Pets & their people trust us!

Our Work Overseas

Cathy and Matt both volunteer in veterinary projects in developing countries – Cathy in Tonga and Niue, and Matt in Mongolia.

Mongolia Vet Project

Typical Mongolian bridge

Matt with Vets in Mongolia

Wolf-attacked sheep treatment in Mongolia

In 2006/07 Matt Gumbrell and family lived in Mongolia where Matt was a volunteer for an agency assisting vets in Mongolia, called VETnet. Mongolian people who are nomadic herders rely heavily on their animals (sheep, goats, yak, camels, horses)for

  • food and drink
  • transport
  • clothing
  • insulation
  • building their tents

Mongolia has a harsh climate of winters to -50C and summers to +40C and very little precipitation.  Simple survival is often a struggle.

Matt and family found it challenging living, but absolutely loved their 1.5 years there, being part of an ancient culture so different from our own.

Matt returns to Mongolia for a month every two years to catch up with friends and keep lending a hand.


Cathy and South Pacific Animal Welfare

May 2011 teamSurgery in TongaVillage dog consult


SPAW is a New Zealand based volunteer organisation working in the South Pacific delivering compassionate animal welfare programmes. This includes general veterinary care, spay/neuter services, animal husbandry, vet tech training and humane education on island nations. There are no permanent Veterinarians based in Tonga or Niue. SPAW is solely run by volunteers and gets its funds through donations.

Cathy is a founding member of the SPAW board and is the vet in charge of Tonga. She has made several trips to Tonga to volunteer and is usually accompanied by one of our nurses.

SPAW’s aim is to help animals live decent lives in the Pacific by working with the communities they inhabit – through sharing knowledge and passing on our skills.

SPAW is a registered NZ Charity – visit their website at