Celebrating Kāpiti women in science
This International Day of Women and Girls in Science we would like to take the opportunity to shine a light on some of our own awesome scientists.
We are fortunate in Kāpiti to be one of the few remaining councils with its own water testing laboratory, staffed by a team with over 100 years of science experience between them.
And yes, they are all women – Laboratory Manager Kim Mazur and Laboratory Technicians Anne Robertson, Anna Head and Laurel Sampson.
For Kim a career in science has provided variety, challenge, constant learning and the opportunity to make a difference to her community.
(Photo: Back row L–R Kim Mazur, Laurel Sampson, Anna Head; front row Anne Robertson)
It’s a pathway she highly recommends to anyone and says there are plenty of great opportunities for young women.
In her 30-year career she has held diverse positions including a Medical Laboratory Scientist, Research Associate technician and working in the veterinary sector. It’s the same for most of the team.
“It’s a great career to get into, there is plenty of scope to move around and lots of opportunity,” She says.
“It’s empowering because you can use your knowledge across a whole range of things, your brain is always active, and it’s not only good for yourself but for the community you live in.”
The lab team is responsible for testing of the council’s reticulated drinking water, compliance monitoring for Kāpiti’s wastewater treatments plants and testing of private drinking water supplies and wastewater plants. The Lab team also monitors the district’s beaches and rivers for quality on behalf of Greater Wellington.
Council’s laboratory operates seven days a week and receives over 500 samples and completes an average of 1800 tests per month.
“One of the benefits of retaining the lab is we have incredibly fast turnaround times so if we see a problem, we can act on it quickly. So, for example if the bacteria count is high at a swimming spot, we can let Greater Wellington know and they can adjust their “safe to swim” notification really quickly.”
Kim says the rewards of a science career are fantastic and she encourages young women to take the leap, especially if they like to question the status quo.
“You can never take it that this is how things are – Scientists are always trying to prove or disprove what’s happening.”