Massey University's veterinary expertise and equestrian facilities will be on display when Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visits the Manawatu, New Zealand, campus this afternoon. The royal visit is part of Prince Charles and Camilla's Pacific tour, celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.

Deputy Vice Chancellor and College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Robert Anderson, ONZM, MAgrSc, PhD, DDA, along with University Chancellor Russell Ballard, CNZM BAgrSc MAgrSc PhD, FNZIM, and Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor, will welcome her.

Anderson says the Duchess' visit reflects her particular interest in animal welfare, and highlights Massey's strengths in areas of equine research, veterinary teaching, animal health, and specialist wildlife rehabilitation. "I have no doubt she will be impressed by the leading edge work we are doing in teaching and research particularly with New Zealand wildlife and horses," he said.

Institute of Veterinary, Animal, and Biomedical Sciences head Frazer Allan, BVSc, MACVSc, PhD, PGDip BusAdmin(Dist), will lead a tour of Massey's veterinary teaching hospital--New Zealand's only veterinary school--where Camilla will meet staff and students working with companion animals and native wildlife.

Plans for the $75 million upgrade and extension of the school will be discussed and Brett Gartrell, BVSc, PhD, MANZCVS, will share insight into the work of specialist wildlife veterinarians at Wildbase, where injured and sick native and endemic species are treated and rehabilitated. Camilla will have an opportunity to view a female kiwi being treated at the hospital.

Finally, at the University's Equestrian Centre, she will be hosted by Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Registrar Stuart Morris. She will see a show jumping clinic run by elite coach and former New Zealand Olympian John Cottle for Team Massey riders. The riders include education student Chloe Akers and science graduate Helen Bruce, who were part of the New Zealand Universities team that won bronze at the World University Equestrian Games in Germany in August. Other riders are sport and exercise student Caitlin Pemberton and veterinary science student Olivia Gibson.

The equestrian centre opened in 2003 and can accommodate up to 40 horses. It attracts top riders to study at Massey and supports the Bachelor of AgriScience Equine major.