The last week of August was a great time to visit Lodge Calliope – escaping from the winter of Auckland to the warmth of Samoa, taking togs, sunscreen, and regalia! Time for the Installation meeting of Lodge Calliope no 252, with the Grand Master in attendance.
It was over 25 years since the last visit by a Grand Master so the Lodge had gone to extra lengths to ensure the visit was an Event. The tourist resort of Saletoga Sands had almost been taken over by the Freemasons – we had a tiki tour of the island – checked into our accommodation removed our watches, and became engulfed in the family-friendly experience only Samoa can provide. A few days of sight-seeing, sunbathing, food, drink….. this is how to do a bit of masonic visiting!
On Saturday, a Lodge room was created in the conference facility beside the blue lagoon – air-conditioned, modern, stylish. While the ladies sipped fruit cocktails, swam in the pool and snorkelled in the lagoon, the men donned lavalavas, collars and aprons and installed the new officers of the Lodge.
The Grand Master took the opportunity to promote W Bro Greg Taylor to P G Std B, in recognition of the sterling work Greg had done as the masonic link between Auckland and Samoa and promoted V W Bro Evan Taylor to PGDC in recognition of the assistance he had given to the Auckland district over the past couple of years.
Lodge Calliope is isolated masonically. Lodge Benjamin Kneubahl, which formerly met in American Samoa, has had its charter uplifted by the Grand Master so it leaves Calliope alone in the region. To compensate, the Grand Master announced several initiatives to strengthen the bonds to New Zealand and to ensure a strong flow of resources and information is maintained.
Calliope will be celebrating its centenary in 3 years time, so the Lodge was urged to start planning now – think about a major public act of charity that might occur; think about booking out the Saletoga Sands resort for the celebrations; think about encouraging New Zealand freemasons to visit at that time so the event will be something very special for the local freemasons.
The Grand Master has granted $5,000 from The Freemasons Charity to be used by Lodge Calliope in scholarships to link back to NZ. Lodges in Auckland will be encouraged to consider projects involving Samoa – defibrillators is an obvious possibility. The Auckland District GM-elect was in attendance getting ideas as to how he might help build bridges with Samoa.
Lodge Calliope is keen to link up with other brethren using technology – it is planning a way forward with this but it would be a great way to foster interest amongst New Zealand brethren in what is the only overseas NZC lodge.
The brethren of Lodge Calliope and their partners went to extraordinary lengths to ensure our stay was special and they are keen to build on this visit especially with a centenary just around the corner. Wouldn’t it be great to have a contingent of visitors from NZ visiting Lodge Calliope, staying at the resort, having a relaxing three or four days being entertained in the sun and sea of Samoa, and extending the masonic hand of friendship across the Pacific.
This trip to Lodge Calliope was an undoubted success, and our host in Samoa did us all proud. No longer the ‘chicken coop’ but an event any Lodge in New Zealand would have been proud to have conducted. We are planning our return visit. Join us.