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December 18, 2015

Freemasons Foundation News Updates

FMF-DPS-Nov2015smallClick here for our latest updates on a variety of activities which the Foundation supports, has just been published in the December issue of the Freemasons NZ Magazine.

July 28, 2015

We’re helping get ‘wanderers’ home

Many of us have personal experience, or at least are aware, of the worry and stress caused to families and carers when those with cognitive impairment ‘wander’! The Foundation has made a grant to The WanderSearch Charitable Trust who work closely with the police and search & rescue groups to locate and return wanderers.

Our funds will be used to provide special tracking equipment so that wanderers can be more quickly found and returned to their place of residence. Signal devices emitting a special frequency pulse are worn by the impaired attached to clothing or by pendants, wrist band or keyring. The signals can then be detected electronically.

We are so deeply immersed through scientific research into the brain diseases commonly the reason among older folk for this condition , it seemed like a very useful way we could offer practical help in the everyday world.

WanderSearch Auckland collects relevant information to aid in searching – appearance, age, mobility, favourite places, medical conditions, previous wandering history etc. This data is also kept on the Police database should they need to be called in.

The programme is currently operating in 36 areas around New Zealand. Search & Rescue volunteers manage the program and conduct the searches in most areas.

The devices are not charged for but WanderSearch suggests a donation to help offset costs.

If you have connections with a person living with a cognitive impairment who has the potential to wander from their place of residence, you should contact WanderSearch Auckland Charitable Trust and enquire about this service :

Email – or Tel – 09 480 4448 / 027 230 5165 and leave a message.


July 22, 2015

Secondary students compete for ‘Best Brain’

The New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge encourages high school students to take an interest in the human brain and neuroscience and to continue with this subject into their university studies. With our close connection with the study of brain disease through the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research, the Foundation lends a helping hand, as one of many supporters, to this annual competition involving around 45 secondary schools and 1500 students.

The New Zealand 2015 Challenge of this international competition has just been completed and individual and team winners from the separate North and South Island rounds were:


First place
Second place
Third place
Kate Jenkins
Marisol Hunter
Prathe Chandru
St Margaret’s College
Rangi Ruru School
St Margaret’s College

Teams: 1st Rangi Ruru Girls School; 2nd Cashmere High School : 3rd St Margaret’s College


First place
Second place
Third place
Matthew Fulton
Jonathan Chan
Daniel Chow
Auckland Grammar
Auckland Grammar
Francis Douglas Memorial College

Teams: 1st Mt Roskill Grammar; 2nd St Cuthberts College; 3rd ACG Parnell College

Our individual winners now travel to Sydney for an Australasian competition later this year. Representatives from both countries then proceed to a world final where the ‘top brains’ from 30 countries meet.

The Brain Bee competition was founded in the US in 1999 and has been conducted here annually since 2007 to help inspire New Zealand students to pursue neuroscience careers in order to help treat and find cures for neurological and psychological disorders. Year 11 students compete to determine who is the ‘best brain’ on such topics as intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, aging, sleep, addiction, Alzheimer’s and stroke.

The 2014 New Zealand winner was Nicholas Kondal, from Massey High School, Auckland who is yet to travel to his international event to be held in Cairns, Australia. 2013 winner was Thomas Chang from Auckland Grammar School who went to Washington DC (with his Dad) and achieved an outstanding third place – that’s in the world!


Students in North Island Brain Bee finals at University of Auckland


July 13, 2015

Daisy Player donation – with love

Just like all New Zealand Lodges, and every other Masonic charitable source in the country, the Foundation was asked to contribute towards the Freemasons New Zealand 125th Anniversary project for the Blind Foundation of New Zealand.

How could we refuse such a worthy cause. The target was the cost of 125 special digital disc players (‘Daisy’ Players) for blind and low-vision people wanting the life-changing faculty of using the Blind Foundation’s recorded book library. With the Blind Foundation sharing this historic milestone with us – both organisations formed in 1890 – we were only too happy to generously respond.

Pleasing to note was way in which many Lodges and Districts also answered to the call for their charity  –  in true Masonic spirit.

The cheque was presented at the celebration dinner in Christchurch in May by Grand Master MW Bro John Litton to a very thankful and appreciative recipient.

June 30, 2015

Macular Degeneration – take the test!

One in seven New Zealanders over fifty are affected by macular degeneration.  Every hour 171 people turn fifty and join the at-risk group. And early detection and early intervention to prevent sight loss is the aim of Macular Degeneration New Zealand the support group Freemasons Foundation continues to help in their quest to bring this danger to the attention of our older communities.

MDNZ is a charitable organisation and has no Government or outside help. Each year it provides information, education, support and advice to thousands of people. Their 2014 publicity programme, for which we gave our aid, produced four times as many calls to the free 0800 SAVE SIGHT HELPLINE as in 2013 and provided12 education and treatment seminars in 10 locations around New Zealand with over 1500 people attending.  A further 900 people attended 17 community presentations. And all received a comprehensive pack about MD.

2015 Education and Treatment Seminars

The 2015 free Education and Treatment seminars started in June but a number are yet to run and may be of interest to readers in those areas. The seminars are led by a local Ophthalmologist and are aimed at both those with and without MD, their families and local health professionals. Low vision aids and equipment will be available to view.

18 July
29 July
12 August
12 Sept
13 Sept
10am – 11.30am
10am – 11.30am
10am – 11.30am
10am – 11.30am
2pm – 3.30pm

Free Phone 0800 622 852 or email to register attendance as capacity may be limited.

What is Macular Degeneration (MD)?

The macula is the centralpart of the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina processes all visual images. It is responsible for your ability to read, recognise faces, drive and see colours clearly. You are reading this using your macula. Macular Degeneration (MD) causes progressive loss of central vision but peripheral vision is not affected.



         SAVE SIGHT HELPLINE   O800  622  852

               Take the test at

March 11, 2015

Freemasons Join the NZ Opera Chorus

New Zealand Opera gratefully applauds the philanthropic commitment of The Freemasons Foundation as it announces their formal support of the Freemasons NZ OPERA Chorus for 2015.

From Mozart to Glenn Miller, Freemasons have supported the liberal arts, and, since 2007, the Foundation’s support locally has empowered the emerging young talents of New Zealand Opera. They have also successfully partnered with other arts organisations in the furtherance of musical talent and the Arts across New Zealand – among others the Whanganui Opera School, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Auckland University School of Music. Medical Research and Aged Care have also benefited from freemasons’ philanthropy.

“The Freemasons are proven friends” says NZO General Director Stuart Maunder, “and we are delighted they wish to continue this tradition, supporting a unique asset of our national opera – three dedicated choruses in three New Zealand regions, all proudly local but united in critically acclaimed excellence in our nationwide opera productions.”
“Philanthropy and opera are a joyous combination, and have been so for centuries,” adds Stuart Maunder. “With the longevity of the Freemasons, we look forward to another partnership to span future decades.”

The organisation providing the philanthropic financial support on behalf of all Freemasons in New Zealand is the Freemasons Foundation.



The Freemasons NZ OPERA Chorus will feature in all three 2015 New Zealand Opera mainstage productions: –

Christchurch – Isaac Theatre Royal / 23, 25, 30 July & 1 August 7:30 pm / 28 July 6:30 pm
Book through Ticketek – 0800 842 538 /

Auckland – ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre / 17, 19, 23 & 25 September 7:30 pm / 27 September 2:30 pm
Book through Ticketmaster – 0800 111 999 /
Wellington – St. James Theatre 10, 15 & 17 October 7:30 pm / 13 October 6:00 pm
Book through Ticketek – 0800 842 538 /