Rebecca Weight - Small Animal Vet: Clinical Director

The Directors and team at RVC congratulate our vet and surgeon, Rebecca Weight, on gaining the status of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery!

Rebecca is accredited at postgraduate masters certificate level, and has not only demonstrated knowledge and experience in this particular area of veterinary practice beyond her initial primary veterinary degree, but has also confirmed she continues to be up to date in her field over and above the minimum requirements for continuing professional development.

Rebecca began postgraduate training and study in surgery in the UK in 2002. Gaining further qualifications in the field she loves working in, and continuing to always strive to stay up to date and do better gives her the great satisfaction of knowing she is doing the very best she can for her patients and their owners.

Rebecca has been with the RVC team since 2006 and now spends the majority of her time in the operating theatre, as well as overseeing the clinical work and high standards of the dedicated Companion Animal Team.

“It feels fantastic that the RCVS has recognised the extra work and commitment required of a veterinarian in sitting postgraduate examinations and maintaining an up to date knowledge in their field,” says Rebecca.

Congratulations Rebecca on gaining the status of RCVS Advanced Practitioner!

Penny Mehrtens - Small Animal Vet: Team Leader

Penny originates from the metropolis of Rangiora, and after graduating from Massey in 2002, she started off in mixed practice in rural Canterbury. After a couple of working holidays in the UK, and 3 years working in Far North Queensland, she has returned to her roots. Penny enjoys most aspects of veterinary medicine, with a strong interest in working dog health as well as companion animal ophthalmology, which she has completed a Masters paper in. She lives on a small farm in Cust with her 3 busy children, 2 dogs, 1 cat, horses, cattle, sheep and a few chooks. Outside of work she enjoys riding, running, her garden and spending lots of time with her friends.

Lee Williams - Small Animal Vet


Lee is an experienced small animal clinician that has been with the RVC team for 6 years. She loves consulting with clients new and old and has a special interest in Dermatology. A (crazy) cat-lover Lee dotes on Jazzybell,Crooky and Mittens but is also the owner of a scruffy black rock-loving/ball-chasing Terrier-X called Penny. Being Mum to 3 children, wife to an artist and also the owner of a huge home library and a bach at Punakaiki fills the time that is not spent at RVC.

Sophie Neilson - Small Animal Vet

Sophie was born in the UK and first came to the Rangiora Vet Centre in 2002 as a vet student. She graduated in 2004 from the Royal Veterinary College, London and has been living in New Zealand ever since. Her special veterinary interests lie in diagnostic imaging, specifically in radiology (x-rays) and she is studying towards her Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice with a designation in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, UK. She lives in Loburn on a lifestyle block with her partner Matt, her beloved cat “Smooch”, two dogs, four horses, nine cattle and Maggie the goat! Outside the clinic she is a keen horse rider enjoying eventing, polo and dressage and also loves gardening, music and mountain biking. She loves working with the vibrant and dedicated team here at the RVC.

Marcella Cassiani - Small Animal Vet


Marcella originally hails from a little town outside of Boston, Massachusetts USA but moved to the bright lights of Palmerston North in 2004 to study at Massey University. She gained her veterinary qualifications in 2010 and has been working predominantly in companion animal clinics ever since. While she enjoys most aspects of veterinary medicine and surgery, she has a keen interest in companion animal dentistry and oral surgery with a goal to gain specialist status in the future (“when she grows up” as she puts it). Outside of work she enjoys family time with her Kiwi hubby and “Amerikiwi” daughter as well as cycling, running and horsebackriding.

Charlie Crummett - Veterinarian


New to the RVC team in 2016, Charlie has a world of experience. Originally born in the UK, followed by years of travelling the world with family and living in a number of countries, she ended up working for a couple of years in a small animal practice in Auckland. After Auckland, Charlie studied for a diploma in small animal surgery and gained Australian membership qualifications, this was followed by 9 years in the UK before returning home to New Zealand and a lifestyle block at Ashley, where she and the family live with 5 cats, a flock of Dorper pet sheep – all named -  plus chickens, quail, ducks and 2 special needs pigeons. Along with loving ALL things feline, her interests are varied, ranging from motorbikes, gardening and fitness to holding a private pilots licence.

