STEM professions should reflect New Zealand's diversity

posted: 8:00 pm - 8th December 2019
Anna Siobane Royale

With a love of both animals and science, Anna Siohane-Royle’s (pictured) choice to take up Veterinary Science and Healthcare was a no-brainer.

“It was an easy decision to study a degree combining all my interests - elements of science, animal health, welfare, and human relations,” says Anna, who has just completed her fourth year of a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Massey University. 

Of Niuean descent, Anna grew up and went to school at Auckland’s Epsom Girls Grammar School and immediately following high school, she moved to Palmerston North to start her degree.  

Earlier in 2019, she was named as a Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Tertiary Scholarship recipient in the Central Region. 

Toloa Tertiary Scholarships aim to support Pacific students to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. 

Anna says there is a severe lack of Pacific representation among Veterinarian students and practising Veterinarians.    

“We are of a class of 130 people, yet I am one of only two Pacific people enrolled. 

“We need my profession, and all STEM fields to reflect the diversity of our country - to bring in new ideas from a range of perspectives, and to have professionals who Pacific peoples can easily identify with.” 

Recognising the lack of animal healthcare available throughout the Pacific, Anna says she aspires to integrate more understanding of animal care practises into communities and making knowledge accessible to everyone. 

“Unfortunately, animal healthcare is largely limited on most Pacific islands - Niue doesn’t even have a vet clinic on the island. 

“Pacific Outreach programmes provide veterinary care services and welfare education for remote regions. 

“I hope to volunteer for these programmes – Veterinarians can effectively provide our time and skills, as this scheme provides facilities and support staff.” 

Once she has fully qualified as a Veterinarian, Anna plans to enter a mixed clinic practice, which provides healthcare services for both farm and companion animals.

Anna is a strong advocate for education, and she says if anyone is contemplating entering a STEM-associated course, they should most certainly apply for a Toloa Tertiary Scholarship, as it provides many benefits to successful students. 

People continue to associate university with a large student debt – the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship lifts this burden that may be stopping many people from learning and creating, she adds.

Applications for 2020 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships close at 12pm on December 16. Apply HERE.