|History of Levin and Horowhenua Veterinary Centre
The practice, the first in this area, started over 75 years ago in 1939 with Peter McGregor as the first veterinarian. Mr. McGregor, a Scotsman, was employed by the Levin Dairy Company in conjunction with the KuKu and Shannon Dairy Companies.
At this time a number of practices were starting up around New Zealand, working in close association with dairy companies. These were called Veterinary Clubs. Mr. McGregor worked from rooms behind the Levin Dairy Company, an old accommodation block, since demolished.
In 1945 Ray Long took over. He covered an area from Shannon to Paraparaumu in a Ford Prefect car. The practice set up a branch in Otaki. Several vets worked there including Bill Ridley who came from England and worked in Otaki for 17 years before retiring in 1984.
The Levin Dairy Company was taken over by the Wellington Dairy Farmers in 1974 and the veterinary service became administered from that company's offices in Naenae. The practice was known at that time as the Horowhenua West Coast Veterinary Club.
In 1979 the practice of Syd Thomas was purchased. His practice on The Avenue had been established in 1960 catering for both farm and small animals. Premises were purchased in Queen Street from Philip and Co. Solicitors, the current site of the now much expanded practice.
Hugh Bentall joined the practice in 1980 as a new graduate. Russ Beban became Senior Vet in 1983. Helen Beban, also a vet, worked part time in the small animal side of the practice. About this time the clinic was renamed as Horowhenua Veterinary Services, still run as a Veterinary Club with elected farmers serving as Directors and Nick Cooper from Colbert Cooper Ltd as Secretary.
In 1989 Russ and Helen Beban bought the business from the Vet Club. They were joined a few years later by Hugh Bentall as a partner. This period saw a rapid expansion of the practice to five full time vets. Quality improvement became a focus under the umbrella of the Business Development Quality Awards.
Horowhenua Veterinary Services achieved:
Russ Beban sold his partnership in the practice to Helen Beban and Hugh Bentall in 1998 and in 2001 Helen Beban sold her partnership to Hugh Bentall.
In 2001 Hugh bought a neighbouring practice employing 3 vets and amalgamated both businesses to form Levin and Horowhenua Veterinary Centre. Two years later Hugh also bought Otaki Animal Health Ltd, which operates as a branch practice.
The building has been expanded several times. When the practice amalgamation occurred in 2001 the neighbouring building was moved alongside the existing building.
The practice still has a strong association with the farming community and the Veterinary Club Executive still engages with Hugh as the practice owner. Doug Easton is the long serving Chairman of the Club executive.
The business now employs ten vets in Levin and two vets in Otaki, four qualified Veterinary Nurses and around seven receptionists and administrators. It is still the only practice in the Horowhenua and Kapiti area to be BESTPRACTICE accredited.
Over 2009 and 2010 a new hospital was designed and built from the ground up. It was created in close collaboration with all of the staff. The result is a smooth running, pleasant and efficient facility. We moved into the new building on the 19th of July in 2010 and we held an Open Day to the community on the 27th of November that year. We are making constant improvements to the hospital and its facilities. Many visitors find it very impressive.