Vet Staff

Dave Keenan | BVSc MANZCVS

Dave was a 1994 graduate from Massey University before spending 2 years in mixed practice in Ashburton.
He came to MVS in 1995 and is currently one of the five practice directors. Dave achieved his membership exams of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Equine Medicine in 2003 and has a specific interest in performance horse work and equine skeletal development.

Andrea Ritmeester | BVSc (Hons) MS DipACVS Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery

Andrea graduated from Massey University in 1991. She took a job in mixed large animal practice with Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm in Takanini for 2 years before moving to USA to complete a 3-year Residency programme in Large Animal Surgery at Purdue University, Indiana, from 1993-1996. She stayed on as Instructor at Purdue University Veterinary School for another year while finishing a Master of Science degree in 1997.

Andrea returned to NZ in 1997 to resume work at Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm as Practice Surgeon. She passed the Boards Examination in Large Animal Surgery for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in San Diego in 1998 to become the only Boarded Large Animal Surgeon in private practice in NZ at that time, and was granted Specialist status in Equine Surgery by the NZ Veterinary Council in 2000.

Andrea continued to work at Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm in South Auckland until early 2010, when a lifestyle change saw her move to the Waikato with husband Mark and 5-year-old daughter Jessica. She joined the Matamata Veterinary Services Equine team in March 2010 and is currently performing all types of surgery with a special interest in arthroscopy and abdominal surgery.

Bill Ewen | BVSc (Dist)

After owning and operating Marks, Ewen & Associates Ltd for 33 years, Bill sold the practice to MVS in July 2019 and joined the equine team.

Bill studied at Massey University from 1975 – 1979 graduating with Distinction in 1980, gaining several awards including the National Diary Prize in Veterinary Surgery, the Upjohn Prize in Clinical Pharmacology, and New Zealand Freezing Companies Association Prize in Veterinary Public Health and Meat Hygiene.

From graduation Bill joined the Thompson, Marks & Christopher at the end of 1979, becoming a partner in 1986.

Bill has gained overseas experience, spending time in Kentucky (USA), and Newmarket (UK) in 1998. Outside of the practice Bill’s devotion to the broader industry saw him as a committee member of the NZEVA for three terms, and also a committee member for the Waikato Branch of the NZTBA for 12 years, and is currently still a long standing (approx 30 years) member of the Matamata Racing Club Board.

Outside of work Bill is also passionate towards most things horses, being a breeder and owner of thoroughbreds and sport horses on his own property, a keen racing man often tuned int o Trackside. Bill is a family man and like most Kiwi’s enjoys many sports including fishing, golf, cricket and rugby.

Leigh de Clifford | BVSc CertAVP PGDipVPS MRCVS

Born and raised in rural Australia on a mix farm, Leigh grew up around racing, rodeo and campdrafting.

Leigh graduated from Massey in 2008 and worked in a large equine hospital in western Victoria before taking up a position as the private veterinarian for Qatar Bloodstock and Qatar Racing, based in Gloucestershire, UK.

Leigh’s interests include sports medicine, lameness and surgery and is keen on advancing the management of the equine athlete to get maximum performance, whether it be polo, dressage, eventing, show jumping or racing. Leigh was also recently asked to join the Australian Equestrian Veterinary Team for WEG in 2014.

When not at work Leigh can be found running around a rugby pitch, at the gym or grooming for his wife at her dressage competitions.

Barbara Hunter | DVM MS MANZCVS DACVS-LA Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery

Barbara finished her DVM at the University of Saskatchewan in 2007. Following an internship in equine referral practice at Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey, Barbara spent two years as a general ambulatory equine practitioner in Alberta, Canada. During that time she developed a special interest in equine sports medicine, imaging and surgery.

In 2010 she moved to the USA to complete a one year clinical fellowship in large animal medicine and surgery followed by a three year residency in large animal surgery at Oregon State University. She also completed a Masters in Veterinary Science that focused on bisphosphonate use in horses for treatment of navicular disease and was awarded first place for presentation of that research in the 2014 American College of Veterinary Surgeon’s Residents Forum. She is now one of two American board certified surgeons at Matamata Veterinary Services and has special interests in both race horse and sport horse lameness, minimally invasive surgery, and dental surgery.

Ian Heyns | BSc Agric BVSc

Ian joined MVS July 2019 as part of our equine team

In 1977 Ian graduated from University of Natal, South Africa with a BSc Argric, he then attended Pretoria University graduating in 1982 gaining his BVSc.

For 15 years Ian owned and operated a mixed animal practice in Mooi River, Natal, SA which included intensive and extensive beef, sheep and horses. 1990 – 2000 saw Ian working exclusively on TB stud farms in Natal including three seasons in the Northern Hemisphere in Turkey. Followed by spending 2003-2017 as the stud vet in The Cape for numerous studs including, Drakenstein Stud & Wilgerbosdrift & Maine Chance Farms.

Ian built and was the managing director of the Drakenstein veterinary clinic, now named Vetscape in 2007.

He also was also successful in breeding on his own account owning a thoroughbred stud in Paarl, Cape Town which bred a Grp 1 winner named Seal.

Ian then relocated to NZ 2018 with his family.

Outside of practice Ian enjoys spending time with family, running, squash and touring the wild country in SA and now NZ.

Rochelle Kerr | BVS BAgSc DipAgSc CVA

Rochelle joined Matamata Vets Equine team in 2017 after spending 20 years working at Marks Ewen and Associates predominately as a stud veterinarian.

Rochelle graduated from Massey University in 1993, she worked in mixed practice for a few years before travelling and working in large animal practice in the UK.

