Our team of experienced veterinarians, veterinary nurses and support staff are as passionate about your animals as you are. We pride ourselves on our professional approach to their health care and are committed to continuing education so we can offer you and your pet the very best treatments, whether it’s on the farm, lifestyle block or in one of our clinics.

Tauranga Vets Team

David McDonnell

David McDonnell is Managing Director of Tauranga Veterinary Services Ltd. A practising veterinarian, David has a farming background in the South Waikato and practised there for many years, gaining a post-graduate qualification in Dairy Cattle Medicine.

Since then, David has embarked on a veterinary management career after gaining a post-graduate qualification in Business Studies endorsed in accounting. He was based in Te Awamutu as a veterinary manager for a large practice before joining a pharmaceutical company in Tauranga as a business unit manager, providing technical and marketing support.

David and his family, including Michelle, a well-known local landscape designer, and their children Christopher, Timothy and Emma, all call Tauranga their home. They spend their leisure time with friends and family in the Bay of Plenty and enjoy having the Mount and Pacific Ocean as a stunning backdrop to their activities.

Kate Heller

Kate is one of our experienced veterinarians who works predominantly in our Cameron Road clinic.

She graduated from Massey University at the end of 2007 and started practising in mid-Canterbury before heading over to the UK for two years to work as a locum vet and travel around Europe. She has worked at Tauranga Vets as a mixed practitioner since returning home in 2012.

Outside of work, Kate spends most of her time on her new lifestyle block, managing a small flock of sheep, 2 calves, a crazy dog Tori, & Leo the cat. Kate also enjoys spending time in the outdoors kayaking, biking and trail running & calls herself a “retired multisporter” now after completing the Coast to Coast race 3 times.   

Kate enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine but has developed a particular interest in tricky eye cases, ultra-sonography and small animal internal medicine. She strives to provide the best possible care for your pets and treats them as if they were her own.

Tony Austwick

Tony completed his veterinary degree at Massey University and graduated in 1995.

He settled in Tauranga to work as a mixed practice vet. Over the years, he has worked mostly with companion animals but he still enjoys getting out on the farm to support the practice’s farming and lifestyle clients.

His veterinary interests include medicine, surgery – both general and orthopaedic – and dermatology.

Tony lives on a small lifestyle property with his wife, four daughters, five cats, one dog, two rabbits, three parrots, sheep, 6 budgies, a range of ducks and chickens and numerous tropical fish.

Marcus Allan

Marcus has worked broadly in the field of Equine Veterinarian Medicine and following his studies at Massey University completed post graduate certificates of proficiency in both equine diagnostic imaging and lameness.

Marcus joined the Tauranga Veterinary Services team in 2011 and during this time completed a secondment to Matamata Equine Vet Services, who specialise in Equine Health Management.

Marcus is passionate about general equine medicine, investigating and managing poor performance, assisting to improve horse health and promoting high standards of horse welfare, as well as meeting the needs of his equine clients.

Sonia McCaw

Sonia joined Tauranga Veterinary Services Ltd in 2015 after relocating to the beautiful Bay of plenty from Wellington. She graduated from Massey University in 1998 and since then has worked as small animal vet in NZ, Singapore and the UK.

Sonia has a special interest in ultrasonography. She loves everything about it, especially the fact that it is non invasive and such a valuable diagnostic tool to diagnose everything from lumps and bumps, heart disease to a peach pip blocking a loop of bowel.

Sonia enjoys a good cup of coffee, keeping fit and spending time with friends and family. She loves going adventuring with her husband Peter, their two children Max and Matilda, and Barry, their adorable puppy dog. They also have a snuggly kitty cat name Louie. If you are looking for him, he can usually be found under the duvet snoozing the day away.


Veterinary Nurses

Jess Jaimee Michelle Sarah


Lauren  Rebecca

Support Staff

Janelle Emma Karen July


Te Puna Vets Team

Phil Rennie

After graduating in 1995 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), from Massey University in Palmerston North, Phil spent the first part of his career gaining valuable clinical experience with both companion animals and livestock in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Diverse roles included being a vet investigator during the 2001 UK foot and mouth outbreak and as a sole charge clinician in a number of small animal clinics.

The following period of time he worked as a veterinary adviser for the multi-national pharmaceutical company Pfizer and kept up with clinical practice through regular locums and continuing education. This service with Pfizer culminated in him being the national technical lead for livestock and equine pharmaceuticals. During this time he gained membership with the ANZ College of Veterinary Scientists in Pharmacology and also trained as a Dairy NZ In Calf Adviser for advancing NZ dairy herd fertility.

Since returning to clinical practice in 2012 with Tauranga Vets, Phil has enjoyed his involvement with both companion and large animal patients primarily based out of the Tauranga and Te Puna branches.

