About Us

Equine and Farm Veterinary Services Ltd, trading as Vets on Riverbank, is the culmination of over 40 years of continuous veterinary service to the Otaki, Horowhenua and Kapiti district.

When Graham Carthew commenced practice in the early 1970’s much of today’s technology was in its infancy and “lifestyle blocks” had not been heard of. Most of the work back then was either out on dairy farms or back in the clinic attending to household pets.

The practice has seen many generations of companion animals pass through the clinic from puppy and kitten vaccinations through to geriatric treatments.

Farming has always been an important part of the practice. Sheep and beef farming predominantly along the foothills of the Tararuas and dairy farms scattered throughout the district. We work closely with farmers to obtain optimum animal health which is important in producing a quality product.

Over the years the practice has been closely involved with a number of thoroughbred studs dotted between Levin and Waikanae. Unfortunately the 1987 share market crash brought about the decline of the thoroughbred breeding industry in this area.

Racing of course continues and we are proud to be, and have been, associated with many trainers whose names are legendary in racing circles. We have also had a close working relationship with the Otaki Maori Racing Club as well as Levin and Wellington Racing Clubs.

What has been a large part of equine practice today has been the growth of sport horses. Our staff have close connections with the industry and this is an important part of our practice.

Lord of The Rings Trilogy filming was an exciting episode in the history of the practice. The large number of horses’ involved meant veterinarians from the practice, (mainly Ray) were required to be on-set much of the time.

As well as hands on attention to your animals, our spacious premises in Riverbank Road stocks a full range of animal care products. For example, in recent years there has been an explosion in neutraceuticals, (these are nutritional or feed additive type products). Many people find these products totally confusing as to whether they are necessary or not. We keep a selection that we think are beneficial and we are happy to advise you.

So as we keep saying, "All creatures great and small, we treat them all".


Graham Carthew - Veterinary Surgeon B.VSc


Graham has been in practice in Otaki for over 40 years and still loves the profession. The challenges faced on a daily basis and the changes over the years in farming , companion animals, livestock and horses means he never finds it dull. His only regret now is that he is nearing the end of his professional life and not the start,so will not have the opportunity to take advantage of all the recent amazing developments in knowledge, drugs and technology. Although Graham admits that yearsagohe did have a lot of fun “making do” with what was available.

Looking at the veterinarians in our practice and the final year students that have externships with us, Graham believes the profession is in very good heart.

It is not easy being married to a veterinarian, but Graham’s wife Ann has always been there to support him.

Ray Lenaghan - Veterinary Surgeon MVB, MANZCVS ( Eq Dent )


Ray trained in Ireland and worked for a time in mixed practices in the United Kingdom before coming to New Zealand in 1999. A well timed telephone call to Graham meant Ray first worked on Lord of the Rings and then full time in the practice from 2001.

Ray has developed outstanding skills in the equine area, especially in dentistry and lameness. In 2012 Ray became one of only five New Zealand veterinarians to sit and pass his membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Equine Dentistry. He now sees referral dental and sinus cases as well as routine work.

Married to Jane and living in rural Otaki with their two children, Ray rarely finds time to get away from veterinary practice to follow his passion for golf.

Kate Georgetti - Veterinary Surgeon B.VSc


Kate started her veterinary career in 1996 in an equine and small animal practice in South Auckland. Since then she has worked in the South Island and central North Island before returning home to Otaki in 2003.

The daughter of local vet, Graham Carthew, Kate grew up inside a vet clinic! This may contribute to her ability to listen and communicate clearly with her clients and the enormous compassion she has with for her patients. Over the years Kate has gained vast experience in small animal medicine and surgery.

Kate and her husband Chris, who teaches at Otaki College, live in Manakau with their three chidren.

Vicky David - Equine Assistant


Vicky moved to Otaki more than 40 years ago to work with horses, mainly thoroughbreds, in both the stud and racing industries. Since then she has, at some time or another, been involved with every aspect of horse management from foaling, weaning to breaking in, racing and breeding.

Vicky enjoys her present roll with the vets, providing assistance in handling a variety of large animals. This works in well with her small stable where she cares for injured and recuperating horses, as well as, with the vets from Vets on Riverbank, the preparation of mares for artificial insemination and embryo transplant.

Erin Simpson. BVSc. Veterinary Surgeon


Erin has been part of Equine and Farm Veterinary Services since 2005. She is very enthusiastic about all aspects of veterinary practice, with a special interest in the Equine, Dairy and Lifestyle areas, particularly reproduction.

Erin, with her partner Bryan, take a full part in the local community including the Te Horo Fire Brigade and Horowhenua Search and Rescue.

With two adult children now living away from home, Erin and Bryan spend their spare time outdoors, enjoying all the district has to offer especially hunting and fishing.

Charlie Georgetti - Veterinary Surgeon B.VSc


Charlie graduated in 2003 and went to work in the back blocks of Taihape where he quickly learnt to wrestle cows, deer and sheep as well as looking after sick and injured farm dogs. Followed by a stint in Gisborne, Charlie embarked on his OE to Britain for three years. In the UK, Charlie changed tack and concentrated on small animal medicine and surgery.

On returning to New Zealand in 2011, Charlie started work at Vets on Riverbank. His interest firmly in the companion animal sphere, Charlie has completed significant further study in this area and is now one of the clinics full time small animal vets.

Charlie is married to Koo, also a veterinarian and they live with their two cats and Labrador at PekaPeka where Charlie is able to enjoy the great outdoors in the form of running, cycling and kayaking.

