Companion Animals NZ Hosts Prestigious Assisi Awards Ceremony Recognising Animal Welfare Excellence

Published: Wed 13 Mar 2024 07:06 PM
Every two years, passionate animal welfare advocates are celebrated at the esteemed Assisi Awards ceremony, hosted by Companion Animals New Zealand (CANZ) to honour individuals whose dedication advances animal welfare globally. The Award, named in honor of the Patron Saint of Animals, St. Francis of Assisi, serves as recognition of the achievements of those whose goals echo the principles of excellence in animal welfare. This year, four exceptional individuals from New Zealand were honored at a gala dinner held in Hamilton on March 12.
Companion Animals New Zealand Board Chair, Steven Thompson, expressed his pride in hosting the awards and acknowledging outstanding service to animals. "These winners demonstrate incredible dedication to animal welfare and serve as a shining example of the profound impact that one person can have on the lives of countless animals," said Mr. Thompson. "In a world where compassion for all sentient creatures is paramount, we are truly fortunate to have such individuals in our communities. Their work to ensure a ‘Good Life’ for animals is aligned to our purpose at Companion Animals New Zealand and for that, we are forever grateful for their efforts and we’re so proud to have celebrated them at the special gala dinner."
2024 Assisi Award winners:
Hartley Holder - Auckland
Driven by her passion for animal welfare, Hartley Holder founded Auckland Cavy Care at 14. Now at 25, she, alongside her mother Raylene Holder, transformed their home into a sanctuary for abandoned guinea pigs and other animals. They work together to ensure each animal receives necessary care and finds loving homes, building a strong public profile through media and educational outreach efforts. Hartley embodies exceptional dedication to animal welfare. Her dedication extends beyond guinea pigs, as she also cares for stray cats, rabbits, and other animals in need, working tirelessly to ensure their well-being.
Julia Stevenson-Renwick - Bay of Plenty
Julia Stevenson-Renwick is a beacon of compassion in Kawerau. As founder of KTown Community Animal Welfare Society, she's rallied a community of animal lovers
into a formidable force for good. Julia inspires the team who rescue and provide care to many animals in need. For eighteen years, Julia has dedicated her life to caring for and rehoming needy animals, serving as a volunteer for the SPCA for fifteen of those years. She has made a profound impact on the eastern Bay of Plenty, with KTown CAW helping to desex more than 700 animals since its inception in December 2020. She is truly an unsung hero in the community.
Dr Helen Beattie - Dunedin
Helen's lifelong commitment to animal welfare, showcased through her diverse career spanning clinical practice, animal welfare advocacy, and leadership roles, has positioned her as a prominent figure in the veterinary community. Helen founded Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Aotearoa (VAWA) and her appointment as Managing Director underscores her dedication to advancing animal welfare in New Zealand, cementing her status as a leader in the field. Helen's work drives meaningful change and champions the pursuit of A Good Life for animals across New Zealand.
Dr Hayley Squance – Palmerston North
Hayley's exceptional expertise and dedication in emergency management have earned her international recognition and admiration. With a background as a qualified veterinary technologist, she has made significant contributions as an emergency management practitioner, researcher, and educator. Hayley's leadership is evident in her founding of the Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team and in her work for the Ministry for Primary Industries on disaster response efforts. she has coordinated animal welfare interventions in over 50 disaster events, including earthquakes, floods, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Her collaboration with international organizations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) further exemplifies her impact and leadership in the field of emergency management.

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