Despite never having been into a veterinary facility of any description or met a veterinarian prior to enrolling for veterinary intermediate, I knew what veterinarians did and wanted to be one. Also two of my high school class mates were going to enrol.
My first job upon graduating was for N. Wairoa vet club in Dargaville, Northland
I returned to Palmerston Nth and worked for Kelly Burgess and Cumming for a short period before being taken under the wing of Ian Steffert and Prof Des Fielden who encouraged me to do a post grad diploma while working for the University. This lead to a life-long interest in epidemiology. I married Helen (B Food Tech) in 1973, and in 1975 we left for our OE. I practiced in Vermont USA for 2 years before returning to NZ, but with few opportunities here, we returned to the US, moved to New Hampshire where I set up practice while Helen got a job in the lab at Windsor Minerals who mined talc for Johnson & Johnson. In the early 80s, the winds of change saw a global Dairy glut virtually close down the dairying industry in NH, and my practice focus changed to companion animals. The 11 years I practiced in the US saw the emergence of a number of major disease entities: canine parvovirus, feline leukemia (FelV), FIV, and regionally, canine heartworm and Lyme disease (from Lyme, Connecticut). Rabies was also a rare but constant threat.
A career highlight was implanting a pacemaker in a 15month old male black Lab who had suffered parvovirus-induced heart block as a 9 week old puppy. "Charlie" went on to become a grand champion, survived a gastric torsion, and died aged 12 having sired a long line of champion black labs. The year was 1983 and we thought we were pretty crash hot because there were probably only half a dozen K9 pacemaker implants in the whole of the US at that time.
With the arrival of three small persons in our home we regretfully packed up and returned to NZ in 1986 just in time for the crash of 87. In !988 in partnership with Neil Twentyman, we purchased Whangaparaoa Veterinary services from Jan Dean, the widow of Richard Dean who had been tragically killed in a tractor accident that year, and the purpose-built facility that houses the practice to the present day was constructed in 1989.
How has your Massey University education contributed to your success?
Our degree course was fit for purpose at the time and my post grad studies kindled an interest in the disease process that has never abated. I delighted in practice every day of my working life.
You have an hour to spend at the Massey Campus – where do you make a bee line for?
The veterinary facility and the old refectory building- dinners there were memorable
What is your favourite type of meal and what does it say about you?
An Italian seafood dish including mussels and snapper which are easily harvested in the waters off our coast, with lots of tomatoes, garlic, olives and capers….. what’s not to like with something that makes you healthy and happy ! I’ve always been a hunter gatherer.
What advice would you give to your past self when you were a student?
Grow up, step up, and take responsibility.
Describe Massey University in 5 words
Humble beginnings, a great future.