Rotary International President Ian Riseley touched down in Palmerston North last week to see the result of five years of work from local Rotary clubs, touring Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital and the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery construction site.
Accompanied by local Rotarian Rodney Wong and other prominent Rotarians from the district, Mr Riseley was given a tour of Wildbase Hospital by Dr Brett Gartrell and his team, having the opportunity to hold an injured ruru, or morepork, and a tuatara.
Mr Wong said that it was a real honour to have Mr Riseley in the region.
“He’s on a whirlwind tour of the world, and has visited 56 countries so far. To be able to showcase such a special project as a part of that tour was incredible.”
The group was given a tour of the construction site by Palmerston North City Council Project Lead Aaron Phillips, where Mr Riseley planted three native trees donated by Rotary clubs that will be incorporated into the landscaping – a tōtara, tawa and titoki.
Mr Phillips says that Rotary clubs have played ‘a critical and significant role’ in bringing Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery to life.
“Milson Rotary Club member Scott Bruce, and Awapuni Rotarian Rodney Wong have both been instrumental to the project and without their relentless support and enthusiasm the project would not be where it is today.”
“In total Rotary clubs have donated $40,000 and Rotary-led fundraising efforts have produced in-kind donations totalling $345,000,” says Phillips. “They’ve also opened a lot of doors that have helped us gain critical sponsorship deals – without local, national and international Rotary help, this project simply wouldn’t have happened.”
Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery is due to open later this year, and will offer the opportunity for locals and visitors alike to get engaged with conservation.