Yes. As a new charity with no government funding, we rely on a course fee from our foundation course to ensure we are sustainable. This is similar to other animal related groups such as Project Jonah. We are currently lobbying government to have the zero fee training scheme for civil defence volunteers extended to cover animal disaster responders. This was raised over three years ago and we along with others, continue to advocate for training funding parity. We are hopeful that this will be resolved allowing the foundation and other courses we provide to be free.

Within the foundation course fee is an annual supporters fee, which like other overseas animal disaster charities (i.e. Code 3 Associates in the USA), provides forecastable revenue to ensure we can cover the overheads of operating a charity such as insurance, database subscriptions, accounting and the like. One day, we hope that our volunteers need only give their time; however in the meantime we want to ensure we can operate in a fiscally responsible manner.

We suggest those who have limited financial means to look at some of the free online courses that will help their learning more about animal disaster management while we work on this funding issue.


It is easy! You can simply go to our Give-a-Little page and donate online

Alternatively, you can also make a donation directly by going into any BNZ bank and asking for your donation to be deposited into our account. If you want a receipt, please ensure your name and phone number are added to the transaction reference.

You can also send us a cheque made out to “Animal Evac New Zealand Trust”, and post to PO Box 216, Wellington 6011. Please include your return address or email so we can send you a receipt.


If you are interested about sponsorship visit our sponsorship page.

We also have a Wish List that you may want to help us with.

You can also contact us for further information.


Yes, we are a registered charity. Our registration number is CC55754.

We are also charitable trust pursuant to the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.

Check out our Join page for more details.

We are particularly interested in hearing from volunteers with the following skills or qualifications:

  • USAR Responders/Technicians
  • Veterinary Assistants, Nurses and Technicians
  • Rural/Livestock Technicians
  • Experienced equestrians/trainers
  • Registered Veterinarians
  • Animal Control Officers
  • Animal Welfare Inspectors
  • Swiftwater Rescue Responders/Technicians
  • GIS specialists/analysts
  • Photographers/video editors
  • Accountants
  • Heavy trade drivers
  • Trades persons (builders, electricians, plumbers)
  • Lawyers (public, administrative, criminal law)
  • Nurses/Paramedics/EMTs
  • Firefighters
  • Military
  • Public relations and marketing
  • Incident command/CIMS
  • Fundraising and grant writing
  • Graphic designers/illustrators
  • Counsellors/psychologists (esp. interested in pet loss)
  • Administrators
  • Yes, we still want an astronaut… only because it is one of the few skill sets that we don’t have.

Animal Evac NZ was co-founded by former Wellington SPCA CEO Steve Glassey, who also founded the SPCA’s National Rescue Unit (formerly Animal Rescue Unit) in 1995; and also went on to train the inaugural Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team. Animal Evac NZ is not intended to be a technical animal rescue team, leaving such high risk operations to these teams and organisations like Fire & Emergency New Zealand.

Animal Evac New Zealand is needed to help out with large scale evacuations and associated emergency sheltering of animals as there is little to no capacity in New Zealand. Though the Ministry for Primary Industries is mandated to coordinate animal emergency welfare and rescue, no agency is mandated actually to carry out the rescues. The responsibility for animal emergency accommodation rests with the local authority, but in most cases this is under-resourced, so Animal Evac NZ can support authorities meet their obligations.

As we are not an animal law enforcement or animal rights organisation, we are a neutral charity that does not have any conflict working with farmers, laboratories, and animal owners to do the right thing on the day to help, without judgement. We are the “Red Cross” for animals affected by disaster. As we dont operate any day to day commercial activities such as veterinary clinics, doggy day care, animal boarding or grooming, we provide a space for all animal welfarists to participate, without the conflict of working with a commercial competitor.

Animal emergency management is not a competition and is not the monopoly of any one organisation, it is a community wide responsibility.

Even major animal welfare charities put frequent and repeated claims that “they are full and cannot accept any more animals”. Animal Evac NZ is always empty, ready to respond in an emergency. The reality is that local animal shelters are likely to be impacted and under further burden, so it is the interests of animal welfare to create more community based capacity to respond.

Finally, research has shown time and time again that even in resource rich states such as Texas, who had access to multiple humane societies and major military resources such as the national guard during events such as Hurricane Katrina and Harvey, there were still not enough people to help with such disasters. We need more people stepping up and being trained, not less.

We are active in working collaboratively with leading no kill animal shelters such as HUHA and others; we see ourselves as the bridging the gap between evacuation and traditional animal sheltering capacities.

Yes! As long as you are over 16 years of age (or between 14 and 16 years with a parent or guardian also volunteering), there is a role for you to help us.

We had one lady comment saying she wanted to help, but felt she could be too old to lift animals. We said, we have lots of roles so that people with a diversity of skills, experiences and abilities can help. Even if its just helping direct pet owners where to go at evacuation centres or giving advice, we are sure we can find a role for anyone who wants to help.

