Loyal to the Lodge

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A member of Palmerston’s Johnston family has maintained a tradition by being made lodge master of Freemasons New Zealand’s Palmerston Lodge.
Aaron Johnston was installed as lodge master for a 12-month term at a recent ceremony featuring about 60 brethren and guests from throughout Otago and South Canterbury.
What makes the 26-year-old’s appointment special is not only his age, but the fact his father (Stewart Johnston), uncle (Gary Johnston) and grandfather (Noel Sheat) have all served as masters of the lodge in the past.
Mr Johnston, who has been involved with the Freemasons for about seven years, said he was thrilled to be following in the footsteps of his relatives.
“It’s good. It’s something different for the lodge, I suppose. I suppose a bit of young blood is a good thing and we’ll see what happens, really.”
He said his role involved the management of the lodge, the organisation of trips to other lodges around the South Island, and planning fundraisers throughout the year.
Otago Lakes District grand master Gordon Girvan said he was not aware of any other lodge in the South Island with as many members of the same family that had served as lodge master.
Mr Johnston was keen to attract some new, younger members to the lodge, which has about 25 members.
“We’ve got a few members who are very proud members, but have moved on and stuff like that. I’m happy to have a couple of older guys to give me help and advice over the year, though. But it’s probably one of the harder ones to get people involved in … but that’s definitely changing.”