Our Team

Our Team

We are a small dedicated team who relies heavily on our volunteers and supporters to help with our work in ending animal experimentation in NZ. 

You can contact the NZAVS Board here.

NZAVS is made up of the following people: 


Bette Overell (1924-2007)

Founder of NZAVS

Bette Overell, who founded NZAVS in 1978, was inspired by the works of Hans Ruesch, a famous Swiss medical historian whose book "Slaughter of the Innocent" and CIVIS publications brought to light the misleading, dangerous and fraudulent practice of animal experiments.

Read more about our Founder here.

Tara Jackson

NZAVS Executive Director

Tara Jackson (Kāti Māmoe) is the Executive Director for the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society. Tara has worked for NZAVS since 2015 and has extensive knowledge of the animal experimentation industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and has a strong passion for animal rights, human rights and environmental protection. The combination of her scientific background, empathy for animals and a strong dislike for injustice make her a driven and determined advocate for innovative, animal-free research, testing and teaching methods.

Tara is also the Founder of the popular online resource, A Guide to Vegan where she spends her spare time promoting vegan-friendly products, recipes and restaurants to make veganism easier for people living in Aotearoa.

She is also Founder of the animal rights group, the Animal Justice League NZ. This group works alongside the many other anti-rodeo groups in Aotearoa to help end the animal abuse involved in rodeos.

She has experience working with other NGOs, campaigning and fundraising. Tara has previously worked for and been involved with organisations such as Greenpeace, WSPA, the SPCA and SAFE. 

Contact Tara:

Email: tara@nzavs.org.nz

Phone: 0278161926

Annelies Basten

NZAVS Funding and Engagement Manager

Annelies has a Masters in Psychology and has been a vegan activist since 2010.  She joined team NZAVS to extend the cruelty-free paradigm to include animals in science.

Having a young daughter also makes her a strong believer we cannot normalise eliciting pain to other sentient beings by condoning dissection at schools, but instead, using ethical computer simulations or models.

She has worked in the not-for-profit sector as a fundraiser since 2010, including a few years for animal rights organisation SAFE.

Contact Annelies: 

Email: annelies@nzavs.org.nz  

Phone: 0272227836

Georgette Singer

NZAVS General Manager & Cruelty Free Magazine Editor

Georgette Singer (Ngāti Raukawa) is a passionate vegan, an animal rights and human rights advocate, living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).

Working for NZAVS as the General Manager and Cruelty Free NZ Magazine Editor is a dream come true, giving her the opportunity to work behind the scenes every day to help end cruel animal experiments in Aotearoa.

She was originally inspired by the Anti-Vivisection work on the NZAVS website back in 2015 and started to model her life around the values displayed and taught in their online resources. Starting small, she changed all her own personal cosmetics to brands that are cruelty-free, this led to bigger changes with food, fashion and other areas of her life.

She worked with SAFE as an ambassador in 2016, after she won the title of Miss New Zealand and made it her goal to show that true beauty did not require any nasty animal testing. Using her platform on The Good Morning Show, in Girlfriend and Women’s Day magazines, she used every opportunity to talk about how easy it was to live cruelty-free and without harming animals. Georgette has her own YouTube channel dedicated to finding the best vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands, food and fashion in Aotearoa with product reviews and in-depth tutorials.

As a previous pharmacy technician, she understands the misinformation relayed to the public about using animals for science and knows how important the mahi that NZAVS do, within Aotearoa to change this is.

When she’s not working for NZAVS, you’ll find her learning te reo Māori and Japanese. Georgette is also a dance teacher and keeps herself busy teaching ballet, jazz, and contemporary at the Wellington Dance and Performing Arts Academy.

Contact Georgette:

Email: georgette@nzavs.org.nz

Shanti Ahluwalia

NZAVS Campaign Manager

Shanti is a veteran campaigner, having spent his career developing the skills necessary to lead campaigns. He began in 2008 as a volunteer for SAFE. Since then, he has worked for multiple organisations and now works as a Campaign Manager for NZAVS.

His academic background is in economics and political sciences. He chose these subjects to strengthen his ability to leverage change.

In his spare time, he is a passionate bunny-carer. His bunnies, Merlin and Momo, are treasured members of the family.

Contact Shanti:

Email: shanti@nzavs.org.nz

Deidre Sims

Board Member - Chairperson

Deirdre is communications specialist with a degree in animal welfare science. She is currently involved with grassroots animal rights organisation Direct Animal Action as a voluntary activist and campaigner.

Deirdre has been involved in animal rights activism in Auckland for 15 years and during that time she's done everything from chaining herself to factory farms, to openly rescuing animals from factory farms to running successful protest pressure campaigns against animal abuse industries forcing them to change their ways.

People power, grassroots activism and direct action are some of Deirdre's biggest passions. She has worked for a number of different NGO's including SAFE, Auckland SPCA, Greenpeace and Amnesty International. She also worked at the Green Party of New Zealand Aotearoa for 5 years through 2 election cycles. Deirdre has two very loved furbabies called Poppy and Kowhai and she enjoys running and CrossFit in her time away from campaigning and activism. 

Cressida Wilson

Board Member - Treasurer

Cressida is a committed animal advocate. Cressida worked as the NZAVS Campaign Manager in 2017 and now is pursuing a PhD through the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies.

Cressida shares their house with her many companion animals, as well as rabbits they help rehome and foster dogs. Cressida is the Founder of Ōtautahi Rabbit Rehoming - Christchurch. Cressida's other passions include all forms of social justice and vegan food. 

Kim Taylor

Board Member - Secretary

Kim Taylor has been an animal and human rights activist for a decade. She's been part of numerous national (U.S.) and international campaigns specifically against the use of animals in research because it is a "hard sell" even within the animal rights community.

Holding a Ph.D. in English, she is an educator and author by trade, having written, edited, or published within eight books on animal liberation. She also teaches English on a volunteer basis to immigrants, refugees, and the imprisoned.

Avril McIntyre

Board Member

Avril has been an animal rights activist for almost 10 years. She first got involved volunteering for SAFE in high school. In her first year of university, she co-founded the Auckland University Animal Rights Group (AUARG) and was Co-President for five years. During that time, AUARG campaigned against the use of animals in research, testing and teaching at Auckland University.

Avril is passionate about justice for humans as well as non-humans. Avril is a criminal defence lawyer by occupation. She has also been involved with projects in animal law, including drafting submissions on proposed legislation. She fosters cats and kittens in her spare time.

Our Volunteer Coordinators

NZAVS has Volunteer Coordinators in Auckland and Christchurch:


Sylvia Matthews


Auckland FB


Brooke Mooney


Christchurch FB