Outside of work Phil enjoys time with family and friends, as well as keeping fit and relishing the great outdoors that the BoP coast and bush has to offer.

Alison Pickering

Alison is a Companion Animal Veterinarian with a special interest in feline medicine and behaviour…. or pretty much anything to do with cats!

She has more than 20 years’ experience as a veterinarian, including teaching at The Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, being the sole vet on the Island of Vanuatu for a month, volunteering for Pacific Island Animal Charities, and locum work around New Zealand and the UK.

This teaching experience made her realise her passion for sharing her knowledge, both with clients and also student vets, vet techs and nurses.  While at Massey she also completed a Master’s degree, researching the disease Leptospirosis in dogs.  This work gave her insight into recognising patterns of disease in our pet population – and she is always researching more information that helps her to manage complex medical problems.

Alison is also a committee member of the Companion Animal Veterinarians branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association.  This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to improving the health of our pets, and also supporting the amazing vets that care for your fur family.

Alison looks forward to meeting you and your pets – and do come and see her if you want some tips to help make vet visits less stressful for your cat!

Jean Lester

Jean completed her veterinary training at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK. Originally from Staffordshire she moved to New Zealand in 2018.

She is based mainly at the Te Puna clinic and enjoys all aspects of mixed practice. Jean looks after both our small and large animals and loves meeting our clients either in clinic or on farm.

Outside of work she likes exploring New Zealand, hiking, kayaking, horse riding and travelling.


Veterinary Nurses

Erin Marie


Katikati Vets Team

Len Paki

Len Paki completed his Veterinary degree at Massey University, graduating  in 1985.

He worked mainly as a mixed practice vet in Gisborne for 16 years before moving to the Waikato in 2001. Len worked in the Waikato until 2003 when he and his wife, Mandy, moved to the UK. In the UK, Len practised in a small Village for nearly 12 years, increasing his knowledge on cardiology, ultrasonography, and orthopaedics.

Deciding to return to NZ, Len and Mandy moved to the south of France, where they lived for 2 years, before making it back home in January of 2017.

Len’s interest is mainly Companion Animal medicine and surgery, although he still likes to keep in touch with the Farming side of things!

Outside of work Len enjoys reading and accompanying his wife on walks in the countryside. Len and Mandy are looking forward to exploring the Bay.

Katherine Hansen

Katherine joined Tauranga Vets in 2015. She originally trained at Massey University in 2003 and has gone on to work in mixed veterinary practices caring for small animals and horses.  She has worked  both in New Zealand and England.  She complete an Equine internship at Cambridge University in England and done further training in Dermatology (skin conditions) in small animals.

Katherine lives on a lifestyle block in Te Puna with her husband, two children and a growing number of pets.  Zoe a cross breed dog,  a couple of fluff ball cats, they rescued as kittens, chickens, a pair of very opinionated ducks, and a number of ex Ag day lambs that never leave.

Veterinary Nurses

Nikki Courtney Jesse


Papamoa Clinic Team

Tom Matson

Tom is originally from Tauranga but moved to Wellington in 2003 to study a BA in psychology and criminology.

Tom finished this in 2006 then spent four years doing a mixture of behavioural therapy work with autistic children and volunteering at wildlife rescue centres in Southeast Asia and South America.

Working in wildlife conservation introduced Tom to many vets and they encouraged him to give vet school a go, which he did in 2011. Tom graduated from Massey in 2015, then spent three months working as a volunteer vet at a wildlife rescue centre in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tom then moved to Wellington and started working at the SPCA Vet Hospital and stayed for almost three years. Tom has now moved back to Tauranga as his partner is studying at the new Tauranga University.

Tom’s interests in vet medicine are still quite broad and includes the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal disease, nutrition, dermatology, avian medicine and surgery, radiology, and emergency medicine. Outside of work his interests include long distance running, wildlife and environmental conservation, film and TV, brewing and trying different craft beers, and a slight obsession with cricket.

Anne Shilston

After graduating from Massey University Anne headed to the UK where she worked in companion animal practice and travelled. On returning to New Zealand, she spent time at Manawatu Vets and Thames Vets before settling in the sunny Bay of Plenty.  She and her husband Rob have a few acres in Te Puna and have had many adventures there with their 2 daughters (now adults) growing up. Whilst the girls have now left home we have a menagerie of 2 golden retrievers, 2 cats, 2 rascally goats, 4 sheep and a few chickens.

Anne joined the team at Tauranga Vets in 2012 and works part-time at the Papamoa and Te Puna clinics. She enjoys getting to know owners and their pets and working together to keep them in the best health possible.  She values learning and keeping up to date to be able to offer the best treatment options.

Outside of work, she loves spending time in the great outdoors, catching up family and friends, travel, yoga and coffee.

Veterinary Nurses

Stacey Shontelle