Adeel Surendran

Since he was young, animal health and welfare has been a passion for Adeel, currently in his fifth and final year of a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.

Born in Viluppuram in Tamil Nadu, southeast India, Adeel and his family emigrated to New Zealand when he was 10 years old, settling in Avondale, Auckland.

During his studies at Massey University Adeel became increasingly interested in internal medicine and clinical pathology. In his fourth year, he spent time each week with the pathologists at the local diagnostic laboratory of New Zealand Veterinary Pathology, assisting with clinical pathology interpretations. His interest in this area has also led to him being offered a two-week pathology externship at the University of Melbourne in October. Adeel’s research topic, examining the links between Vitamin D and fertility in sheep, combines elements of clinical pathology and veterinary physiology.

Upon graduation, Adeel aims to initially work as a veterinarian in clinical practice, where he hopes to further explore his interests in medicine and pathology, before pursuing specialist training.

Adeel has a passion for environmental conservation, and has been involved in various wildlife rehabilitation and native tree planting projects in the North Island. In addition to his veterinary interests, Adeel is passionate about theatre, music and the fine arts. An accomplished choreographer and performer, he has held lead roles in singing, dance and musical theatre productions in Palmerston North over recent years.

Api Taiapa

Breaking new ground to form connections between industrial psychology and Te Ao Māori--the Māori world-is the goal of Api Taiapa of Gisborne. He is currently undertaking a Master of Arts majoring in industrial/organisational psychology-the science of human behaviour relating to work.

Api already holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Business Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. Upon becoming a registered psychologist, he aims to use psychological ideas and concepts to improve industries and organisations. His particular focus is on redressing the lack of principles of tikanga Māori within this field. With relatively few Māori working in industrial/organisational psychology, Api is a potential leader in a branch of psychology that could benefit from inclusion of the Māori perspective.

Last year Api, who is of Ngāti Porou descent, co-presented at the New Zealand Psychological Society’s conference. The presentation set out an indigenous model for development and growth that has the potential to empower Māori by promoting sustainable economic development for iwi nationwide.

Throughout 2016 Api was a Resident Assistant at Massey University’s Fergusson Hall of Residence, where he helped some 90 first-year students transition into university life, by providing them with academic help, emotional support and general guidance.

An enthusiastic player of spikeball (a modified version of volleyball), Api has helped to bring this sport to Massey’s campus and to create the Massey Spikeball Club.

Jessica Russell

Jess Russell is an A-grade student studying for a Master of Science at Victoria University of Wellington with a thesis that is all about bees.

Honey bees-the world’s most important pollinators-are at risk from a variety of threats, particularly pathogens and disease. In her research, Jess will examine whether infection with beneficial bacteria is effective in increasing resistance against Deformed wing virus and the Varroa parasitic mite. Both are key players in the global decline of the honey bee.

Jess plans to continue with doctoral research overseas, looking at invasive species and widening her breadth of international knowledge that she can bring back to help New Zealand industry.

Originally from Kurow, North Otago, Jess now lives in Newtown, Wellington where she is involved in community conservation at local and regional levels. Jess is an active volunteer and part-time employee at the nearby Wellington Zoo, helping to welcome the local community to the zoo, In that role she shares her knowledge of conservation, environmental issues and passion for the natural world, and particularly honey bees, their role as pollinators and our need to conserve them for the future.

Jess is a busy bee herself. She volunteers at Kelburn’s Kumutoto Forest Reserve where she checks traps and plants native trees. She collects seeds for the Miramar Reserve, is a member of the Wellington chapter of the Society of Conservation, is involved in numerous research groups at the university’s School of Biological Sciences, and speaks at prospective student recruitment talks.

Jess is also a founding member of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Program, which encourages the environmental literacy of children.