Kasia Chapman-Labecka - Critical Care and Emergency Small Animal Veterinarian

Kasia, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine joined the Rangiora team in November 2016. Her work related special interests are FEI 4 Star Endurance Treatment and Official Veterinarian, and FEI Testing Veterinarian, she loves these jobs as they take her to many spectacular and remote parts of NZ and overseas.

Kasia is the founder and President of Camelid Branch of NZVA 2010-11, and over the last few years has developed a special interest in small animals emergency and critical care.

In her spare time, she likes to keep young and fit by dancing-Latin and Ballroom, performing on the stage of Amateur Dramatics, digging her large veggie garden, keeping bees, skiing and tramping.

Kasia grew up as a single child behind the "iron curtain" in Poland. Against all odds she travelled extensively to Mongolia, Cuba, USA, and East Block countries.  After graduating from Warsaw Vet School, she spent a stint at Gent University, studying Equine lameness, later moving to the UK and working as a vet nurse. In the same year she passed her Royal College of Veterinary Science exams she also married her husband Clive. 24 years later they are now enjoying their Mid Canterbury Lifestyle block and bringing up three lively boys.

The menagerie of animals on the lifestyle block includes the laziest ever, adopted cat "Puss-puss”, a flock of sheep, the occasional pig and a continuously growing Apiary.

Jonathon Cochrane - Veterinarian

Jonathon (John), new to the RVC Small Animal Vet team in November 2017, has a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (1st Class Hons), and is a member of the Australian and NZ College of Veterinary Scientists in both Emergency Medicine and Small Animal Surgery.

Along with being especially interested in small animal emergency medicine, critical care and surgery he is also interested in first aid of working dogs.

When not at the clinic he will be found spending quality time with his young family, mountain biking or enhancing his photography skills.

The son of a farmer, born and raised in Toowoomba, SE Queensland, the decision for John and the family to move to NZ was an easy one as it means they are closer to family as his wife is originally from Christchurch.

The menagerie of animals which also relocated from Australia, includes the world's most spoilt and very very lucky horse, Marcus, 2 dogs, Mac, a Jack Russel Terrier X, Gus, the Papillon and 3 cats.

Lynne Wilkins – Small Animal Vet

BSc (Hons) PGDip. BVM+S

Originally from Yorkshire in the UK, Lynne joined the RVC Vet team, in April 2016, she shares her time with both the Rangiora and Kaiapoi clinics. Her special interests are the Vet aspects of Customer Service and Surgery related cases. Outside the clinic things are pretty full on fitting in multisport activities such as adventure racing around family time with Phil and the two children. Also part of the family is a completely mad Mini Springer Spaniel called Agnes, and the two Tonkinese cats, Albie and Penny who are completely laid back and easy as!

Phillipa Suckland – Veterinarian


Born and bred in Christchurch, Phillipa first practiced as a vet in NZ, then moved to Australia to practice, after a few years home was calling and she returned in 2015 joining the RVC Vet team the following year.

Especially interested in exotics, small mammals, reptiles, wildlife as well as Avian medicine & surgery she is also passionate about emergency and critical care cases, from companion animals to exotics and avian patients. Her interest in all things avian also extends to bird photography, she also likes to draw and spend time walking and hiking, observing as much bird and wildlife as possible. Scuba diving is also a much enjoyed activity, however not frequently enough. When Emma returned from Australia she brought Dexter with her, a very friendly and cheeky young rabbit, her sweet, timid 8 year old cat called Billy is living with her parents for now. 

Naoya Koga - Veterinarian


Naoya was welcomed to the RVC team mid 2016, working closely with the team during the day to acclimatise himself with the clinic before adjusting his time-clock and working with the after hours team. A Japanese national, he left Japan at the age of 18 to train and work as a vet in the US, he then relocated to New Zealand and worked at a busy Auckland vet clinic for 3.5 years, before joining the RVC after hours team. 

His special interest is internal medicine, plus he has a passion for emergency medicine and is very excited to be involved in the launch of the new after hours service at RVC

Naoya likes to keeps in reqular contact with his brothers, sister nephews and nieces back home in Japan. He loves to travel, visiting as many world heritage sites as he can along the way. Volleyball, table tennis, badminton and swimming are sports he likes to participate in when he is not vetting.

Sylvia McLean - Veterinarian


Originally training in Munich Germany, Sylvia gained her BVAg in 1979, this was followed by BVSc in 1983 when she moved to New Zealand and started working in Christchurch. She joined RVC in mid 2014 and locums at all three clinics, she is interested in a variety of areas of small animal medicine, as well as skin disease, allergies, wellness and laser therapy.

