Genevieve Theseira-Haese is the former Lady Mayoress of the City of Adelaide (2014-2018). She is the instigator of the HerStory project recording the history of past Lady Mayoresses. 

Early Life and Career

Genevieve was born and raised in Singapore to Eurasian parents.

Her early years were largely influenced by her parents and her father’s library, an avid reader; she got her thirst for adventure from reading books such as Nancy Drew mysteries, Enid Blyton’s Secret 7 and Jane Austin.

Her learning through books continued and at the age of 17 she was introduced to the psychology of advertising when she read ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ by Sir David Ogilvy, who Genevieve describes as a modern day Merlin (he even had his own castle!).

Inspired by the potential to positively influence people to action through storytelling and ‪ imagery, she moved to Los Angeles where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communication.  Her thesis was 'The Art of Influence and Persuasion' and became her driving interest in psychology and metaphysics.   

Genevieve moved to London in 1986 where she lived and worked in the advertising industry for 10 years. 

In 2000 her father passed away at age 59, so Genevieve moved back to Singapore to be with her family.  She was very close to her father and his death led her on a more spiritual journey, a world away from the world of advertising she came from. She started reading books that nourished her head and soul, books that spoke of listening and synchronicity and was particularly drawn to author Lee Coit, who also came from the world of advertising but began a quest that led him deeper into the uncovering of his own spiritual being.

Genevieve’s life took on new meaning, yet one where everything she had learned and experienced from the world of advertising to holistic healing, family and spirituality merged to create a purpose and vision of her future, one where she would dedicate her life for humanity.

Genevieve’s passion for helping others saw her join the Board of the Home Nursing Foundation in Singapore and develop a number of holistic healing retreats across Asia. She is the Founder and Owner of Holistic Healing Arts Portal ‘BreathingSpace Inc.’, a healing arts portal designed to promote the healing arts to Corporate Executives globally.

Genevieve first met Martin Haese in 2000 at a Global Entrepreneur’s Association event. They were married in Melbourne 10 years later on 1 January 2010 and moved to Adelaide, South Australia.  In 2014 Martin became Lord Mayor of Adelaide following a successful campaign in which Genevieve took an active role in strategy and marketing. 

Following a nomination passed through Council, Genevieve became Lady Mayoress of Adelaide in November 2014.


Genevieve said in an Interview with Andrew Hough

If I can do something to change for the better in Adelaide… to get people to care for each other, then I would be really proud

 - and Genevieve can be really proud.

Genevieve embodies the spirit of Queen Adelaide working closely and tirelessly with the community and creating a multicultural city. She has opened the doors of Town Hall, and her heart, to the people of Adelaide achieving something no other Lady Mayoress has - she has broken down the barriers between ‘them and us’ and created ‘us’.

HerStory South Australia is a movement created by Genevieve, Lady Mayoress to share the untold stories of women in South Australia.

When she first became Lady Mayoress Genevieve wanted to learn and understand more about the women who had previously held the role, but when she looked to the history books for answers she was surprised to find no record of Lady Mayoresses, only the Lord Mayors.

So, Genevieve started a movement, HerStory, with the vision that by sharing their untold stories we can tap into the strength of these women and re-ignite the pioneering spirit into our time, continuing to lead the way as a pioneering state and pioneering women, bold, brave, intelligent and creative.

HerStory Launch

On November 4, 2017 Genevieve launched ‘HerStory – Celebrating Centuries of Women’s Achievements’ at the Town Hall surrounded by 150 women from the community with guest speakers from local women’s charity groups.

HerStory book

Genevieve is currently having a book written about ‘HerStory’, documenting the stories and achievements of Lady Mayoresses in Adelaide since the first Mayor, James Hurtle Fisher, in 1840.

HerStory Museum

Genevieve would like to see a museum in Adelaide dedicated to HerStory and is actively working to make this a reality.

HerStory Fundraising

HerStory unites and connects women to support each other and the many charity groups, organisations and causes around Adelaide.

Sister Cities

Adelaide has six Sister Cities: Austin, USA; Christchurch, New Zealand; George Town, Malaysia; Himeji, Japan and Qingdao, China.

Genevieve wanted to strengthen the relationship further and created ‘City Sisters’, women from each of the Sister Cities who live in Adelaide and regularly meet to connect, share ideas, volunteer, and support events around the city.  The writer of this entry is the City Sister from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Return of the Lady Mayoress Opal

The $50,000 opal was part of a lavish Lady Mayoress ceremonial piece commissioned by former Lord Mayor James Bowen (1979-1981), for the Lady Mayoress to wear during civic and ceremonial duties.

The Opal was gifted to Austin, Texas, as part of the Sister city celebrations in 1983 by then Lord Mayor Arthur Watson.

It remained in Austin, forgotten, for 30 years until Genevieve rediscovered its existence and bought it back to the Town Hall for the people of Adelaide.

Patronage as Lady Mayoress

National Council of Women, South Australia (NCWSA)
SAHMRI (South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute) Nutrition and Metabolism Awareness support
Students Explore, an adventure and cultural engagement group 
Amicus Global – Embracing Global Inter-development
MOSH (Minimisation of Suicide Harm) Australia
ACC (Adelaide City Council ) Library - Life Long Learning advocate
The Magdalene Centre (Anglicare SA )

Advisory Role

Advisor to founders of 'Teaspoons Of Change' Aligning business, education and government with the Global Goals.

Ambassador for

The National Trust (City Chapter)
Nutrition Festival 2015
NAGC (North Adelaide Golf Club)
Business Women's Golf Network 
Straits Settlement Network SA (connecting Adelaide community with South East Asia)

Honorary Roles

Honorary Adelaide City Rotarian Club
Honorary Adelaide City Lion's Club
Honorary SA Victoria League for Commonwealth
Associate member Pioneer Association of South Australia

Significant Gifts

Emma Hack portrait & Qing Dao pearls

Personal Note

“We are the children of Adelaide”

Helena Kyriazopoulos's picture
Helena Kyriazopoulos says:

What a great initiative. HerStory highlights the extraordinary, inspirational women and their amazing achievements who have contributed in their own way to South Australia's great history. HerStory was the seed to the Multicultural Communities Council of SA Women’s Leadership Awards - Quiet Achievers Recognition. This Award recognises women who have shown leadership, passion and commitment, not for personal gain, rather for the betterment of the entire multicultural sector, women who are the backbone of their communities those who have not received any recognition for their hard efforts - the real quiet achievers. In time we hope that some of these women will join the ranks of those listed in HerStory.

Catherine Manning's picture
Catherine Manning says:

Thanks for adding that information Helena. We'd love to have more diverse representation of women's stories in the SA History Hub website.

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The Advertiser Weekend Extra, James Hough interview, 24 January 2015.