Last week they were in Coventry, England, meeting Rotarians and this week Rotary International President (RI) Ian Riseley and his Kiwi wife Juliet are in this neck of the woods meeting influential leaders.
Every since Mr Riseley took on the mantle of president RI, a humanitarian service organisation that represents 1.2m Rotarians worldwide, they have criss-crossed the globe meeting members of Rotary Clubs in Romania, Cyprus, Israel, Santa Barbara, Vancouver, Lebanon, Sidney, Italy and India.
His wife Juliet, also past district governor, and he are both enthused about addressing 253 Rotary President-elects on a two-day training programme organised by Rotary District at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre on the weekend.
They passionately talk about the environmental initiatives that Rotary Clubs the world over have taken up with a vengeance.
“Protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service,” they say.
“My request of planting one tree per Rotarian, which would amount to 1.2 million new trees in the world is being followed enthusiastically,” says Mr Riseley who lives on seven hectares at Moorooduc, Australia where they practice their personal philosophy of sustainable and organic living.
He talks of the Rotary Peace Forests in Israel and in Iceland.
“In Romania, the government heard about the initiative and has offered to donate 1.2m trees saying ‘we lack the resources to plant them, so are happy for Rotarians to plant them’.”
A member of the Rotary Club of Sandringham, Victoria, Mr Riseley is a chartered accountant and principal of Ian Riseley and Co, a firm he established in 1976. However, during his stint as President he is now located at Evanston, Chicago, the headquarters of Rotary International.
At the Friday evening dinner, he addressed around 300 Rotarians on the Rotary theme of ‘making a difference’ and urged everyone to contribute to Rotary Foundation.
Mr Riseley quoted Bill Boyd, only the second New Zealander to hold the post of World President of RI, saying: “We will never bring about a perfect world, but we can try.”
He also acknowledged Rotarians Stuart and Vivian Searle, as he inducted Stuart, a Rotary Past District Governor and his wife Vivian to the Arch Klumph Society.
Named after the sixth president of Rotary, the Arch Klumph Society recognises the Rotary Foundations’ highest tier of donors–those who have contributed $250,000 or more during their lifetime.
“And luckily their children haven’t objected to it,” he said light-heartedly.
The Riseleys are also major donors and Bequest Society members of the Rotary Foundation.