Margaret Leyland - Veterinary Surgeon


Margaret is a veterinary graduate from Bristol University in the UK. Following graduation she completed an Equine Internship at Massey University before going on to work for Totally Vets in Palmerston North for five years, so Margaret brings a wealth of experience to the practice.

Margaret's particular interests are in equine medicine and reproduction and she is also a very experienced equine dentist. With these skills, Margaret fits in well into the ambulatory type of practice we provide in the Wellington region, and has done since March 2014.

Margaret lives with her faithful dog Holly in Pukerua Bay and when away from veterinary practice, Margaret is an exceptional mountain bike rider and competes competitively throughout New Zealand.

Sam Wycherley- Veterinary Surgeon B.V.Sc.


Sam finished her studies at Massey University in 2015, during which time she gained experience at clinics around New Zealand, as well as some hands on wildlife practise at a Melbourne zoo. Sam joined our practice early in 2016 and quickly became a valued member of our team.

Her focus has been on small animal surgery and medicine and her diligent caring personality along with excellent veterinary skills means she has developed a strong relationship with many of our clients in a very short time.

Sam has a well-establishedconnection with this area, she grew up on the Kapiti Coast and loves this beautiful part of our country.


Kelsey Dennett – Veterinary Nurse


Kelsey graduated from Massey University in 2009 with her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. She has since worked at several companion animal clinics around Wellington, and most recently at Wellington Zoo. She joined the team here in 2016 as a companion animal nurse.

Kelsey really enjoys nursing critical care hospitalised patients and thinks there is nothing better than seeing these patients regain full health and be able to go back home. She is also experienced with the nursing and anaesthesia of rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and birds.

In her spare time, you will find her walking her Border Terrier Rocco along the beach or playing tennis at the local club.She also loves cooking and baking at her home in Paekakariki where she lives with her partner Tyler

Georgie Poynter - Veterinary Nurse


After graduation in 2004 from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology with a certificate in Veterinary Nursing, Georgie was employed by the Otaki Veterinary Centre. She joined the Riverbank Road team in 2009 and has thrived on the pressure of working in a busy veterinary practice.

She has an interest in animal behaviour especially dogs, and has utilised the training she has had in this field by running Puppy Preschool classes at the clinic along with fellow nurse, Shanyn.

Georgie loves assisting with anaesthesia and surgery, especially in emergency situations, even if it is in the middle of the night!

Currently living in Levin with her daughter Nellie, Georgie has a menagerie of cats and dogs.

Shanyn Hyde – Veterinary Nurse


Shanyn graduated from UCOL in 2015 with her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, and after some volunteer work at the clinic was offered a permanent role as a companion animal nurse.

Shanyn really enjoys assisting with surgery and monitoring anaesthesia. She also helps out Georgie with puppy preschool classes.

In her spare time, you may see her on patrol as a surf lifeguard at Otaki Surf Lifesaving Club or running along the beach. She also enjoys spending time with her two cats Primrose and Billie Jean.

Claire Brown - Veterinary Nurse


Claire is a part time companion animal veterinary nurse. She graduated from Hartpury College in the UK in 2000 with a Diploma of Companion Animal Nursing.

Before joining Vets on Riverbank Claire worked at the Wellington Veterinary Emergency After Hours Clinic so she has an excellent knowledge in the care of critically sick or injured patients. Because of this, she enjoys assisting the companion animal Veterinarians, Kate and Charlie in emergency situations.

Claire lives with her husband Chris and three children at Te Horo along with three horses, two dogs and five cats.

Gemma Simcox - Veterinary Nurse


Gemma graduated in 2013 with a Certificate in Veterinary Nursing from Otago Polytechnic, after studying by correspondence for two years.

From an early age Gemma had a keen interest in animals and did voluntary work after school at the clinic. This fortunately lead on to full time employment. As well as general nursing and reception duties, she is also involved in stock control and ordering.

Gemma lives on a beef farm in Otaki with her husband Hayden along with three dogs, five cats, a horse and Richard the sheep. She can be found most weekends working on the farm, and tending to her "fur babies."

Sarah Frank - Veterinary Nurse


After graduating in 2009 with a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing from Massey University, Sarah has worked in several small animal veterinary practices in both Australia and New Zealand. She made the move to Vets on Riverbank in mid 2014 and is really enjoying the diversity of work a mixed practice can offer.

Sarah has been involved with animals since a young age with multiple furry friends now sharing her home. In the weekends you are more likely to find her in gumboots rather than high heels as she enjoys riding and competingher horses and training for agility her blue heeler, Joey.


Cindy Kent - Administration


Cindy has been working in the practice since 1996. Starting as a veterinary nurse her work has evolved until now she is full time in the office paying the bills, wages and looking after the equine and large animal appointments.

Cindy has a strong equine background which has been a great help with the horse side of the practice. With her horse Playskool, they won, among other competitions, the Horse of the year title three times and culminating in competing at the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998.

Nowadays, Cindy’s weekends are spent either in the garden with her miniature Schnauser called Miss Poppy and Dolphin the cat, or frequenting the dressage and show jumping shows supporting friends.

Julia Atkins - Administration


Julia has been part of the practice for over five years now, working quietly in the background. Her duties consist of data entry, debtor control, account queries and marketing.

Julia’s outside interests include growing lavender for their oil by-products. She has also been very involved in community work, Pink Ribbon Day and as secretary of Otaki Rotary.

Married to Mike, Julia lives on their lifestyle block at TeHoro, with one large cat, Macintosh.