthwhile projects for the Order. Toilet bags have been supplied to refugee mothers, hand-knitted cot blankets for babies have been provided, and toys and warm clothing have been supplied for the older children. A grocery chain supplied a large quantity of foodstuffs and soap to the Order for distribution.

Hand-knitted clothing, for premature babies, was made and donated to a local hospital by one member. Several other members produced toilet bags for hospitals to distribute to those who are admitted in circumstances where they do not have the basic necessities.

Home Visitors

Members of the Auckland and Northern Commanderies continue to assist with the maintenance and upkeep of the residential villages in Auckland and Raglan, and to look after the welfare of the residents. The Volunteer Home Visiting Service, in the Waikato, is still actively carrying out its objectives, in the name of the Order, clocking up many hours of continued and dedicated service in the name of the Order.

Moses Redley

A significant boost to the funds, for distribution, came from the St. Lazarus Trust. They donated a sum of $10,000, in the name of the Order, to the Starship Foundation for the surgical treatment of a young Pacific Islander, Moses Redley, admitted with fronto-nasal encephalocoele.

In Conclusion

While this account, of our activities, is brief, out of necessity. I hope that it gives a picture of the Jurisdiction. This Jurisdiction cares about the needs of others less fortunate than themselves, and these same people are proud members of the ancient Order of Saint Lazarus, with its long tradition of service.

G. Halford-Bell
Grand Prior


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NZ Order of St. Lazarus - Table of Contents

Last updated on March 22, 2004.

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