Niue desperate for Kiwi vet service to resume

May 12, 2021

Niue desperate for Kiwi vet service to resume

Vets from the Rock Vets Niue have been unable to travel to treat animals. Photo: Nikki Smith

Niue is desperate for a travel bubble to open with New Zealand so in-person vet care can resume on the island.

The small South Pacific nation relies on a New Zealand organisation called The Rock Vets Niue to provide yearly vet clinics, but staff have not been able to travel to Niue due to Covid-19.

The Rock Vets Niue is run by Pakuranga Vet Clinic and Cattery, which takes a team of veterinarians and nurses up to Niue each year to provide care to hundreds of animals.

Sasha Nowell, one of the trustees of The Rock Vets Niue, says staff are doing their best remotely and still providing ongoing care like advice and sending medication.

“There has been a lot of overpopulation issues, more than what there was before which has been really tragic,” she says.

With no trained veterinarians permanently on the Island, surgeries have not taken place in around 18 months.

Due to this, unwell and injured animals have not been able to be put down with Euthanasia.

“Euthanasia is a massive problem because there is no way to put animals to sleep humanely other than to shoot them and not everyone over there has a gun or the ability to do that so that makes things really tough,” says Mrs Nowell.

Catherine Papani, business and education manager at Niue Chambers of Commerce, says over-population may also have an adverse effect on Niue’s tourism.

Desexing of animals to help with this will not be able to take place until New Zealand opens a travel bubble with Niue.

“The Rock Vets are definitely a needed service and had done a lot of great work the last time they were up here,” says Ms Papani.

Ms Papani says the reinstatement of yearly visits is vital to the Island and its tourism.

“We have a really good team of vets and nurses that are still keen to go back,” says Ms Nowell.

The Rock Vets Niue and Ms Papani say they are both are hopeful that one day a permanent vet clinic will be able to be built.

Suggestions have been placed but are awaiting support from the Niuean Government.

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