One bamboo bicycle, 395 days, 25,000 kilometres and one goal to raise awareness of the global water crisis has led an altruistic cyclist to New Zealand for the final leg of his world cycle.
Theo Rohfritsch will set off from Auckland for Invercargill on Thursday, where he will end his 14-month bike ride – an ambitious journey that has seen him travel through 21 countries from France to New Zealand to raise awareness of the global water crisis.
One third of the world’s population (2.3 billion people) do not have access to adequate water sanitation, and more than 650 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. The water crisis is the number one global risk based on impact to society, according to the World Economic Forum.
Theo, who holds a Master of Science in Sustainability and interested in the effects of climate change, embraced the challenge of the KPMG-sponsored initiative Cycle for Water.
The 24-year-old Frenchman hopes that his 1,600km cycle through New Zealand will raise awareness of the importance of clean water and inspire Kiwis to take action.
“Water is something many of us take for granted, yet clean, safe drinking water is key to healthy lifestyles. I can’t wait to share this message with a generation of young Kiwis on my journey through your beautiful country in my quest for change to be made to help combat the global water crisis.”
Theo will visit New Zealand’s key communities and some of KPMG’s partner schools, including Edmund Hillary School in Papakura, before making his final pedal to Invercargill on 6 October.
Since setting off from his homeland on 27 July 2015, Theo has raised awareness of the importance of clean water for sustainable development and raised funds for Hoat Rain Harvester and Ground Water Filter to support schools in Thailand.
Theo’s arrival in New Zealand coincides with the release of a special KPMG report,” ‘KPMG Water and People’ – which looks at the importance of water in New Zealand from an economic, cultural, community and environmental perspective.
“We’re committed to building and supporting prosperous communities and so we developed a report examining our water and people in New Zealand, timed with the final leg of the Cycle for Water initiative,” says Ross Buckley, Executive Chairman, KPMG New Zealand.
“Water not only makes a huge contribution to our economic success; it also plays a critical role in ensuring the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.”
The KPMG report also makes reference to the country’s recent water crisis – the Hawke’s Bay contamination issue which highlighted to New Zealanders how crucial water sanitation is.
“We believe that this will be of interest to New Zealanders at this time when the importance of protecting our water is at the forefront of our minds following this water contamination issue,” says Buckley.
“‘KPMG Water and People’ examines the impact our growing population will have on our natural water resources and makes a call to consolidate water management. We are fortunate to have a plentiful supply of water, and while we are not immune from water challenges, it is beholden to us to respect and value our ‘liquid gold’,” adds Buckley.
The report also looks at the importance of embracing Maori values as a foundation and source of real understanding for the journey ahead, and the impact of natural disaster, such as drought has on our local economy and environment.
Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Citizenship, KPMG International, a world leader in diversity and empowering societal change, has contributed to the report and is in New Zealand from the UK to support Theo as he embarks on his final journey.
“Theo’s endurance and determination in finishing this physical effort in New Zealand and changing how we think about and use water is humbling; both in his energy and passion at the outcomes.
“If there’s one message to be taken from Cycle for Water is that we need to change our relationship with this essential commodity; we need to value water as a source of life and growth, and manage it with respect,” says Lord Hastings.
To follow Theo’s journey through New Zealand visit: https://www.facebook.com/CycleforWater/
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