Teaching tomorrow’s great veterinarians

Eloise Jillings Tāwharau Ora, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, New Zealand

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Emma Gordon Tāwharau Ora, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, New Zealand

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A National Veterinary School

Tāwharau Ora, the Massey University School of Veterinary Science (Massey) was the first veterinary school in the southern hemisphere to become AVMA accredited and continues to be a leader in the area. As the veterinary school for all of New Zealand, Massey is committed to graduating veterinary cohorts that both reflect the national population and meet national and global needs.

Commitment to Indigenous Partnership

Located on the lands of Rangitāne iwi (tribe), Massey is committed to working with Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, through various activities. Tāwharau Ora is the Māori name gifted to the School, which translates as “Shelter of Life and Wellbeing.” Consultation with Māori has enabled a cultural narrative to be interwoven into the new building program to ensure our facilities are unique and authentically New Zealand. VetMAP is an equity pathway that was created to provide holistic (academic, cultural, and personal) support for Indigenous students aspiring to join the veterinary profession, to be successful during their selection into, and completion of the veterinary degree. VetMAP is Indigenous led, with highly impactful outcomes in enabling triple the number of Indigenous students to start their veterinary careers since its implementation. Having more Indigenous students in the program not only benefits those students and their whānau (families) but also the veterinary school and the wider community. Indigenous values and knowledge are also being incorporated into the curriculum to ensure graduates are not only practically adept, but also have the cultural safety to better serve society.

Graduating Hands-On, Practice Ready Veterinarians

Development of practical clinical skills is an essential aspect of a veterinary degree program. Massey has a reputation for graduating practice ready veterinarians with great day one skills. This has been enhanced by the opening of a brand-new Student Learning Complex, consisting of new anatomy, post-mortem and clinical skills teaching spaces. This state-of-the-art facility allows for extensive simulation-based teaching, which is vital with a competency-based curriculum being implemented from 2023. From the first week, students hone their practical skills using a variety of models and learning resources. In concert with simulation teaching is a comprehensive course in non-invasive clinical skills using live animals. A purpose-built large animal teaching facility enables students to get hands-on experience in a safe environment with school-owned animals.


Ovariohysterectomy simulation in the clinical skills lab.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 14; 10.2460/javma.22.09.0414

Final year rotations immerse students in one of Massey’s four veterinary teaching hospitals (companion animal, production animal, equine, and wildlife), to consolidate their clinical skills under the guidance of both general practitioners and specialist clinicians, with an emphasis on student- driven case management. A partnership between Massey and the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals allows final year students significant opportunity for skill development in both routine care and de-sexing. In addition, a student-led clinic offers low-cost de-sexing for the community, that builds both clinical and leadership skills.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Jillings (e.jillings@massey.ac.nz)