At 71, Nicholas Bartosiak is the Te Awamutu Pakeke Lions Clubs’ youngest member.
He was appointed their president last week, following the resignation of the club’s previous president, Myrtle McDowell.
“I am delighted, I have not been a president before, and I am very keen to give it my best shot,” said Bartosiak.
Pakeke means senior or adult in Māori, and the Pakeke Lions are like other Lions Clubs, but with a typically older constitution. The Te Awamutu Pakeke Lions has 13 members – the oldest being 92.
“I am that little bit younger than them, so I can run around a bit more.”
Bartosiak is of Polish decent and moved from the UK to New Zealand in 1982. He has two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Though, none of them live locally.
He owned a plumbing and gas fitting business in Port Waikato, which he ran for nine years, and was an emergency services driver there for seven. He moved to Te Awamutu in 2008 for a few years and came back when he retired at age 68 in 2018.
“I love Te Awamutu, I think it is a wonderful little town.”
Bartosiak is a lover of music and plays keyboards for the Te Awamutu Presbyterian Parish every fortnight.
“I find some of those old songs to be really beautiful, I think it is a shame you never really hear them anymore,” he said.
He is on the board of the Te Awamutu Bowling Club and is their bar manager. Through the role, he was introduced to the Pakeke Lions.
“They did fundraisers for organisations that I have supported on my own, so I thought I’d go along,” he said.
Members of the organisation often fundraise on Te Awamutu’s Alexandra Street. They donate to various community groups including CommSafe, Riding for the Disabled, and the Community Health Transport Trust.
“It is very hard times at the moment, especially fundraising, people have got no money. I’m just trying to do my bit for the community and get some fundraising going.”
“The club was getting to a stage where they didn’t know where to go. They’re all getting on, there is not younger people coming through, and they didn’t know where it would end up.”
As president, he hopes to make people more familiar with the Pakeke Lions “to make people realise what we do”.
He also hopes that by spreading awareness of his organisation, he can get more members to join.
He said members appreciate “the friendship and sharing, being able to help each other where we can… to raise funds and to know we are making a difference, that is what is most important.”