Sylvia’s keen interest in wellness for animals is also replicated in the human world, where she teaches yoga and is interested in meditation, nutrition and wellbeing. She also loves travelling, cooking and wine. Sylvia and her family live on a lifestyle bock in Loburn with a very loveable Golden Retriever called Hudson and a group of Gotland sheep.

Katie Duncan - Vet Nurse: Team Leader

Katie is our Head Veterinary Nurse, and has been part of the RVC team since 2004 when she joined the practice as a recent certificate graduate. She completed her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing in 2011 and has a particular passion and talent for anaesthesia... she is currently working towards the Veterinary Technician Specialist qualification in this area.

Katie leads our team of dedicated, passionate nurses and oversees the quality of nursing care for all the pets we see at RVC, as well as making sure the vets keep in line, and still finding time for plenty of TLC with her patients.

On their lifestyle block in Loburn Katie and her partner are owned by their very special dog “Jeb” as well as 3 horses, chickens and sheep.

Kim Anderson - Vet Nurse

Hi my name is Kim Anderson, I am one of the newest nurses to join the RVC team. I have been Qualified since 2008 and have a very strong interest in Weight loss for pets,Grooming and consulting.

I live locally on a lifestyle block with my Husband and Two Teenage childen, we have a couple of horses, sheep, cattle, 2 fantastic Border Collies and 6 (yes 6) super cool Cats, never a dull moment at our house.

My primary role is based in the Consult/Treatment areas,where I get to meet and greet patients prior to surgery and consults, as well as over see the running of the Lab.I look forward to seeing you soon.

Lauren Keenan - Vet Nurse

With more than 10 years experience in a specialist surgical practice and a Certificate in Vet Nursing, Lauren has developed a keen interest in surgery. She has an appreciation for all aspects of surgery from complex fracture repair and emergency care, right through to the finesse and delicate nature of soft tissue surgery. As well as surgery itself, she is also interested in pain management and post-op rehabilitation.

Outside the vet clinic Lauren loves horses (and spending money on them), along with her partner they have a number of 4 legged friends including a very special rescue dog which sports a prosthetic leg.

Jocelyn (Jos) Nesbit - Senior Vet Nurse

Jos has been working on and off at RVC since 2007, mainly in the small animal side of the clinic, but has been called upon to assist with large animal technician duties from time to time. Referred to amongst the team of nurses as the “mother hen” she is the go to person for difficult cases, this is when her nurturing nature shines.

Originally from Whangarei, Jos loves spending time outdoors and is keen on any activity that involves getting fresh air and being active, especially with her husband and 2 young children, Oliver and Charlotte. Rounding out the family portrait is Oscar, the most well behaved black lab you could ever find, he is so well behaved he will even happily wait to be fed, and Jack an elderly cat whom the family lovingly took into their home when no other was available.

Debra Gyde - Vet Nurse

Debra joined the Rangiora team in September 2015 after working as a Vet Nurse for more than 20 years prior. She enjoys looking after hospitalised patients and has a special interest in surgery. Although Debra grew up in Lower Hutt and has lived in both the North and South Islands, she calls the Waimakariri District home and is enjoying the opportunity of working close to home. 
Her beloved family of animals includes 2 rescue dogs, Ice, a german shephard which was rescued after contracting parvo as a puppy, and Finn, a flat coated retriever who she rescued from a pound in Dunedin. Luka the cat, was also rescued as a kitten when found in a box under a bridge. 
Living on a lifestyle block allows her to spend time enjoying her many hobbies, such as gardening, and riding. She has 5 horses which allow her to participate in dressage and also ride for pleasure. Rounding out the “lifestyle family” are some cattle, a flock of sheep and 2 x goats named Gandolf and Teka.

Janine Toomey - Vet Nurse

With a Certificate in Vet Nursing, Janine's special interests include canines, puppy training, and fostering kittens. Originally from Lower Hutt she relocated with her family to North Canterbury in 2007. She loves socialising and spending quality time with friends, family and especially the loves of her life, her poodles, Beau and Bella. Janine is also happy amongst her cats, many of  which she has "lovingly inherited" from friends and family.

Kayla Wills - Vet Nurse

Qualified in Veterinary Nursing and Animal Care, Kayla has a special interest in surgery, especially anaesthesia.

