60 seconds with… Zara Bending


Associate Lecturer in Law, Zara Bending was recently announced as a semi-finalist in the 2018 NSW and ACT Young Achievers Awards in the category Women Creating Change. Zara is an alumna of Macquarie University (B Soc Sci, LLB Hons), and a current doctoral candidate examining the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn.

Work stuff

I’ve been at Macquarie for…
This year marks the start of my twelfth year at Macquarie University. I started with a B SocSci LLB (Hons), began teaching at the Macquarie Law School and what was then known as the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (now the Department of Security Studies and Criminology) and now I’m wrapping up my PhD by publication. It’s been a romp!

In a nutshell, my job is to…
Teach in LLB (Bachelor of Law) and Juris Doctor Law units while conducting my doctoral research into the illegal trade in wildlife, using rhinoceros horn as my case study. Outside Macquarie, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and a couple of committees.

The question I hear most often in my work is…
“Why does law have so much reading?” although a close second in 2017 was “what’s with the Oxford comma and why do you care so much?”

The top three things on my to-do list today are…
1) Continue writing a co-authored article on wildlife products as conflict resources in Africa
2) Cardio at the gym
3) Email my Honours students a ‘starter kit’

If I could do any other job at Macquarie (with instant qualifications/knowledge) it would be…
Professor in Law. I’m in it for the long haul.

I get my campus coffee fix from …
Piccolo Me. Prana Chai. If I’m feeling healthy, with a ‘Luigi’. If I’m feeling naughty, with fries.

Personal life

My ethnic heritage is…
My dad and brother were born in Tiverton, England, and mum is from the Philippines. They moved to Australia the year I was born. I grew up in Western Sydney which definitely broadened my cultural understanding and has made me a better teacher, researcher and lawyer.

My favourite subject at school was…
History, which is why I’m so proud that Macquarie is the home of Big History.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I learned to ‘pant-hoot’ from Dr Goodall, and I also make a killer sangria.

If I could have dinner with anyone (living or dead) it would be…
RuPaul. I am the biggest fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race because I find that behind all the camp, glamour and showmanship, there are meaningful stories about identity, gender, resilience, and acceptance. ‘No Tea, No Shade’ in my classroom!

In ten years from now, I hope to be…
A senior member offering mentorship to HDRs and ECRs through LAWMECR (Law and Women Macquarie Early Career Researchers), a support group that a few of us established in 2017.





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