National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee membership

Find out about membership in the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and current members. 

NAWAC members have a wide range of experience

NAWAC is made up of a chairperson, the chairperson of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, and up to 9 other members. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 specifies requirements for membership. Members are chosen for their expertise and need a range of knowledge and experience including:

  • veterinary, agricultural, and animal science
  • care, breeding, and management of companion animals
  • ethical standards and conduct in respect of animals
  • understanding of the public’s interest in animals
  • environmental and conservation management.


Dr Matthew Stone

BVSc, MVS (Epidemiology), MInstD

Matthew Stone is a veterinary epidemiologist by profession, an experienced executive-level manager in New Zealand government and international organisations, and currently Principal Consultant and Director of a boutique consultancy company working with New Zealand and international clients. Aside from his NAWAC responsibilities, Matthew is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, a World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank accountability mechanism. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Burden of Animal Diseases programme, a joint initiative between World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) and University of Liverpool, with funding support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government. He advises the Wellcome Trust UK during the establishment of the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Policy Accelerator within the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Governance of AMR, and represents WOAH in the Coordination Team of the AMR Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform. Through IFC World Bank, he is currently involved in animal health projects in Vietnam and Mongolia. Matthew’s career has involved five years in clinical veterinary practice, 20 years in the Ministry for Primary Industries, and five years as Deputy Director General, International Standards and Science, at WOAH in Paris, France.

Appointed 04.11.2022


Dr Arnja R Dale

BSc, GDipNFPL, GDipHE, MSc, MSc (Hons), PhD

Arnja is the chief scientific officer at the SPCA and has over 25 years' experience in animal welfare science. Prior to this, Arnja was a senior lecturer in animal welfare science, law, and ethics, and led the animal welfare investigations training programme at Unitec for 14 years. Before this, she worked overseas. Arnja is on a number of boards and committees and is committed to meaningful and sustainable animal welfare improvements.

Appointed 14.03.2019

Dr Grant McCullough


Grant is the founder and owner of Veterinary Hospital Group – a group of 10 vet clinics across the Auckland area. He is the current president of the NZ Veterinary Association and an independent director of Troy Laboratories, an Australian-based veterinary pharmaceutical company. Grant lives on a lifestyle block on the outskirts of Auckland and runs a 50-hectare beef farm north of Auckland.

Appointed 01.11.2020

Mrs Sandra Faulkner


Sandra Faulkner is a successful farmer, businesswomen, and community stalwart. She provides the committee with knowledge and experience of the commercial use of animals.

Appointed 17.03.2020

Mr Peter Mason


Peter is an independent animal welfare consultant with a career spanning 30-plus years. He provides knowledge and experience of animal welfare advocacy and governance. Previous roles include chief executive of the Wellington SPCA, national president of the New Zealand SPCA, director of Asia Pacific external relations and operations for World Animal Protection, and international vice president of World Animal Protection.

Appointed 18.03.2020

Professor Craig Johnson

BVSc, CertVA, DVA, PhD, RCVS Registered Specialist

Craig qualified from Liverpool Veterinary School in 1989. After a spell in small animal practice, he moved to The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, UK (United Kingdom) as Resident in Veterinary Anaesthesia.

He got his RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Anaesthesia in 1992 and after a time as a locum lecturer in Pretoria, South Africa returned to the UK and gained a PhD from Cambridge University. From 1996 to 2001 Craig was a lecturer in veterinary anaesthesia at Bristol University, UK. In April 2001, he moved to Massey University and is now Professor of Veterinary Neurophysiology and Animal Welfare Science. He is co-director of The Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre and Director of Research Ethics. Craig has authored 274 publications, including 114 in the peer-reviewed literature and has supervised 43 postgraduate students and 3 post-doctoral fellows. He has recently been awarded a Doctor of Science for a thesis documenting the development and application of the minimal anaesthesia model and graduated in May 2021.

Appointed 18.03.2020

Ms Ruth Palmer

MA (Hons), MPP (Distinction)

Ruth Palmer was appointed to the committee as a layperson. As well as her commitment to companion animals, Ruth has a keen interest in conservation. She lives in the "halo" of Zealandia and welcomes the return of the native bird population to Wellington. She is active in pest control and management in the area. She and her partner also have a smallholding in Otaki that includes a portion of a DOC covenanted wetland – Te Otepua – the wetland is actively managed by the private landowners with the assistance of Greater Wellington Regional Council and Kapiti Coast District Council. Te Otepua is of regional significance and provides habitat for threatened and indigenous birds. Horses, a lifelong interest of Ruth's, and a small number of sheep and cattle are also run on the property. Ruth has had a long career in the public service and is a specialist in public sector management and in social and community policy.

Appointed 01.11.2018

Dr Mhairi Sutherland

MSc, PhD

Mhairi works at Beef + Lamb New Zealand as a Senior Advisor, Research Programmes. Before that she worked in the Animal Behaviour and Welfare team at AgResearch as a scientist for 11 years. Over the years she has worked with a range of species including cattle, dairy goats and pigs.

Appointed 01.11.2021

Ms Tracy Brown

BAgrSci (Hons)

Tracy is currently a farmer elected Director of Dairy NZ, Director of Te Rarawa Farming and Director/Shareholder of Titoroa Farms. Tracy has been leading environmental change for dairy through her roles was also recently appointed by Cabinet to the Essential Freshwater Independent Advisory Panel.

Appointed 21.12.2022

Ms Carolyn Eyre

BA, Dip Grad (Psychology), GradD (Dispute Resolution)

Having grown up in the rural Waikato District, the third child of lifestyle block owners, Carolyn has a natural affinity with the land, environment, livestock, and companion animals. She was involved in both local and regional equestrian affiliated clubs for a number of years. Having married a 4th generation beef and sheep farmer, she has resided in the rural Waikato for 26 years forming connections with local residents in addition to national networking with Rural Women New Zealand and Business and Professional Women. 

Carolyn is qualified as a Dispute Resolution Practitioner, and holds Associate status with Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AAMINZ). As an elected member and appointed Deputy Mayor of the Waikato District, a large rural and provincial territorial authority, she holds the position of Chair, Policy and Regulatory Committee and is an accredited RMA Commissioner. She brings knowledge of public interest in matters pertaining to animal welfare and, as a farmer of 530ha beef and sheep, can share insights into livestock as a commodity.

Appointed 21.08.2023

Professor Natalie Waran

BSc (Hons), PhD

As chairperson of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Natalie Waran is an ex officio member of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

Appointed 01.11.2021

Who to contact

If you have any questions about NAWAC, email

Last reviewed: 08 Feb 2023