2024 award winners

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Award 2024

The Poultry Industry

The veterinary profession has made significant steps towards the NZVA’s aspirational goal that, by 2030, New Zealand will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and welfare. However, it is the poultry industry that has made the most significant changes as a group, with a major reduction in one of its key antibiotic classes.

In 2015, Zinc Bacitracin (ZB) made up approximately 40% of total antimicrobial usage (AMU) for animals in Aotearoa. This was predominantly used within the poultry industry, which only represented 0.4% of animal biomass. At the time, it was considered immensely challenging to remove the reliance on ZB for poultry health and welfare. The poultry industry rose to the challenge, however, with a number of management and preventive approaches developed in the intervening years, leading to a significant reduction in ZB usage.

Although ZB is used almost exclusively within the meat poultry industry, both the meat and layer arms of the poultry industry have made significant reductions in overall AMU over recent years (for example with Tetracyclines and Macrolides groups).  In 2018, use of ZB peaked in volume at 30,031 kg. By 2022, usage had dropped by 95% to 1,486 kg.

The poultry industry and the veterinary professionals employed in this industry deserve immense credit for this significant turnaround, which has gone a long way towards helping New Zealand meet our aspirational goal.

The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Award for 2024 has been awarded to Poultry Industry as a way to recognise the significant strides the industry and its leaders have made to support our 2030 goal.

Pictured: Michael Brooks, Executive Director at the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ).

Environmental Sustainability Award 2024

Rebecca (Becks) Smith

Rebecca (Becks) Smith is the CEO and founder of The Whole Story, a B Corp™ certified social enterprise that promotes holistic sustainability in agriculture. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, Becks and her team work alongside farmers to help them understand and adopt sustainable practices on their farms.

Becks has been working as a mixed-animal veterinarian since 2009 and runs a 700-hectare sheep, beef cattle and deer farm with her husband and three young daughters. She established The Whole Story in 2020 to inspire positive change in the agricultural sector.

Since then, she has hired two new staff members and secured $250,000 from the MPI Integrated Farm Planning Accelerator Fund to support small group consulting and workshops. In 2022, The Whole Story became B Corp certified, demonstrating that the organisation considers the impact of its decisions on its workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment. Becks knew she wanted the organisation to be B Corp certified, and designed the business around the B Corp™ framework to ensure she had excellent processes in place from day one.

As well as one-on-one sustainability coaching and strategy development, The Whole Story also offers educational opportunities for farmers. Through agricultural sustainability workshops, farm discussion groups and catchment group workshops, Becks and her team inspire, educate and facilitate collaboration as farmers work towards common sustainability goals. Becks is in the process of developing a series of short courses for farmers to work through at their own pace.

Becks is always keen to share her knowledge with the industry. She hosts the successful podcast The Whole Story with Becks Smith and has spoken at the NZVA Conference, E Tipu: The Boma Agri Summit, and the University of the Third Age.

Becks has been instrumental in the Taieri Land Use Diversification Opportunities Project, which works with farmers in the Upper Taieri Wai catchment group to identify alternative land uses for diversification. This project is facilitated by The Whole Story and funded by the Department of Conservation’s Ngā Awa River Restoration Programme and Our Land and Water National Science Challenge. Key outputs of the project include a workshop featuring presentations from seven key speakers, a podcast mini-series and a software tool to help farmers make decisions with multiple, conflicting criteria.

As a veterinarian, farmer and coach, Becks is an inspiring figure in the sustainability space, which is why she has been awarded the Environmental Sustainability Award for 2024.

Young Veterinarian Award 2024

Emma Poole

Emma Poole has shown outstanding leadership since graduating as a veterinarian in 2018. In 2023, she became the first woman and only the second veterinarian to win the FMG Young Farmer of the Year title.

Since winning the coveted title, Emma has worked across the veterinary industry in a variety of roles. Notably, she joined Fonterra’s Farm Source team to help deliver the nationwide veterinary roadshow, ‘A Farm’s Journey to Efficiency’. This roadshow promoted Fonterra’s new sustainability targets to veterinarians, and Emma provided a balanced perspective of the opportunities and impacts of the new targets.

As a farmer and veterinarian, Emma shows a keen ability to communicate with people from different areas of our primary industries. Her willingness to observe and learn from the veterinarians and farmers she encounters means she can communicate effectively with both professions. Through her humble and grounded approach at the roadshows, Emma was able to provide key insights into how veterinarians can improve their communication with farmers.

Emma has worked with DairyNZ on several animal health matters and advocated for the veterinary profession. Emma has worked with children in schools, establishing a children’s young farmers club, to create exposure to important roles within the agricultural industry including farming and vetting. She displays enthusiasm and passion for her profession and her role, demonstrating the vast opportunities available to veterinarians in Aotearoa.

Driven to contribute to a sustainable, flourishing veterinary profession, Emma often turns her hand to public speaking – whether it’s a motivational speech or a technical presentation on farming or climate change. Emma has presented at a number of industry events including the Agri Health Conference. She understands the complex role veterinarians play at the intersection of animal, human and environmental health, and she is able to communicate this to a wide range of audiences.

As a mum, an equity dairy farmer with an embryo transfer recipient service, a calf rearer and a veterinarian, Emma is an inspiring role model for young and experienced veterinarians alike. It is on this basis that Emma is awarded the Young Veterinarian Award for 2024.

Veterinary Impact Award 2024

Bill Bishop

Bill Bishop has made a considerable impact on the veterinary profession over the past 50 years. Graduating from Massey University, Bill and his wife Helen, also a veterinarian, commenced general practice in 1972 working for the Clutha Veterinary Association. After three years they moved to Canada. Bill undertook post graduate study in equine surgery at the University of Guelph. Upon his return to Christchurch, he completed the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists’ exams in equine surgery. In 1998 he was granted registration as a specialist in equine surgery by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ)

Bill is a charismatic personality and is well known to both equine veterinary professionals and horse lovers. He co-founded Canterbury Equine Clinic, which was one of the early innovators in equine practice. Bill played a significant role in the development of equine referral surgery in the South Island. In 2005 he was appointed as an Adjunct Lecturer in Equine Surgery at Massey University in conjunction with the establishment of a formal educational “Partnership for excellence” liaison with Massey. He maintained a strong focus on continuing education throughout his career presenting at conferences both here and in Australia along with publication of papers in the NZ Veterinary Journal. He was the face of the Canterbury Equine Clinic for many years until his retirement in 2019.

From 2009 to 2011, Bill served as the President for the New Zealand Equine Veterinary Association, a special interest branch of the NZVA. During his term, Bill and his executive were instrumental in developing the New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust. Bill secured significant funding for this project, working with Peter Gillespie to organise the national fleet of horse ambulances to attend race meetings and transport injured horses safely. The first ambulance was commissioned in 2018 in a world first for equine welfare, and there are currently 10 dedicated ambulances and tow vehicles around the country.

In 2012, Bill helped set up the Dr Don McLaren Trust Fund, which is mediated by the equine branch of the NZVA. Since its inception, the fund has distributed funds to support research and continuing education for large animal veterinary surgeons in Aotearoa. This fund is a tremendous benefit for the veterinary profession and has been greatly assisted by Bill’s drive and determination.

Given his enormous contribution to the veterinary profession, it’s no wonder that Bill was awarded the Dr Brian Goulden Award in 2015 for excellence in equine practice. In recognition of his achievements and dedication to the profession, we would like to award Bill the Veterinary Impact Award for 2024.