‘Each day is different’ helping farm animals

NS Vets Riversdale graduate veterinarian Holly Gardyne, with her dog Herbie at home in Knapdale,...
NS Vets Riversdale graduate veterinarian Holly Gardyne, with her dog Herbie at home in Knapdale, is a recipient of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians was launched in 2009 to help ease a shortage of veterinarians working with production animals and working dogs in rural New Zealand. Scheme recipients each receive $55,000 before tax across five years, in return for working across rural New Zealand. In a new series, Shawn McAvinue talks to some of the latest recipients working in rural southern communities.

This week he talks to NS Vets Riversdale graduate vet Holly Gardyne, of Knapdale.

Holly Gardyne left Massey University in Palmerston North with qualifications to work as a veterinarian and a hefty debt.

The 24-year-old will put all of the money from the scheme on her student loan which was more than $100,000.

The financial support would help ease the financial burden and the transition from university to working fulltime.

Mrs Gardyne was born in Hamilton and raised on a lifestyle block just outside Christchurch.

She had always wanted to be a vet.

"I have always loved the idea of being able to help and look after farm animals," she said.

She and her husband Richard were sheep, beef and cropping farming in Knapdale, near Gore.

He also managed a stock food company.

She began work at NZ Vets in Riversdale in March last year and the couple both loved what they were doing.

She was loving being part of two southern communities.

The remoteness of rural clinics and possible feelings of isolation could be a reason why it had been harder to attract graduates vets to work in rural New Zealand, she said.

"People often aren’t drawn to the middle of nowhere."

Life was too busy to feel isolated, and she was kept busy at home, so that helped.

She loved working in a rural community and the variety of work on offer which ranged from treating sick working dogs to velvetting deer.

"Each day is different which is very refreshing," she said.

She particularly enjoyed working with deer and a highlight had been velvetting stags with David Stevens at Netherdale Red Deer Stud in Northern Southland.

Mr Stevens, who retired from the stud game last year, taught her a lot.

Farmers were a wealth of knowledge and more than willing to teach young people, Mrs Gardyne said.

She enjoyed the mental and physical challenge of being a large-animal vet and her hobbies, including gardening and hunting, helped her keep fit.

She enjoyed working in a tight-knit community and getting to know the farmers on the job.

"They are pretty laid back and appreciate you helping them out."


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