Selwyn-Rakaia Vet Services Ltd 03 325 4444 After-hours/Emergency Phone: 03 325 4444

Meet Our Team

Donald Arthur  BVSc, Dip ACVP
Practice Owner

Originally from Taranaki, Donald was exposed to dairy farming from a young age. He did his vet degree at Massey and postgraduate training at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  As the team leader/practice manager at SRVS he still loves to get out on farms but the amount of time spent on management tasks means he now spends a lot of time in the office.

He and Jose have three young adult daughters, all of which have left home for now anyway.

Thoroughbred and Greyhound racing/breeding are Donald’s out of work interests.  With the greyhounds are doing much better than the thoroughbreds. The clinic has one of Donald’s greyhounds called Fabulass which we all hope will do great things.


Jose Arthur  Dip HSc Dietitian
Practice Owner

Married to Donald, together we have 3 daughters who sadly have now all left home.  I love living on our small lifestyle block just out of Lincoln were we have a bit of everything cat,dog,chickens, sheep, cattle & horses. (Why not when you are married to a vet).  I grew up on a dairy & deer farm in Whakatane, went to Otago Uni then became a Dietitian.  We lived & worked overseas & in Palmerston North for a while before moving to Canterbury over 20 years ago.  I help out at the vet practise when needed .  My hobbies include gardening and family holidays.

Bernice Mangnall  BAgrSc (Hons), BVSc (Distinction)

Bernice graduated from Lincoln with a BAgrSc (Hons) in 1991, worked for a couple of years and then returned to university and graduated with a BVSc (Distinction) from Massey in 1997.

Bernice has worked for Selwyn Rakaia Veterinary Services since 1997 as a dairy vet (now part-time) and combines this with an intensive 800 hectare farm business (cropping, beef and lamb finishing, and dairy support), 2 children, school board of trustees, school PTA, NZ Dairy Cattle Vet executive .... and a tendency to travel and enjoy life as much as possible.  Bernice’s interpretation of enjoying life includes travelling, skiing, scuba diving, hockey, good food and wine.

Karley DeFrees  DVM

Karley is a native from the great state of Michigan in the USA where she grew up on a small farm raising cattle and sheep. She completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (Honors) at Michigan State University.  After the undergraduate degree, she moved out to New York to study Production Animal Medicine at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. During her time in vet school, Karley had the opportunity to see production systems throughout the USA, Canada, China, Peru, and now NZ. She completed the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell providing advanced training in Dairy Production Medicine for veterinarians.  

Karley started working at Selwyn Rakaia Vet Services in 2012. Karley is a trained InCalf advisor and enjoys working with farms on herd level reproductive issues. Other professional areas of interest include infectious diseases (Johnes , BVD), young stock, and milk quality. Karley is also the practice’s Alpaca veterinarian.  When not working, she enjoys working in her garden, making cheese, reading, and tramping with her partner Caleb.

Chris Norton  BVSc

Chris has been chasing dairy cows for the last twenty odd years. He trained at Massey University and then spent ten years working in the Taranaki. During this time he toured the UK four times working as a dairy vet (and playing!).Jobs in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland meant the “grand slam” was completed with heavy exposure to varying feeding (and drinking!) systems. During the UK foot and mouth outbreak he spent a year and a half fighting FMD in Northern England earning the undisputed title as NZ’s longest serving FMD vet!  Battle won, Chris returned to NZ with English prize in tow. Buying a small farm he settled in Canterbury. Twelve years later, with two high BW crossbred bull calves added to the family, he is enjoying working with Canterbury dairy farmers and their cows.

Paul Daly  B.Sc Ph.D BVMS

Paul is our ‘Irish vet’ and has spent many years working in the UK and Ireland. He comes from a dairy, beef, sheep and arable farm in Galway, Ireland. He was awarded his veterinary degree from Glasgow University and worked in a large farm animal practice in the UK dealing mainly with dairy

Holstein and beef farms. Prior to this he took an unusual academic route obtaining an honours degree in Biology and Chemistry and Ph.D in Cancer research. Paul has also spent a number of years working in veterinary research and running clinical trials. But most of all Paul likes getting out on farms and getting back to his roots. He currently holds the Bayer National Calving cup for the highest number of calvings in the practice. Paul enjoys travelling around New Zealand or tramping as the kiwi's call it. In his spare time he likes to restore cars and is currently working on a 1961 VW Kombi. It is a rust bucket at the moment but he tells us that someday, in the not so distant future, it will be seen on the roads around Canterbury.




Rachel Lieuwes  BVSc

Rachel grew up in the Hororata area on an extensive sheep and beef farm and has loved animals right from the beginning.  She graduated from Massey in 2008 as a veterinarian and has since worked several years in the north of Ireland and the Netherlands as a mixed practitioner.  She returned to NZ and has worked part time for Selwyn Rakaia Vets since July 2013 fitting in work on a small dairy farm conversion at other times.  She is married to Ruurd who is from the Netherlands, since arriving back their animal family has extended into a herd of cows and calves as well as sheep, dogs, horses and a cat.  They are expecting their first baby in October and expect life to get busier.  The new farm is her all consuming other job at the moment where she hones her skills as fencer, engineer, builder, stockwoman, accountant and tractor driver to name a few in the cause of building a dream.

