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We are a small dedicated team who relies heavily on our volunteers and supporters to help with our work in ending animal experimentation in NZ.
You can contact the NZAVS Board here.
NZAVS is made up of the following people:
Bette Overell (1924-2007)
Founder of NZAVS
Bette Overell, who founded NZAVS in 1978, was inspired by the works of Hans Ruesch, a famous Swiss medical historian whose book "Slaughter of the Innocent" and CIVIS publications brought to light the misleading, dangerous and fraudulent practice of animal experiments.
Read more about our Founder here.
Tara Jackson (she/her)
NZAVS Executive Director
Tara Jackson (Kāti Māmoe) is the Executive Director for the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society. Tara has worked for NZAVS since 2015 and has extensive knowledge of the animal experimentation industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and has a strong passion for animal rights, human rights, and environmental protection. The combination of her scientific background, empathy for animals, and a strong dislike for injustice makes her a driven and determined advocate for innovative, animal-free research, testing, and teaching methods.
Tara is also the Founder of the popular online resource, A Guide to Vegan where she spends her spare time promoting vegan-friendly products, recipes, and restaurants to make veganism easier for people living in Aotearoa.
She has experience working with other NGOs, campaigning, and fundraising. Tara has previously worked for and been involved with organisations such as Greenpeace and World Animal Protection.
Georgette Singer (she/her)
NZAVS General Manager
Georgette Singer (Ngāti Raukawa) is a passionate vegan, an animal rights and human rights advocate, living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).
Working for NZAVS as the General Manager is a dream come true, giving her the opportunity to work behind the scenes every day to help end cruel animal experiments in Aotearoa.
She worked with SAFE as an ambassador in 2016, after she won the title of Miss New Zealand and made it her goal to show that true beauty did not require any nasty animal testing. Using her platform on The Good Morning Show, and in the Girlfriend and Women’s Day magazines, she used every opportunity to talk about how easy it was to live cruelty-free and without harming animals. Georgette has her own YouTube channel dedicated to finding the best vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands, food and fashion in Aotearoa with product reviews and in-depth tutorials.
As a previous pharmacy technician, she understands the misinformation relayed to the public about using animals for science and knows how important the mahi that NZAVS do, within Aotearoa to change this is.
Shanti Ahluwalia (he/him)
NZAVS Campaign Manager
Shanti is a veteran campaigner, having spent his career developing the skills necessary to lead campaigns. He began in 2008 as a volunteer for SAFE. Since then, he has worked for multiple organisations and now works as a Campaign Manager for NZAVS.
His academic background is in economics and political sciences. He chose these subjects to strengthen his ability to leverage change.
In his spare time, he is a passionate bunny-carer. His bunnies, Merlin and Momo, are treasured members of the family.
Marik Kardel (they/them)
NZAVS Research Officer
Marik studied Agricultural Science in Germany, finishing with a PhD and becoming vegan in the process. They are passionate about putting their studies to good use. After a year of volunteering with NZAVS, Marik is now part of the team, combining academic skills and experience in agricultural work.
Together with their partner, Marik raises two children bilingually. As a family, they emphasise taking each other seriously and letting kids have a say in their life. In their school of choice, students actively take control of their learning.
Marik enjoys writing, cooking, gaming, watching good and very bad movies. For exercise beyond being a parent, they go bouldering.
Caz Steele (she/her)
NZAVS Supporter Engagement Officer
Caz first discovered NZAVS while doing a research methods paper during her psychology degree. Around this time, she delved into issues such as modern slavery, inequality, and climate crisis. This led her to become passionate about conscious consumption and, through that, veganism.
Following her studies, she worked and volunteered in the disability sector. The NGOs and people she worked with have been hugely inspirational to her and have furthered her drive to serve meaningful change within both her professional life and personal life. She continues to employ her passion for therapeutic interventions, insight, and change-oriented in her work towards her PGDip in Creative Arts Therapy.
Caz feels it is a real privilege to be part of NZAVS and the incredible mahi they have done for animal rights over the last half-century. She particularly enjoys managing the Cruelty Free Guide as she feels it is important to have easily accessible and understandable information available to support everyone on their journey to live in alignment with their values.
In her spare time, Caz enjoys exploring nature, listening to music, and spending time with her partner and cat at their home in rural Canterbury.
Roimata Mitchell (she/her)
NZAVS Board Member
Roimata has had a deep love for animals her entire life and derives so much joy from being in the presence of animals. She has served animals in many different capacities throughout her life, including working with seals and the yellow-eyed penguin in conservation, working as a dog walker for the SPCA, working on game reserves doing research and data collection and working with the New Zealand Animal Law Association. She currently serves as a Board Member for NZAVS and is running an animal welfare advocacy project in Egypt.
Roimata is an investment funds and capital markets lawyer by trade and loves hiking, surfing, snowboarding and snorkeling. She has a delightful young horse called Roibos Sunshine who she rescued from the Giza pyramid area.
NZAVS has Volunteer Coordinators in Auckland and Christchurch: