Dr Peter McLean BVSc (Owner)

Peter has been a veterinarian for more than 45 years; the majority of this time he has been working with small companion animals. Peter graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science. Peter opened Avonhead Vets in November 2008. Peter has a son, daughter and 2 grandchildren. Peter loves being in the outdoors and in his spare time, enjoys playing squash and touch rugby.

Dr Ulrike Pantel DVM, BVSc

Ulrike graduated in Hanover, Germany, in 1990. She went on to work in Ireland and the UK before making New Zealand her home in 1998. Ulrike worked in veterinary clinics in Auckland and Nelson, before settling in the beautiful garden city; Christchurch. She has been a part of our team since 2008. You may recognise her from our sister clinic in Ilam before it closed due to earthquake damage.

Dr Jameson Ketchmark DVM

Jameson grew up in a rural community north of Chicago. He received a BA in Microbiology Immunology and Preventative Medicine from Iowa State University and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois. He worked in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona before moving to New Zealand in 2019 with his wife and two kids. He worked as a vet in Hawke’s Bay for a few years before settling in Christchurch in 2022. Jameson is especially passionate about surgery, imaging and building relationships with pet owners. In his spare time, he likes to ski, explore the country with his family, and dabbles in woodwork on occasion. He also likes to cook for the family – ask him about his spaghetti Bolognese and Chicago-style deep dish pizza!


Dr Grace Matthews BVSc

Grace graduated from Massey University with her Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 2022. After visiting the clinic as a student, she has now joined the team full time. Grace is a Canterbury local having grown up in Rangiora. She and her husband are excited to have settled back in Christchurch. She has always wanted to be a vet and finds it a great way to incorporate her love of animals into an interesting and rewarding career. When not at work she enjoys adventuring around the South Island, working on her painting skills, and will regularly steal friends’ animals to pet-sit.

Veterinary nurses

Amy (Head Nurse)

Prior to working with animals, Amy graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2006, with a Bachelor of Arts. Following this, she then studied at Ara Institute of Canterbury, graduating in 2008 with a Certificate in Vet Nursing. Amy joined the Avonhead Vets team in 2009. Outside of work, Amy and her husband are kept busy by house renovations, landscaping and being bossed about by their dog Frankie, cat Nessie, three pet chickens and six pet sheep.


Amy studied Veterinary Nursing at CPIT in 2000, then relocated to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a veterinary nurse for 15 years. Missing home and family, Amy and her husband and daughter made the big decision to move back to Christchurch, bringing their cat Moose, dog Ngia, and even Amy’s horse Essy along for the adventure. Amy’s horse numbers have now increased to five since being back, and she enjoys riding and competing with her horses and spending time with her family when she’s not at work.


Cassandra graduated from UCOL Palmerston North with a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing in 2012. She worked in Nelson for three years before moving to Christchurch, after working in temporary roles in a few veterinary clinics over the last few years. Cassandra joined our team in April 2017 on a maternity cover which turned into a full-time position. Before her daughter was born, Cassandra also worked part-time at the After Hours Veterinary Centre, where she enjoyed her love of emergency and critical care nursing. In her down time, Cassandra enjoys cross stitching, spending time with her friends and family including her Cairn Terrier Abigail and SPCA rescue cat, Annie. Cassandra also manages our social media pages.


Gemma started working for us part time in July 2018. She completed her Certificate in Veterinary Nursing in 2009. After she had her son, she went on to complete her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing in 2015. She has loved all animals big and small since she was young and enjoys working with hospitalised patients and senior pets. She enjoys spending time with her son, her beautiful cocker spaniel Frankie, and her family and friends. In 2022, Gemma started studying for a Bachelor of Vet Nursing.


Ashley has always had a special affinity with animals, and while living in London she was inspired to enter the veterinary industry by an episode of The Supervet. When she arrived back in New Zealand in 2015, she undertook her study through Otago Polytechnic via distance learning and graduated with her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing in 2019. Ashley is proud to be able to care and an advocate for those that have no voice, and in particular she has a special interest in our feline and rabbit friends. She is a dedicated ‘cat mum’ to Stella and Harley, and ‘bunny mum’ to Trix. Her out-of-work passions include overseas travel (which she is longing to get back to), reading and rock music.


Working as a pet store attendant in Bondi Junction, Sydney, affirmed Tonia’s passion for animals and a desire to attain a qualification in the animal care industry. She graduated, along with fellow students, Amy (head nurse) and Angus (son of Pete, the boss) from CPIT in 2008 with a Certificate in Veterinary Nursing Level 5. Tonia worked in the retail store at Orana Wildlife Park while studying and was fortunate enough to be involved in on-site hands-on work experience with the exotic animals.

Tonia has worked in a variety of animal care establishments and vet clinics, including working at and managing a dog boarding facility, a cattery attendant, a doggy daycare attendant, vet nursing in clinics in Melbourne, Brisbane, and throughout England before returning to Christchurch. Since her return, Tonia was head nurse at surgical specialist Vetspecs before taking leave to have her first child. Tonia then began working casually at Wairakei Road Veterinary Clinic before taking on a 12-month maternity leave cover position before having her second child. Tonia began working here at the Avonhead Veterinary Clinic in March 2022 to cover the remainder of Cassandra’s Maternity leave and is now a permanent part-time member of the team.

Tonia also has a dog walking and Pet/House sitting business From Pant & Purr to Feather & Furr that, along with her two children, occupies her time outside of work.


After a successful marketing career working in the arts, education and tourism, Averlea pursued her passion for animal care and completed a National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing. If you can’t find Averlea at the clinic she’s most likely chasing after her son and husband, or running her pet sitting and dog walking business, VetSit – Vet Nurse Pet Sitting. They share their home with two senior cats, “the Oscars”, and four raucous chickens! Averlea’s additional qualifications include a BA and BCom (Hons).


Olivia has always had a deep love and respect for all animals. Upon finishing school in 2007, she went on to study at CPIT to become a veterinary nurse. She wanted to help and work with animals on a daily basis. During her second year of study, she began working part-time at Avonhead Vets and was thrilled to be given a full-time role when she completed her studies in 2009. Olivia loves all aspects of the job and working with all types of animals, but cats and dogs are her favourites. Since returning from maternity leave, Olivia is found working every Saturday at the clinic and has also taken on a new role, teaching Animal Care students at the National Trade Academy. Along with two small children at home, Olivia is kept busy by her characteristic ginger cat Murphy.

Support staff


Marilyn has worked for Dr Peter at Avonhead Veterinary Clinic for many years. Marilyn’s current roll is administration and accounts. Although Marilyn will still help the girls out at reception and with hospital patients. Marilyn has a chocolate Labrador called Jed. Jed is one of our amazing blood donor dogs, we call upon when needing to perform lifesaving blood transfusions. Marilyn enjoys her job as she gets to meet many clients and their beloved pets. Marilyn is very talented and makes beautiful merino knitted jerseys for our staff members’ babies! Marilyn is an important part of our team, we are very lucky to have her on board for all these years (and many more to come).