News & Press: NZVA news

Meet our new president

Wednesday, 30 August 2017  
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VetScript Editor's pick: September 2017

Peter Blaikie wanted to be a farmer, but one thing led to another and now the veterinary industry veteran is the president of the NZVA.

After growing up on a Manawatū sheep, beef and poultry farm, NZVA President Peter Blaikie graduated with a BVSc from Massey University in 1999.

As a new graduate, he worked in mixed practice for three years at the Hunterville Vet Club. During that time he was a Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist (2000) and completed a postgraduate diploma in finance at Massey University (2001).

This was followed by a seven-year OE. Like so many, it was only meant to be six months, but opportunities came along and months turned into years. First came six months in mixed practice in rural United Kingdom, and then 18 months at a small animal clinic in London. Unsure what to do next, Peter spotted a two-month locum position as a technical advisor for Schering-Plough.

Two months morphed into five years, and Peter returned to New Zealand in 2009, eventually moving into a brand manager role. He continued to work for what became Intervet Schering-Plough until 2010, when he co-founded veterinary pharmaceutical company RXVET.

“I’ve always been interested in the business side of the veterinary profession. I did a diploma in finance as I felt I would like more business training.”

Having a broad range of experience will be a benefit in his term as president, he says. “I’m hopeful that my career experiences will allow me to see the industry from a variety of perspectives. I think it’s important to be able to relate to all aspects of practice. The challenges and stresses in an equine practice are different than in a dairy or sheep and beef practice, for instance, and what motivates people to go into those areas is quite different too.”

Peter is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. During his last two years as NZVA vice president he also maintained an NZVA board liaison role for Institute of Veterinary Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences and was involved with the marketing, communications and IT governance of the NZVA.

Improving communication with members and raising the value of the profession with the public are key areas of focus for Peter as he steps into his role as president.

“I believe I bring a youthful, collaborative and forward-looking approach, and I’d like to use that to increase engagement with members. We’re getting better, but there are still veterinarians who don’t know what the NZVA does. My goal is to improve their awareness of the NZVA, what it does and why they should come to us. I’d also like to work on increasing the number of volunteers. We currently have 2,200 members, but only about 100 volunteers. I’d like to show members that volunteering isn’t onerous. Thanks to lots of hard work by the boards and NZVA staff that have come before us, the NZVA is in a good place; the head office is now well equipped and offers a lot of support for the RIBs and SIBs.”

This year Peter and his wife Sonia Speedy and their daughters Grace (4) and Lucinda (2) left Porirua for an olive orchard outside Te Horo. The weather is so much better there than in Wellington, he says, and it’s close to both Palmerston North and Wellington. A third child was due as VetScript went to print.