James – a high achiever in all facets of school life and post school in his career. His F7 year had some exceptional academics -Craig Parker (Dux) and Glenn McCabe (Proxime Accessit) with James right up there. He completed his Form 7 year winning the Hugh Bibby Cup for first in biology and excellence in both chemistry and English. He was a member of the 1st XI hockey team, took part in the debating team and the future problem solving team.
On leaving school he attended Victoria University (Wellington) where he graduated BSc (Hons) and then completed his PhD. Upon graduating James was employed in the science field, before taking a post at the Zoological Society of London (London Zoo) in 2005-2006 where he was a Research Fellow. In 2006 James attended University of Manitoba for three years as a Postdoctoral Fellow. 2009-2011 James has been a Research Fellow of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Currently he is working at the University of Manitoba, Canada where he is part of a Research Program looking at naturally occurring resistance to the HIV infection. The group study women in Nairobi, Kenya who are resistant to HIV infection. There hope is that if they can understand what protects these women, that they can induce it in other high risk populations to prevent further HIV transmission. James says this is a very large project of which he is a very small part.
He has worked with Aids victims in India and Kenya. (While in Kenya he was joined by his sister Becky and brother Thomas and the three of them climbed Mt Kenya). On another adventure to the Arctic Circle he swam in the frozen sea – the only person the tour operator had seen do this!
Where James works in Manitoba is one of two places in the world where anthrax is stored. Whenever he flies anywhere he is always pulled aside to another room and strip searched. He thinks this is the result of a combination of being a geneticist and/or a New Zealanders (the geographical knowledge of the customs people is rather lacking and not having heard of New Zealand they suspect it must be in the Middle East). He has learned not to protest else he will miss his flight and have to pay for another ticket!
James is one of many who when asked about their standout memories of Matamata College says the front lawn palm trees remain big in his memory bank!! Also a very dynamic Mrs Parish left her mark on James!