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Source: Massey University


Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas with Sprinkles the kerurū at Wellington Zoo.


The chance for Massey University’s vet students to study and contribute to animal welfare, veterinary care and research for some of the planet’s more exotic and endangered species is now a reality.

Massey and Wellington Zoo have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement to establish closer ties and identify more exciting opportunities for both parties. This is an exciting first for Massey – no other agreements like this have been signed with any other New Zealand zoos. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas attended the signing, and says working in partnership with our communities will enhance Massey’s ability to solve national and global problems, and enrich the learning opportunities the university can offer.

“This MoU with Wellington Zoo expands an already very successful partnership, providing further opportunities for collaboration across several disciplines. Wellington Zoo’s reputation for excellence, innovation and sustainability sits very comfortably with the university’s own values.”

It’s no monkey business

Massey and Wellington Zoo already have an established service agreement which focuses on the practical and educational element for veterinarians by providing training and specialist teaching for zoo staff.

Professor Brett Gartrell, Director of the Wildbase Research Centre, is excited to see the further benefits for staff and students the agreement will offer.

“Massey University and Wellington Zoo have already had a long-standing collaboration to train undergraduate and post-graduate veterinarians in zoo animal and wildlife health through Wildbase in the School of Veterinary Science,” Professor Gartrell says.

“A highlight of this co-operative effort has been the successful training of 20 post-graduate veterinary residents with four more currently enrolled in the training programme.”

The MoU will help to strengthen Massey’s partnership with the zoo by providing a whole suite of benefits including placements for staff, students and volunteer arrangements, educational talks and lectures, research collaborations and working together on funding opportunities that will provide benefits for both the Massey and Wellington Zoo communities.

Wellington Zoo Chief Executive Karen Fifield, MNZM, says the zoo have enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with Massey for many years through the School of Veterinary Science and The Nest Te Kōhanga and with the Masterate Scholarship in Zoo Animal and Wildlife Health.

“The signing of this MoU is the next step in formalising our relationship beyond our veterinary work and a vital part in our commitment to being a leader in conservation and science in Aotearoa.”

Earlier this month, as part of the agreement, the zoo trialled a ‘Massey Student Day’, welcoming more than 350 Massey students to the zoo for free – a new initiative that both parties hope to expand on and offer to more of the Massey whānau in the future.

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