Naturally, there will be roles that have higher risks associated with them such as handling unfamiliar and scared animals, to working in disaster damaged areas. These roles do require certain skills and abilities to ensure the safety of volunteers.

We also need people to help us outside of emergency events, with administration from fundraising to public education initiatives. So once you have done the foundation course, tell us what skills you have and where you think you can help.

Animal Evac New Zealand Trust is governed and operated by a Trust Board, compromised of two co-founding Trustees, namely: Steve Glassey and Theresa Parkin, both based in the Wellington region. They are supported by a team of volunteers (in fact everyone at Animal Evac NZ are volunteers) throughout the country who virtually contribute to the success of this new charity. The current and full list of board members can be found here.

Steve Glassey, is the former CEO of Wellington SPCA, founder of the SPCA’s National Rescue Unit (formerly Animal Rescue Unit) who is currently a doctoral candidate researching animal disaster management at Otago University and part-time public safety consultant. Steve is a former United Nations disaster management officer and has held senior emergency management related positions in government. He has a Masters in Emergency Management (Charles Sturt University) and Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations amongst other credentials including being one of only a few IAEM Certified Emergency Managers (CEM®) in New Zealand. More info.

Theresa Parkin, is the former Emergency Management National Advisor for Massey University and also worked for Spark (Telecommunications) in a senior emergency management role. She holds a Masters in Emergency Management (Massey University) as well as a range of other tertiary qualifications in business, health and safety & psychology. She has always had a passion for helping animals, and earlier in her career studied veterinary nursing. More info.

With Steve and Theresa both holding a Masters In Emergency Management, we bring a level of credibility to the emergency management of disaster affected animals. We would be one of the few organisations in New Zealand that has all their senior management with such credentials.

Though there are differing dialects within te reo, kararehe whakawatea means the emergency evacuation of animals. Whakawatea means getting out when everything is in a panic. As part of being a signatory to the Code of Conduct for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs for disaster relief, we value and respect the customs of those we provide aid to. In a practical sense, this means we value the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the sacred value animals have within Maoridom.


We now have a great Emergency preparedness guide for pet owners available from ouremergency preparedness resource page.

Make sure you: 

  • Have a family emergency plan that includes your animals
  • Ensure all animals are microchipped and make sure you keep your details up to date on the NZ Companion Animal Register (NZCAR)
  • Check that your animal’s microchip works every time you visit the vet
  • Consider adding facial recognition to your animal’s NZCAR profile
  • Have an alternative contact out of the region for your animal’s NZCAR profile
  • Have a pet carrier for each small animal, and a crate and muzzle for each dog
  • Never leave your pets behind when evacuating
  • Ensure your dog is wearing its registration tag
  • Keep photos’s of your pets easily accessible (cloud or facebook etc)
  • Have a get-away kit for your pets too
  • Bring your pets inside during storms and floods



New Zealand veterinary qualifications at this stage have no compulsory courses on animal disaster management and the foundation course is also our induction course covering our health/safety systems, code of conduct, vision/strategy, online databases that are specific to Animal Evac New Zealand.

That said, veterinary professionals will play a crucial role in our activities, from supervising pet friend shelters (i.e. shelter medicine in a disaster context), microchip implanting, triage/assessment, decontamination, being part of the field response carrying out rescues as well has helping with community projects as their time allows (as with all our volunteers).

Those with existing veterinary qualifications, naturally will not be required to undertake animal first aid courses, just as field responders who hold swiftwater qualifications, will not be required to redo flood safety training (if current also).

Veterinary and other animal professionals, are naturally our choice to be asked to pick up supervisory and specialist functions especially in the shelter response group. So, we look forward having as many veterinary professionals be part of Animal Evac New Zealand.

From 23 August 2018, our Foundation Course was also accredited for CPD by the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association (5.5 points). 

We were not planning to be operational to until later in 2019, however we were asked by MPI to respond to the Nelson Fires (February 2019) and we quickly had trained responders on the ground, and carried out rescues from within the cordon and helped prepare residents evacuate with their animals.

We continue to develop our capability and are in discussions with the Ministry for Primary Industries who are the lead agency for animal welfare emergency management.

We have more information if you are an emergency manager here.

If you are unable to make the course closest to you, you may want to consider travelling to attend another course.

If that is not an option for you, please make sure you follow/like our facebook page for future course updates.

Alternatively, you can contact us and ask to be put on a wait list for future courses.

If you have been evacuated and your animal is held at one of our temporary facilities, we have some terms and conditions that you should have been made aware of upon registration of your animal. Though we provide space and limited resources, owners remain responsible for their full care of their animals and maintaining the hygiene of the space provided for their animal. We understand that you may also be dealing with many other challenges, so if you are having difficulty meeting these responsibilities please see the team leader at the facility for advice.