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First NZ Student Ambassador for Animals flies Fiji

For release: Monday 21st November 2005

News Release

New Zealand’s First Student Ambassador for Animals Flies off to Fiji

The World Society for Animals (WSPA) is proud to announce Invercargill student, Emily Beale as the winner of an inaugural national essay competition to find New Zealand’s first Student Ambassador for Animals. The competition was part of WSPA’s global celebrations to mark World Animal Week with entries received from year 9 to 12 students from as far north as Kaitaia and as far south as Invercargill.

WSPA New Zealand Regional Manager, Kimberly Muncaster says that she was “overwhelmed by the passion and enthusiasm with which students embarked on this project”. She goes on to say “the excellent response we received to this competition shows that animal welfare is an issue of great importance to New Zealand’s future generation”.

The judging panel included WSPA Regional Manager, Kimberly Muncaster, Auckland SPCA Chief Executive, Bob Kerridge, Shortland Street star, Laura Hill and radio and television personality Mike Puru.

Together more than 100 entries were assessed from which 8 finalists were selected. The finalists, who included the competitions youngest entrant, a 13 year old student from Kaitaia travelled to Auckland to meet with the panelist for a face to face interview. Judge, Mike Puru said he, along with his fellow panelists were “totally blown away by the level of compassion, maturity and depth of understanding that these young people showed for the topic and animals in general”.

The winning entry from 18 year old Emily Beale, a student of James Hargest College, was titled ‘Making the World of Difference to Animals’ and outlined practical and easy things that we can all do in our local communities to ‘spare a thought for the little guys’. Emily also touched on the topic of making it “cool” to care for animals as well as a strong rationale for elevating our awareness and understanding of animal welfare issues.

Head of English at James Hargest College, Laurel Swan, spoke highly of Emily saying that she had “a natural flair for the written and spoken word and had proven herself to have the ability to influence her peers with her presentations about animal welfare”. Ms Swan believed Emily to have a strong sense of conviction and understanding of the importance of rights, be they for animals or people. This coupled with her passion for animals will make her a future “mover and shaker” says Ms Swan.

Emily will travel to Fiji to spend a week working alongside WSPA member society, SPCA Fiji. Based in Suva, Emily will experience first hand the challenges and tasks that face this organisation in their tropical environment. SPCA Fiji Executive Committee President, Deepak Rathod and Executive Director, Suraj Deo are delighted that their organisation is the focus for the Student Ambassador Programme and have an action packed itinerary for Emily that will include first hand experience that highlight the key welfare concerns in Fiji. These include community education and awareness, stray dogs and de-sexing programmes.

Emily will visit and talk with local school pupils about animal welfare and work alongside SPCA Fiji in the shelter and their clinics.

Emily’s visit will be captured on film by a New Zealand film crew and also Fiji television.

Following her return from Fiji, Emily will work with WSPA New Zealand on a voluntary basis throughout the year to fulfil her ambition of ‘Making the World of Difference’ to animals.


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