After-hours/Emergency Phone: 03 325 4444

03 325 4444

Selwyn-Rakaia Vet Services Ltd

Meet Our Team

Donald Arthur  BVSc, Dip ACVP

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 400 hectare farm business (cropping, beef and lamb finishing, and dairy support), 2 children, being on the NZ Veterinary Council Practice Standards Committee,  .... and a tendency to travel and enjoy life as much as possible.  Bernice’s interpretation of enjoying life includes travelling, skiing, scuba diving, hockey, cheese making, 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 worked in Northern Ireland and the Netherlands as a mixed practitioner.  She returned to New Zealand in 2013 with her husband Ruurd, and began working for Selwyn Rakaia Vets in July 2013.  Rachel works part time for us and fits this in between busy days on their small dairy farm.  Rachel has a special interest in dairy herd health, and enjoys getting back to her roots with sheep and beef.  She has always had a passion for horses and looks forward to getting back to this as a hobby in the near future.   Rachel has a little boy called Atze, and in her spare time enjoys working on her garden which is a bit of a wilderness but will one day be ordered and filled with flowers, fruit and vegetables. 

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)
Emma joined the practice in 2016 following a brief stint working on a local dairy farm.  Originally from Scotland, she moved to New Zealand seeking better weather and adventures after she qualified as a vet in Edinburgh.  Dairy cow lameness, mastitis and reproduction are her main interests, and owning a few goats of her own has qualified her to be our very own "goat vet".
After discovering the joys of trail running and adventure racing, you'll most often find her running or biking up hills somewhere in her spare time.  And when the snow hits in winter then she'll be snowboarding in between calving cows.


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. Rajiv is currently living in Lincoln with his wife Rebecca. 
In his spare time Rajiv enjoys; travelling, spending time with family and friends, golf and mixed martial arts . 
Rajiv enjoys working with dairy, lifestyle, small animal clients and the team at Selwyn Rakaia Vets. 
Alex Pidgeon  BVSc
Alex joined the team in January 2017. She 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 meeting and caring for both your larger animals, as well as your fur babies. She currently lives in Dunsandel with her fat ginger cat Digby. In her spare time, she likes to go tramping/camping, play tennis, go for picnics, and support the SRVS touch rugby team.
Megan Loach  BVSc MRCVS

Megan joined the team in September 2018. She moved over from the Isle of Wight, England after graduating from Bristol University in July 2018. Having spent a month with us in 2017 on placement, Megan fell in love with New Zealand and couldn’t wait to return. In her spare time she enjoys tramping, skiing and being on or in the water!



Sonja Coombes  BVSc

Sonja's interest in dairy cows is in her blood as her family have been dairy farmers for generations in Switzerland and in Leeston since 1997. After vet school she spent eight years tending to cows in the Waikato. There was plenty to do with outbreaks of Theileria, Facial Eczema, Zinc toxities, and Phosphorous deficiency anaemias. During this time she enjoyed working with her farmers to make long-term improvements in animal and human welfare. She was known to get stuck in any time someone mentioned phrases like six-week in-calf rate, anti-microbial stewardship, data analysis, diet composition or biosecurity plans. There she met her husband Cameron, a refrigeration engineer and mad golfer. They played in the same rock band and their family expanded when an abandoned cat decided to join them at a practice one night. They named her "Roadie".

They all moved to Canterbury in January 2019, lured by the superior ski-fields and the chance to go support a champion super rugby team. They settled on living in Rolleston because of the great sushi and its close proximity to Weedons golf course. Roadie appreciates the friendlier nature of the suburban cats compared to the feral farm cats she battled with up north.
Sonja is enjoying her time at SRVS so far, getting to know the locals on farm and at the Friday touch tourny.


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.

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.

Claud Mehrtens  
Rural Animal Technician

Claudia joined the team in January 2019 as a Large Animal Technician. She grew up on a farm in Ohoka and recently moved to a lifestyle block in Oxford. Claudia is currently in her last year of study through Otago Polytechnic. In her free time Claudia enjoys competing her horses as well as hunting, and spending time with her two cats Ralph and Milton.

Jayme Lang  
Veterinary Nurse

Jayme joined the team in December 2019 as a mixed animal Veterinary Technician after graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology. Despite spending her childhood surrounded by horses, she developed a strong interest for production medicine while at university. In her free time Jayme enjoys spending time with friends, family and her two dogs Mack and Jedd, playing sports, camping and going for the occasional hunt. 

Kirstie Dodds  
Rural Animal Technician

Kirstie joined the SRV team as a Large Animal Vet Tech in 2019. Previously she studied and worked as a teacher before following her passion of working with animals in the rural sector. Kirstie also works for LIC during the spring as an Artificial Breeding Technician. She has an energetic English Field Spaniel called Floss who keeps her busy and outside of work loves her deep sea fishing, camping, hunting, boating and spear-fishing/diving. 

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)
Office Administrator

I have been working in the office in some capacity at Selwyn Rakaia Vets since November 2003, with 3 breaks for maternity leave.  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.  

Outside of work, I am mum to three gorgeous kiddos (Claire (9), William (8), and Thomas (5)).  I am the treasurer and catering coordinator for the Dunsandel School PTA at the moment, and still volunteer for Plunket.  If I have spare time outside of voluntary activities and carting children around to sporting events...I enjoy crafty things like quilting, knitting and sewing, and love pottering in the garden.

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 25 years ago and really enjoy the quiet country life.

I have two adult children and am lucky enough to still have them living in the South Island.  They also both work in the farming industry. I have one dog and two cats which are finally starting to tolerate each other. 

I enjoy biking, gardening and tinkering.  I am looking forward to doing some travelling, this is something I haven't done much of so the world is my oyster  they say.


Sonja Arnold  
Office Administrator

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 Leicester sheep, a dozen chooks and two Connamare ponies that I use for pleasure driving, I also breed and show golden retrievers.

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