National Animal Welfare Ethics Committee members

Find out about membership in the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) and current members.

NAEAC members have a wide range of experience

NAEAC is made up of a chairperson and up to 9 other members. Members are chosen for their expertise and the need for a range of knowledge and experience including:

  • veterinary science
  • medical science
  • biological science
  • commercial use of animals
  • environmental and conservation management
  • ethical standards and conduct in respect of animals
  • education issues, including the use of animals in schools
  • manipulation of animals in research, testing, and teaching
  • environmental and conservation management
  • animal welfare advocacy.

NAEAC chairperson

Professor Natalie (Nat) Waran

BSc (Hons), PhD

Professor Emeritus (EIT Te Pūkenga); Hon Professor (Edinburgh University); Hon Professor (Hartpury University); Visiting Professor (Nottingham Trent University). Director (A Good Life for Animals), Companion Animals New Zealand. Trustee and Hon Fellow (International Society for Equitation Science).

Appointed 01.11.2021

NAEAC members

Dr Jacquie L Harper

BSc (Hons), PhD

Jacquie is the General Manager (Research & Innovation) at Bragato Research Instituten and has held senior science leadership roles across a variety of organisations and institutions. She has a PhD in Chemistry and Physiology from the University of Otago and is a contract lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington.

Jacquie was appointed the NAEAC Deputy Chairperson for 2023. 

Appointed 21.12.2022

Professor Laura Bennet


Laura is a Professor of Physiology and Head of Department with the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Physiology at The University of Auckland. She was nominated by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. 

Appointed 01.11.2021

Dr Angenita (Nita) B Harding

BVSc, MBA (Dist)

Nita is a Massey University veterinary graduate and during her career has worked in clinical practice in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as holding various roles within industry and government.  Nita has mostly worked in the livestock sector; however, she has always had an interest in animal welfare, and the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching.  She has been an AEC member for over 20 years and was the first accredited reviewer of animal ethics committees appointed and carried out reviews for a 10 year period.

Nita currently works to provide resources and information to animal owners and industry stakeholders mostly in the livestock sector.  Her previous roles have included work on animal health and welfare issues, biosecurity, disease control programmes, animal import and export quarantine work, and work in the meat industry. 

Appointed 21.12.2022

Dr Janine A Duckworth

BAg Sc (Hons), PhD

Janine works as a Research Scientist (Wildlife Ecology and Management) for Manaaki Whenua, Lincoln, and for the last 30 years has specialised in the reproductive biology and biological control of wildlife pests. She lives near Te Waihora in Selwyn and she feels fortunate to have all her close family living nearby.  Janine enjoys organic gardening, watching birdlife, caring for her dogs and chooks, and wandering the local walking tracks. She likes being part of a welcoming rural community and volunteers at the Waihora Park Reserve and tennis club and developing local native plantings.  Janine also gets a lot of satisfaction as trustee on the Canterbury Environment Trust at Craigieburn, offering young people a chance to experience New Zealand’s wonderful natural environment.

Appointed 01.11.2021

Dr Joanne L Holter


Jo joined the animal health industry 13 years ago and is currently MSD Animal Health New Zealand’s Livestock Veterinary Technical & Aftersales lead in which she is responsible for the veterinary, technology training, and service desk teams that support the biopharma and technology business for MSD Animal Health. Jo chairs the MSD Animal Health animal ethics committee, is a representative on the Member Advisory Group of the NZVA and a member of the BVD Steering Committee. She is a firm believer in the value of science to NZ’s primary production sector and thinks R&D companies serve an important role in the advancement of animal health and production.

Appointed 21.12.2022

Ms Rachel A Heeney

BSc, Dip Tchg

Originally from Kawakawa, Rachel has been head of biology at Epsom Girls Grammar for 27 years and was nominated by the Ministry of Education. She loves teaching but continually tries to ensure she is not only up-to-date with science but also supporting more students than just her school. With this in mind she has written textbooks, volunteers for tutoring at other local schools, is part of the review of the biology curriculum and has had a number of NZQA contracts.

Appointed 14.03.2019

Dr Michael R King

B Appl Sc (Hons), PhD

Mike is a Senior Lecturer within the Bioethics Centre at the University of Otago, and was nominated by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. His research draws on his early academic experience in the life sciences as well as moral and political philosophy. A main theme of this research is the ethical treatment of animals in research, farming, veterinary care, and as companions. Mike has also written on the ethics and regulation of reproductive and enhancement technologies and treatment of novel beings, the treatment of human cadavers, and the ethics of facilitated aid in dying.

Appointed 21.12.2022

Dr Dianne Wepa


Dianne is a lay member of NAEC and originates from Hastings and Ngati Kahungunu. Her professional background includes Māori mental health and digital technologies. Dianne is also a lay member for the Audiological Society and Nursing Council of New Zealand. Having various academic roles with the University of South Australia, University of Bradford and Auckland University of Technology, Dianne has maintained her international interests in the area of suicide prevention and trauma-informed research and practice. 

Appointed 14.03.2019

Dr Jessica K Walker

BAppAnimTech, GDipHE, MSc, PhD

Jessica is currently the National Science Manager for SPCA New Zealand and was nominated by the RNZSPCA. Over the past 15 years she has worked in both academic and industry animal welfare management roles. She is particularly interested in Shelter Medicine Research and improving animal welfare in the shelter environment but has always held an interest more generally in the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. Jessica is a current member of AEC committees.

Jessica obtained her PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia where she explored whether animals have an emotional experience akin to human grief. Prior to this she completed her MSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She was among the first cohort of under-graduates from the Bachelor of Applied Animal Technology at Unitec and holds a
graduate teaching qualification in higher education. Jessica’s home life is shared with her husband and two boys (aged 7 & 5), as well as two black labs and 3 Burmese cats.

Appointed 21.12.2022

Who to contact

If you have any questions about NAEAC, email

Last reviewed: 22 Nov 2023