Assistant Vice-Chancellor Stuart Morriss talks about the highlights of the visit.
Camilla's kiwi experience
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with wildlife veterinarian Kerri Morgan
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the Equestrian Centre
At the Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Holding a rehabilitating kiwi
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, held a kiwi, saw a Jack Russell terrier recovering from surgery, met Team Massey riders at the Equestrian Centre and said she was thrilled with the "wonderful visit" to the university's Manawatü campus this afternoon.
Camilla was welcomed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Anderson along with University Chancellor Dr Russ Ballard and Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor.
Crowds of locals, including children from the Massey Childcare Centre, dressed up for the occasion, applauded after waiting a few minutes longer than expected for her arrival. They lined the footpath outside the vet hospital to get a glimpse of the Duchess, before she was led on the hospital tour by Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences head Professor Frazer Allan.
There she met met staff and students working with companion animals, native wildlife and horses.
Camilla held a female brown kiwi being treated at Wildbase, the wildlife treatment facility within the hospital, and took a special interest in a Jack Russell recovering from surgery as she toured the hospital. “I’m thrilled to get a chance to look around,” she told staff and students. “I’ve had a wonderful visit.”
Plans for the $75 million upgrade and extension of the school – New Zealand’s only vet school – were discussed.
Victoria Tyson, head nurse of the small animal hospital, said Camilla was drawn to 12-year-old Jack Russell Emil, who was recovering from chest surgery, and talked of her two rescued Jack Russells in England, Bluebell and Beth. “She said one was naughty and one was nice, and she hoped they were behaving," Ms Tyson said. "She was lovely, really down to earth.”
Associate Professor Brett Gartrell and wildlife lecturer Kerri Morgan shared insight into the work of specialist wildlife veterinarians at Wildbase, where injured and sick native and endemic species are treated and rehabilitated, and gave her the kiwi to hold. The kiwi was receiving treatment for an injured leg and would be released back into the Rimutaka Ranges. Camilla demonstrated a keen interest and considerable knowledge of animal welfare with her questions during the visit.
At the Equestrian Centre she watched a show jumping clinic run by elite coach and former New Zealand Olympian John Cottle for Team Massey riders. She then walked into the arena to chat with the riders.
Chloe Akers, an education student, said Camilla asked about her horse Cortaflex-letitbe and displayed a genuine interest in the centre and horses. “She was really nice, very talkative, very smiley. Just the way she was patting him and asking questions, I could sense she loved horses.”
Assistant Vice-Chancellor and University Registrar Stuart Morriss said Camilla enjoyed the hospital and equestrian centre visit. “She was delighted to meet the kiwi and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the animals and meeting our staff and students at the vet hospital, she really thought it was a fantastic. She was interested in the fact the students can bring their own horses to the centre, and can carry on with their studies, and continue to compete internationally.
“It’s a lovely day, lovely backdrop, it’s fantastic for us to have her here and to show her what we have got and what we are able to achieve."