Rachel is a Forensic Anthropologist and Archaeologist with more than 15 years experience in the excavation and analysis of human remains. As 2IC of the New Zealand Forensic Anthropology team she worked closely with the New Zealand Defense Force using Disaster Victim Identification protocols in the recovery, identification, and repatriation of 34 servicemen from six countries, including a large scale joint operation with the Malaysian Armed Forces and international forensic specialists. Rachel has authored a number of journal articles and book chapters in the field of biological anthropology specializing in skeletal trauma, burned bone, diet, and health. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Archaeology, an MSc in Anatomy and Structural Biology from the University of Otago, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Auckland. She has worked for the University of Otago and conducted research in multiple countries including the USA, Egypt, UK, Vanuatu, and Chile. She has collaborated as lead osteologist with indigenous communities in New Zealand, while providing expertise to local authorities and the New Zealand Police Force.
Rachel worked with History Flight in 2013 and 2014 on Tarawa in the search for the New Zealand Coast Watchers, and has been employed as a member of the History Flight team since June 2019.