Meet New Zealand’s new CVA Councillor, Dr Chris Riley

Q1. Tell us about you, your family and where you live?

My Canadian wife Karen, and I have been married for 15 years and met in a farmers’ market in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Karen works in the ceramics industry. We have one teenage daughter, Madelyn, who plays canoe polo, is a surf lifesaving cadet and a St John’s ambulance Cadet.

Q2. What is your favourite food?

Fruit. All kinds of fruit but my favourites are mangoes, apricots and peaches. I also like the desert that has fruit in it. I’m a big fan of Korean and Sri Lanka cooking.

Q3. Do you have any favourite music?

My music tastes are somewhat eclectic, ranging from classical piano to Canadian East Coast music to classic Australian and New Zealand rock from the 70s and 80s. I enjoy hearing and learning about the local ethnic music of whatever regions I visit during my travels.

Q4. What is your favourite sport?

My favourite team sport is rugby, which is fortunate given the national obsession with the game in New Zealand. I’m also keen on volleyball.

Q5. Tell us in a paragraph what your current veterinary position is.

Complex and busy. I am Professor of Equine Clinical Studies at Massey University and spend about ¼ of my time working and teaching in our Veterinary Teaching Hospital in my specialty of equine and food animal surgery. I teach equine surgery and research skills in our didactic courses, as well as animal emergency rescue and disaster response. I the manager of Massey University’s Veterinary Emergency Response Team. In that capacity we have worked to assist the government in responding to disasters for the last 10 years. I also have a busy research programme in New Zealand and internationally, currently with six postgraduate students. The rest of my time is spent providing administrative support in the development of research capacity and commercialisation at my veterinary school, and international engagement.

Q6. What influenced you to become a veterinarian?

As a three-year-old I learned the consequences of harm to animals and promised my mother that I become a veterinarian to help them. After a brief military career, I left to pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian. The combination of intellectual and physical challenge has always appealed to me.

Q7. What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?

The privilege of being able to help and assist the welfare of both people and animals. Everything I do as a veterinarian is about assisting both. The opportunity to learn and improve every day is endless and welcome.

Q8. What are some of the main challenges for you and your national veterinary association?

One the main challenges has been improving the association’s responsiveness and communications with members, and we are currently actively engaging members in a process to address this. Mentorship of early career veterinarians remains a concern and ensuring their sustainability practice. Mental well-being is a concern for us as it is for many associations and we are working to support and assist veterinarians in this regard.

Q9. How do you communicate to your organisation about the CVA and its activities?

This is a new role for me, but I will be updating the NZVA on a regular basis following CVA meetings or consultations and contributing articles in our veterinary news magazine about the CVA, CVA programs, the Pan Commonwealth Congress and the CVA book scheme.

Q10. How do you think the CVA can assist you in your Councillor Role?

As I’m new to this role, the CVA can best assist me at this time with an appropriate induction to the organisation, and information on the yearly schedule of activities.