Lewis Sparrow  BVSc

Born and raised in Ashburton, studied at Massey University for 5 years before moving to South Otago and working in Balclutha and Milton for 2 years.

My previous role was as a mixed animal practitioner, working with both small and large animals, although primarily dairy cow focused. My favourite part of the job is getting to perform surgery, whether it is on large or small animals.


I have a dog named Chester and a cat named Winston.

I am currently living in Templeton with my partner Ellie, who is an intern clinical psychologist, and two flatmates.

In my spare time I try to get out hunting as often as I can and will be keen for some advice on where to go in Canterbury I have done a little bit of tramping, most recently in Milford, and also dabble in a bit of amateur carpentry.

Emma Cairney  MRCVS, BVM&S, BSc (Hons)

Growing up on the outskirts of the City of Stirling in Scotland, Emma developed her passion for working on farms when she went to university to study veterinary medicine.  Six years of studying and two degrees later she graduated from vet school with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery and an honors degree in physiology.  Upon graduating, she wasted no time leaving to come to New Zealand to work.  When she first arrived, Emma spent 4 months working on a Dairy farm in Hororata over the calving season to learn how us Kiwi’s farm before coming to work with us at Selwyn Rakaia Veterinary Services.


In her spare time she enjoys everything rugby.  As well as playing, she is a big Hurricanes fan and enjoys going into town to watch the Mitre 10 cup.  Slowly but surely she is making her way round New Zealand seeing all there is to see, making the most of this fantastic country!

Rajiv Balbharan  BVSc
Rajiv joined the team at Selwyn Rakaia in January 2017. He was born in South Africa and moved over to New Zealand in 1997. 
After graduating from Massey University in Palmerston North, Rajiv moved down to Ashburton where he worked as a mixed animal Vet for over two years. In 2016, Rajiv traveled over to the UK where he worked as a dairy/sheep/beef Vet in West Sussex. 
In his spare time some of the things Rajiv enjoys are; travelling, spending time with family and friends, golf, mixed martial arts and tramping. 
Rajiv is excited about the new role at Selwyn Rakaia and looks forward to working with the team at the clinic and clients in the area.
Alex Pidgeon  BVSc

Alex joined the team in January 2017. She recently graduated from Massey with her vet degree and has returned to the South Island. She was born in Christchurch but grew up in Wellington and is excited to be back and is eager to explore the area. She enjoys both the production animal and small animal aspects of the job, so is looking forward to meeting all your animals of many sizes. She currently lives in Springston with her partner, flatmates and their dog, Tiff. In her spare time, she likes to help out on her partner’s farm, go tramping/camping, play tennis, golf and social netball.

Kate O'Connell  National Cert in Vet Nursing
National Cert in Rural Animal Technology

Kate joined the Selwyn Rakaia Vets team in March 2013 as a vet nurse/large animal technician. She grew up on a sheep & cropping farm near Methven and completed her Certificate in Veterinary Nursing at Christchurch Polytechnic in 2006. She then worked for a mixed practice in Methven for 3 years.  During this time, she completed her Certificate in Rural Animal Technology before heading overseas for her big OE!  Kate spent 6 months in the USA teaching horse riding at a summer camp and then on to the UK where she worked as a vet nurse at the RSPCA in London for 2 years.  Kate has a love of the outdoors and enjoys horse riding, football, touch rugby & skiing.

Ange Stonyer  
Rural Animal Technician

Angela became a technician at SRVS in August 2013, after spending the best part of fifteen years in the Thoroughbred industry and freighting horses throughout Australasia and Asia.  She has a Diploma in Journalism and enjoys photography.  Growing up on a farm in Ashburton, it was inevitable that working with animals was on the cards.

She enjoys hunting (with the hounds), taking the dirt bikes out and spending time with friends and family.

Ellen Bonniface  Bachelor of Veterinary Technology
Rural Animal Technician

Ellen joined SRVS in January 2014 as a Veterinary Technician.  She graduated from Massey University at the end of 2013 with a Bachelor in Veterinary Technology.  Ellen is originally from Christchurch, growing up in the city while also spending time at the family farm out at Lake Ellesmere.  Outside of work she enjoys horse riding, clay target shooting and freshwater fishing.

Sue Harris  Certificate in Veterinary Nursing
Rural Animal Technician

Sue joined Selwyn Rakaia Vets as a technician in 2011. She has qualifications in Equine Management and Technology and worked at the Gribbles Pathology Lab in specimen reception and haematology for ten years. She is also currently studying for her Vet Nursing Certificate and hopes to carry on and complete the Rural Animal Technician course next year.  In her spare time she enjoys anything to do with horses, especially dressage, and has three horses at home along with her two dogs and a small herd of Belted Galloways.

