Our History

How Friendship New Zealand Incorporated (FNZI) transitioned from the Probus organisation.

Probus clubs were originally formed in the UK and became one of Rotary’s most successful community service projects throughout the English speaking world. The clubs were formed solely to provide fellowship, friendship and fun for their members.

The movement came to the South Pacific when the first club was formed on the Kapiti Coast in 1974 and soon after that clubs were formed in Australia.

These clubs were originally serviced and supported by Rotary Down Under, but in 1981 the Probus Centre South Pacific was set up to perform this service. PCSP was formed into an Incorporated Society in 1986 and continued until 2011 when it changed to Probus South Pacific Limited, a company limited by guarantee.

PSPL as it became known assumed powers over Probus clubs requiring them to pay whatever affiliation fees they demanded, that they alter their Constitutions for PSPL’s benefit and developed a five-year plan of commercial activities which it expected to be funded by capitation contributions from the then 180,000 club members in Australia and New Zealand. It embarked on business activities and also made demands on clubs that did not sit well with New Zealand members.

In 2014 things came to a head and an independent New Zealand service and support centre Probus New Zealand Incorporated was established and successfully recruited well over 60% of New Zealand clubs.

However, in due course PSPL exerted its rights to the Probus name that the organisation had trademarked in November 1985 and demanded that clubs not authorised by them cease using the Probus name by the end of October 2016.

Probus New Zealand Incorporated by Court order had a name change in 2015 and in 2016 became Friendship New Zealand Incorporated (FNZI). Affiliated clubs followed with changes of name of their own choice, many of them retaining “Friendship” as part of it. New regalia and logo were introduced in 2017 and a fresh Constitution drafted. The new Constitution was adopted by FNZI member clubs at the FNZI 2017 Annual General Meeting.

Whatever their name, FNZI Friendship clubs retain the original ethos of FRIENDSHIP FELLOWSHIP AND FUN and continue to operate independently and successfully, serviced and supported by Friendship New Zealand Incorporated.