About Us

From Small Beginnings

Started by Michael Lyon in 1985 in the local GP’s rooms, the practice has grown from a small one-man band to now be a state of the art Veterinary Hospital. At the time he started Michael caused somewhat of a stir within veterinary circles - the first in New Zealand to advertise in the Yellow Pages and one of the first to be committed to providing a seven day service for his clients. He wanted to offer his clients a service when they needed it.

Growing the Practice

With expansion the practice grew to three branches - Central Wellington, Central Hutt and Central Coast. In the 1990’s Michael made the decision to concentrate solely on the Wellington site and the Hutt and Coast branches were sold. He embarked on a development programme that included the purchase of adjoining properties and building of a modern veterinary hospital attached to the original clinic. Designed by award winning architect Gerald Melling, the hospital addition is an impressive, light-filled area - each ward and working area benefiting from large tinted skylights.



Michael’s sister Robyn Watling, who was involved in the practice from day one, was Practice Manager for nearly 20 years, and purchased half the shares in the business shortly after the redevelopment was completed. Having a Practice Manager was somewhat unusual in those days but it allowed Michael to focus on his clients and their pets rather than administration.

In 2003, Michael and Robyn invited Kerry Burke to join them as a Director and she returned from Australia to be the third owner. Kerry first worked at the practice in 1992. She has spent many years working in specialist practices in NZ and overseas and has impressive qualifications in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery.

In 2007 Nick Pallin joined Michael, Robyn and Kerry as the fourth partner in the business. Nick first came to the practice as a veterinary student whilst at Massey University and has gained valuable small animal experience in Hong Kong. Nick’s surgical skills added to the already extremely well rounded veterinary team at Central.

In 2013 Aaron Ruck (coincidentally Nick’s cousin) decided to return to Wellington after practising overseas.  With his return Michael and Robyn felt they could step aside as practice owners, take life a little easier and sold their shares to Aaron, Nick and Kerry.  Although now not practice owners, both Michael and Robyn still remain committed to the practice, both working part-time. Michael works alternate weeks and Robyn assists new Practice Manager, Sofia Lowndes with administration.   The addition of Aaron has ensured that the practice can continue to meet an ever increasing demand for surgical and medical treatments. 

The Best Little Team in Town

No veterinary team is complete without its nurses and ancillary staff and Central Vet Hospital prides itself on having the best little team in town. There is a great family atmosphere at Central with some staff serving between 10 – 15 years.  The team is ably lead by Practice Manager Sofia Lowndes (a 15 year veteran at the practice). All our veterinary nurses staff are well qualified and enjoy their work, and it shows.  The nurses are assisted by a team of clinical assistants (usually senior students who go onto study veterinary medicine or nursing).  The team at Central share Michael’s original commitment to providing the highest level of loving care to Wellington’s pet owners - something which they have been doing successfully for 32 years.