Elle Bryant  Diploma for Rural Veterinary Technicians

Elle was born and raised in Taranaki and grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Awakino. In 2016 she studied a Diploma for Rural Veterinary Technicians at Telford - A Division of Lincoln University, and joined the SRVS team in January 2017. Before going off to study Elle did a gap year in England then came home and worked on a milking goat farm in Taranaki for 2 years.

Liv Williams  BAppSc Majoring in Performance Analysis
Rural Animal Technician

Liv joined SRVS in December 2017 she was born and raised on a dairy farm in Canterbury. In 2017 she graduated from Otago Polytechnic Sports Institute with a bachelor of applied science health, wellness & physical activity with a graduate diploma in performance analysis. During her final year of her study she spent 6 months living in Spain + 3 months in Scotland. She now lives in Hororata with her dog Willow & flatmate.

Sophie Sanders  Bachelor of Veterinary Technology

Sophie started working at Selwyn Rakaia in March 2017. After completing a Bachelor of Science at Otago University and then a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at Massey in 2015, she moved to Perth to work in a small animal emergency clinic. She then travelled around South and Central America for six months before returning to her home town of Christchurch. Sophie now lives in the city and in her spare time enjoys skiing, running events and completing the occasional puzzle.


Ashleigh Thomas  Certificate in Veterinary Nursing & Rural Animal Technology
Rural Animal Technician

Ashleigh joined the team at SRVS in December 2017 as a rural animal technician. She completed her certificate in veterinary nursing in 2012, but her passion definitely lies with larger animals which encouraged her to complete her certificate to become a rural animal technician. Ashleigh also works seasonally for LIC as an artificial insemination technician which she has done for the past 5 years. Ashleigh is a born & bred West Coaster but has lived in Canterbury for the past 11 years, she is currently living with her cat Tinker & the best flatmates anyone could hope for.

Katharine Sheppard  B.S. (Animal Science)

I'm going to depart from the standard here and write mine in first person!  I have been working in the office in some capacity at Selwyn/Rakaia Vets since November 2003, with a couple of breaks for maternity leave (and another coming up very shortly!).  I originally hail from Fairbanks, Alaska, and have a B.S. in Animal Science from Colorado State University – and did a year’s study abroad at Lincoln in 2000.  The usual story...met a good Kiwi bloke, fell in love, and ended up moving back here after finishing my degree in 2002.  All the rest of my family is still in Fairbanks and we try to get back for a visit every couple years or so.

Outside of work, I am mum to two beautiful kids (Claire (4.5) and William (nearly 3)), and expecting #3 at the beginning of August.  I am currently president of Dunsandel Playcentre and chair of the Dunsandel Plunket volunteer group, and truly enjoy being involved with the community in that capacity.  If I have spare time outside of those things...I enjoy crafty things like quilting, knitting and sewing.

Little bits of Alaskana: coldest temp I’ve been in is -60 F (-51 C) but in summers we can see temps over 30 C...Fairbanks is ~200 miles south of the Arctic Circle (about 64° N – and in case you’re wondering 64° S just skims the top edge of Antarctica) so on winter solstice we have 3 hours 43 mins of sunlight, and summer solstice 21 hours 49 minutes of direct sunlight (but it is plenty light to see by 24/7 even when the sun’s not up)...moose frequently traipse through the front yard...the aurora borealis (northern lights) are visible ~200 days per year...and we normally have snow that sticks by early October and is mostly all gone by early-mid May, depending on the season.

Jade Farrant  
Office Administrator

Jade joined Selwyn Rakaia Vets in July 2013 in an office administration position. She lives and grew up on a lifestyle block in West Melton. Her main hobby is horse riding and she rides competitively in dressage and showing competitions. Her other interests include spending time with friends and family and playing sports which include netball and touch rugby.

Tonya Williams  
Office Administrator
I joined Selwyn Rakaia Vets in 2015 as an office administrator.
I moved to Rakaia from Christchurch 22 years ago and enjoy the quiet country life.
Working in the organic food industry prior to the vet clinic has been a change but a very enjoyable and handy one because I have two dogs and two cats.
I have two children and am lucky to still have them living locally.  They both work in the farming industry.

I enjoy biking, gardening and tinkering.  I am biking the Otago Rail trail this February and am looking forward to it.

Sonja Arnold  

I joined Selwyn Rakaia Vets in August 2017 after moving to Kirwee from Southland with our dog Cassie. My husband & I were previously dairying in Southland for several years before changing directions to work at a Vet clinic in Southland.  We have 2 adult children who currently reside in Christchurch.

Phillida Gordon  

Having spent over forty years in the veterinary industry you will realise that I am one of the "older" members of the team at SRVS.

I live on a small block in Greendale where I have a few Border Lester sheep, a dozen chooks and two Connemara ponies that I use for pleasure driving, I also breed and show golden retrievers.

My position at our Darfield branch is that of receptionist and I hope to be able to help you with any enquires or orders, so please phone or call into the shop anytime.