Having always lived in the Waimakariri district, she started working at the Rangiora Clinic in October 2015 which has allowed her to stay close to the town she grew up in, Woodend. Keen on travelling and exploring new places,

Kayla also loves spending time with friends and family and fostering rescues!! Her animal family includes 3 dogs, staffordshire terriers and a greyhound, she also has a moggy and a birman cat.

Andrew Dunn - Animal Care Assistant

Andrew originally comes from Dunedin but moved to Rangiora in March of 2014 to join the clinic in his first position in the Animal industry. He has always had an interest in working with animals and completed his Certificate in Veterinary Nursing at the Otago Polytechnic in 2012. As the Animal Care Assistant his roles include making sure that pateints are kept comfortable in the hospital, given clean bedding, maintain hospital cleanliness and that the dogs that come in are walked in the mornings and afternoons. Outside of work he enjoys science fiction, listening to music and playing video games.

Emma Forrester - Vet Nurse

Cert 4 in Vet Nursing.

Emma is passionate about client experience and strengthening the interaction between vets, nurses and customer services, with lends well to her involvement in the weight loss clinic and Puppy Classes. 
Prior to joining the RVC team Emma worked at the Community Clinic for the Animal Welfare League on the Gold Coast.  This was a fast paced, intense and varied role, which has gained her a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Most recently she has been helping out on the family sheep and beef farm in Harwarden, where she can be found in her red bands any time she is not at RVC! When she returned from Aussie, there was a little extra luggage in the form of a cat and a dog. Chad, a tabby cat from a shelter, and Kahli, and Australian Bulldog.

Kim Armstrong - Vet Nurse

Kim was born in the South West of Scotland, she grew up on a beef and sheep farm and after training as a vet nurse found her way to RVC and joined the after hours team in September 2016. As a vet Nurse she is especially interested in radiology, surgery and anaesthetics.

Outside the work environment Kim loves to keep active, running, horse riding, climbing, boating, swimming, going to the beach, mountain biking and socializing, the list is extensive. Sadly she left at home in Scotland her two older brothers, a sister, her mum and Bob her horse, and Eric the Border Terrier, she misses them all but has fitted into the RVC team well and is excited about the new adventures ahead.

Kirsty Jones - Vet Nurse

Kirsty started working with the RVC team in September 2016 and has a Certificate of Veterinary Nursing and is currently studying towards NZ Diploma of Veterinary Nursing. She has a particular interest in after hours emergency nursing and critical care.

When not taking care of the animals at RVC she loves to volunteer for the SPCA, travelling, walking & exploring NZ.

Kirsty was born in England, but grew up in North Africa, returning to England to live in Whitby, the home of Captain Cook, before emigrating to NZ in 2004 with her husband & daughter, since emigrating a son has joined the family too.

Currently living in Oxford with 2 cats - one age 17 called Tigger who says moo instead of meow, and a giant furry cat called Furby. Also keen to explore NZ with the family is Trinity the staffy/boxer cross who was adopted from the SPCA. The family is kept entertained by their kunekune pig called Constance who loves belly rubs and gives sloppy kisses in return & a pet sheep called Honey Baa who thinks it's a pig.

Katey Donaldson - Vet Nurse

With a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, Lvl 6, Katey strives to be an all rounder, and is trying to become skilled in every area. She loves the fact that on a daily basis she is making animals feel better, whether it be finally getting a sick cat to eat, or recognizing and solving chronic pain, she says it is the most satisfying feeling achieving great results for the patients, plus developing a bond with all her patients is an extra bonus!

Katey enjoys geocaching (high tech treasure hunting) and taking her dogs out hiking when she has spare time. Originally from Feilding, her and her partner, plus the 2 dogs and the cat have recently relocated to Kaiapoi. A favourite pastime is hanging out with friends and fish keeping. One day she would like to breed fish on a large scale, she currently has four discus fish and lots of others.

Yang Lan - Vet Nurse

With a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing and a special interest in medical and surgical nursing Yang was welcomed to the RVC Veterinary Nursing team in March 2017.

Because of the “one child” policy where he grew up in Chengdu, China he is an only child, however he happily boasts he does have a big family with lots of cousins.

Yang loves New Zealand and sees it as an outdoor activities paradise, he enjoys keeping fit by hiking, skiing, swimming, or jogging.