Our Team

Dr Simon NelsonDr Simon Nelson

Senior Veterinary Surgeon and Owner
Qualified 1994 with BVSc and BSc (Massey)

Simon graduated from Massey University in 1994 with degrees in Biochemistry, Physiology and Veterinary Science. After five years working overseas he returned to live in Wellington and opened Animal Health Centre.

Simon enjoys all aspects of veterinary practice, both medical and surgical, as well as the challenges of veterinary business. He has worked in all settings from small country practice to large city specialist and emergency centres. Over the years Simon has come to appreciate the relationships that can be made with clients and the role that good ‘family’ practices like Animal Health Centre play within the community.

Simon is an experienced surgeon and attends to all the orthopaedic surgery within the practice. He also has interests in dentistry, and internal medicine.

In his spare time Simon enjoys motorcycling, windsurfing, sea kayaking and snowboarding. His fur family includes two fur brothers, Noah (aka. Squizzies) and Toby, who both accompany Simon to the Clinic each day. Noah's a 'Staffie' cross, always polite and calm and would never rip up his brand new toys (haha), but Toby (aka. Tobz or FOMO) is a typical Jack Russell. Into everything and full of his own self importance, Toby can often be heard barking through the door at dogs visiting in reception, ignoring all attempts to hush him...so embarrassing for his 'dad'.

Dr Sue GautreyDr Sue Gautrey

Senior Veterinary Surgeon
Qualified 1995 with VetMB (Cambridge/UK)

Sue qualified from Cambridge University, England, with a VetMB veterinary degree in 1995. The Cambridge connection comes in handy as several of Sue’s university colleagues literally wrote the books that many vets use all over the world.

After practicing in the UK Sue returned to New Zealand with her family in 2003.

Sue is from an accomplished medical family and she continues this tradition with her skills in veterinary medicine. She is a very capable, skilled, and well-rounded veterinary surgeon, having worked in a variety of clinical settings both here and overseas.

When not working Sue and her family are keen and successful sports people, with particular talents in yachting, triathlon and snow skiing. As well as time spent with her family, Sue enjoys walking her dog Polly, the best dog in the world apparently, and keeping fit.

Another of Sue’s interests is growing peony flowers, which explains the large bunches that appear in the clinic once a year at harvest time.

Vanessa Penlington

Senior Surgical Nurse
Qualified with Cert.VN (Otago)
Vanessa qualified with a Certificate in Veterinary Nursing from Otago Polytech in 2016 having already worked in the pet care industry for several years before that.

Vanessa is great with pets and their families. She’s a very experienced nurse and can adapt from surgical to general nursing duties with ease. She has genuine dedication to her profession and carries out many of the administrative roles within the practice as well as coordinating nursing duties.

The reason Vanessa got into nursing is a love animals first and foremost. Having worked in the pet care industry straight from school she took a short beak to try something new, but instantly felt something was missing. She decided the next step was to get qualified and further her career in the veterinary profession, and she hasn’t looked back. She’s keen to always keep learning and asking questions. To further her knowledge and be able to put it to practical use. Vanessa enjoys interacting with pets and clients as well as being able to help and care for them. She enjoys that every day is different working in a vet clinic, as it keeps things interesting.

Outside work Vanessa likes exploring the country, travelling overseas, socialising and embroidery. She shares her home with her husband Alex, and her two cats. ‘Dixie’, her ‘ginger ninja’, likes to do ‘zoomies’ in the bathtub and play in ‘kitty jail’, which is a an upside down laundry basket. She meows if you try to take it off her. ‘Baloo’, Vanessa’s other cat, is nicknamed Sausage because he runs up to you and flops over to show his belly, stretched out as far as he can for tummy rubs.

Claire Lucas

Surgical Nurse
Qualified with Dip.VN (Weltec)
Claire completed her Certificate of Veterinary Nursing in 2016, then went on to graduate with a Diploma of Veterinary Nursing in 2018. She joined us with previous experience working at several other clinics in Wellington.

Claire is a warm caring person and her cheeky sense of humour makes her popular with everyone. She’s also the clinics memory cache for pets names, as she can recall the name of a patient she saw years ago.

She got into nursing because of genuine concern for animal welfare and a love of caring for them.

The most important aspect of nursing that Claire values is getting to nurse animals that are sick or injured and help return them back to good health. She also enjoys the day to day variation that the job brings.

As a nurse Claire aspires to constantly increasing her skills and learning, with an aim to provide the best possible care for her patients and one day move into position as team leader so she can help mentor junior nurses.

Claire is a keen motorcyclist and spends weekends with partner Andre riding their Harleys. She also shares her home with a fluffy dog called ‘Wicket’, who has a big personality despite his small size, and ‘Anabelle’ ‘our grumpy cat’.

Emma Moran

Surgical Nurse
Qualified with Cert.VN (Otago)
Emma graduated with a Certificate in Veterinary Nursing in 2018 from Otago Polytech and gained experience at another clinic before joining our team in 2020.

Emma is often the first person clients meet when visiting the clinic in the morning. She’s great with people, friendly and super-efficient, and always has something funny to say.  

She entered the nursing field having grown up with pets. Emma has always loved animals and wanted to work with them every day, helping pets and their owners is a great passion of hers.

Emma really enjoys being able to help wherever she can, whether it’s for a new puppy or kittens first vaccination, or an elderly dog or cat needing extra special care and love as they age, coming to work every day and being able to hang out with animals is great.

Professionally Emma aspires to be “the best nurse I can possibly be and provide the highest level of care to all patients and clients”.

Outside work, Emma shares her home with her daughter Abbie, and a 9 year old Rottweiler named Mischief. Mischief’s name suits her very well, she acts like a puppy wrapped in a large Rottweiler suit.

In her spare time, when not wrangling mischievous Rottweilers and an adventurous pre-schooler, Emma likes to keep active and fit by going to the gym and playing social netball in her spare time.


Practice Mischief Maker
Qualified with Bachelor of Important Doggy Business
Originally from the SPCA, Noah ‘grew up’ in the Clinic due to that being where dad spends most of the week.

Noah (aka Squizzies) takes an oversight role in running of the Practice and likes to check that everything is being done correctly.

Being young and enthusiastic, Noah enjoys runs on the beach and hassling ‘his’ cats at home. When he gets older Noah aspires to having lots of pet and human company, sleeping in his own double bed, and stealing lots of treats off the shelves at work… status quo in other words.


Personal service is really important to us and this is an area where we shine due to our relatively small size and our friendly team.


We run the practice as we have from the start, making our own decisions based on whats best for our patients and their family.


We are Vets. We enjoy being Vets and this is our focus. We’re not a petshop with a vet in it. We don’t upsell treats, beds or grooming when you visit.


Each of our vets has over 20 years of professional expertise. Our nursing staff all hold National Certificates and Diplomas.


Our Animal Hospital and Vet Clinic is fully equipped and staffed to provide a complete medical and surgical service.


We’re centrally located and easy to get to. We also have ample free parking to make your experience as easy as possible.