Escape down under worth the effort

English veterinarian Raechel Parker has enjoyed learning some new techniques and expanding her...
English veterinarian Raechel Parker has enjoyed learning some new techniques and expanding her skill set as a sheep and beef vet in the Maniototo. She is pictured performing laparoscopic AI. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
English veterinarian Raechel Parker says it wasn’t a hard decision to move down under in the middle of a global pandemic.

Despite the setbacks and paperwork she had to go through to get here, it had all been worth it as she found her feet as a sole-charge veterinarian in Ranfurly, Miss Parker said.

After arriving in New Zealand in July last year on a critical purpose visitor visa, she began her job working mostly on dairy farms in Canterbury through the busy calving season.

"But my interest and passion has always been in sheep and beef and I was keen to get more experience in that sector. I find extensive systems really interesting and I have a particular interest in parasitology and production."

When the position opened up at a Ranfurly vet clinic she jumped at the opportunity and seven weeks into the job she was getting a feel for the busy role.

"Probably being a sole-charge vet in a rural town has been both a challenge and a high point. It can be pretty intense at times, but it’s also extremely satisfying."

Depending on what she was doing, the hours could be quite long and her work took her to all corners of the Maniototo and into the Strath Taieri.

"Every day is so different and I have found the people down here really good to deal with — that’s definitely been another highlight."

Moving to the other side of the planet in her area of work highlighted all sorts of obvious differences.

"Farms work around a calendar year based on the seasons and as silly as it sounds, the whole opposite season situation has been a big thing to get my head around. To have spring in September just seemed so bonkers at the start," she said, laughing.

Learning to pregnancy scan cows "Kiwi style" had also been a new technique she had had to master.

After seven weeks in a sole-charge veterinarian position, she is finally starting to catch her...
After seven weeks in a sole-charge veterinarian position, she is finally starting to catch her breath and take a look around, Raechel Parker says. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

"In New Zealand cows are scanned using a wand in a race. Back home you would hold the probe in your hand and you’re arming every cow in a crush or herringbone race."

 

Despite the changes and challenges, she hadn’t regretted leaving her loved ones behind, Miss Parker said.

"My family and friends spent the good part of last year in lockdown. I have been really lucky to come here and enjoy the freedom of normal life."

While her workload had kept her extremely busy, she wanted to play squash and was also keen to explore the mountain-biking tracks in Naseby’s Black Forest.

"I feel like I am just starting to catch my breath and look around."

- By Alice Scott

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