Rochelle’s interests are equine reproduction and stud medicine. In 2019 she become certified in Veterinary acupuncture after completing the Australian International Veterinary Acupuncture Society qualification. She is enjoying being able to offer a different perspective to traditional western medicine.

Rochelle is passionate about NZ thoroughbred breeding and is on the NZTBA council.

In her spare time, she enjoys hunting, watching her children play cricket and going to the races and having the odd flutter.

Roisin McQuillan | MVB BAgrSc

Roisin joined MVS in April 2018 as part of our equine team. Roisin graduated from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2004 and worked in mixed practice in southern Ireland for two years before moving to Australia to pursue an interest in equine reproduction and medicine. The southern hemisphere appealed and so she applied to register in New Zealand, initially working as a locum vet in the North and South Islands before settling in the Waikato to work in equine practice.

Roisin has been employed to work as a member of the equine team to carry out ambulatory work on the stud farms and stables. Her interests include reproduction, performance medicine, internal medicine, dentistry and ophthalmology. She also enjoys racetrack practice.

Outside of work Roisin enjoys outdoor pursuits such as trail running, hiking and walking her dogs. She enjoys attending the races, local dramas and cinema. Roisin is a keen traveler with her most recent adventure hiking in Patagonia!

Tracey Kerr | MVB, MANZCVSc (Eq Med)

Tracey graduated from University College Dublin in 2007 and spent two years working in Kentucky before coming to New Zealand for the breeding season. Ten breeding seasons later she is still here enjoying the Kiwi equine industry and lifestyle.

Tracey’s main areas of interest include internal medicine, in particular neonatal foal medicine, and all aspects of stud work. She gained membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in 2012, focusing on Equine Medicine.

Outside of work Tracey enjoys hiking, travelling and a good book.

Jessica Connell | BVSc

Jess joined MVS in July 2019 as a veterinarian on our equine team.

Jess graduated from Massey University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science. She has held a variety of jobs in the equine industry, including with thoroughbred racing, pre-training stables, and sport horse farms. She then went on to spend two breeding seasons at a well known thoroughbred stud in the Waikato as a junior stud vet.

As Jess sought to progress and further her career she arrived at Marks+Ewen in 2014 where she completed her internship and progressed to the role of veterinarian associate. Her main interests are equine reproduction, all aspects of thoroughbred stud medicine and radiography.

Jess’s interests outside of work involves spending a lot of time with her own horses, this includes show-jumping  and hunting, as well as breeding the odd sport horse. In her spare time there’s always work to be done on their kiwifruit orchard.

Therese Ritson | BVSc (dist.)

Therese joined MVS in August 2017 through our equine internship program. Therese graduated with distinction from the University of Liverpool, UK in 2016. Since then she has spent a year in a mixed animal practice in England where she enjoyed the wide variety of work it provided. Therese also undertook a surgical elective at Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital as a student. Since completing her internship with MVS, Therese has stayed on as a permanent team member and has moved into an ambulatory vet role with the clinic.

Outside of work Therese enjoys riding, running and cycling.

Caroline Thompson | BVSc (Dist.)

Caroline joined MVS in February 2019 as an equine intern, after graduating with distinction from Massey University.

Caroline has a strong equine background, having grown up competing in eventing as well as working in the racing industry for seven years. During vet school Caroline focused her studies on equine practice wherever possible, with a particular interest in racetrack practice and sports medicine. Caroline is looking forward to getting stuck in and gaining a wide range of experience whilst at MVS.

 Outside of work Caroline enjoys anything outdoors, and maintains a keen interest in the racing and sporthorse industries.

Fumiko Tsunashima | BA in Psychology, BVSc

Fumiko joined MVS in January 2024 as an Equine Veterinary Intern.

Fumiko is originally from Japan and came to New Zealand in 2012. She developed her interest and enthusiasm in racing when she was a teenager. Working with racehorses has been her dream since then. After she worked in Auckland for a while, she decided to study veterinary science and graduated from Massey University in 2023.

While she was studying at Massey, she helped yearling preps/sales every summer. She was also working at a racing stable on weekends.

Fumiko is interested in correlations between health/conformation in foals/yearling horses and their future performance, the influence of nutrition on horses’ demeanour and behaviours and holistic treatments such as herbal medicine and acupuncture. She also would like to learn more about pedigrees and breeding in thoroughbreds.

She used to enjoy horse riding, mainly dressage, and hopes to get back to riding again at some point while she is working as an intern at MVS. Other than that, she enjoys yoga and travelling.

Fianne Kuijpers | MSc

Fianne joined MVS in February 2024 as an Equine Veterinary Intern.

Fianne graduated with a Masters of Science in Veterinary Medicine from Utrecht University, The Netherlands in 2023. During her studies she developed an interest in equine reproduction and neonatal foal care. She went to UC Davis to do research on Equine endometrial organoids and has written her Master Thesis on the topic. After graduation she went to Australia for a breeding season to gain experience in the field and of equine reproduction.

During her internship, Fianne is aiming to expand her knowledge and develop her skills in all areas of the equine veterinary profession, with emphasis on anesthesia, internal medicine and equine sports medicine.

Outside of work Fianne enjoys cooking, going on hikes, pilates, and is hoping to get back into driving standardbreds.

Ali Mitchell | BVSc

Ali joined MVS in February 2024 as a Veterinary Intern. She graduated from Massey University in 2023.

Ali grew up on a lifestyle block just outside Wellington. Ali grew up show jumping to young rider and more recently Pro-amateur level. She is interested in all areas of equine practice and is looking forward to working amongst the experienced team here at MVS.

Outside of work Ali enjoys riding her horse William and running.