Sunday, June 3, 2012


It is SPAW's annual appeal week from Monday 13th August to Sunday 19th August 2012.  We are looking for cool people like you to help us roll out a nationwide campaign that will drive awareness to our cause and we hope to raise $10,000 in one week!

How can you help?
  • Volunteer as a street collector at one of our street appeal locations
  • Host an event in your home, community or work place to raise money for SPAW - every penny counts and this is a great way to inspire your friends, family and colleagues to support our cause
  • Donate items for us to auction and raffle off during that week
  • Tell your friends about us and ask them to make a donation to our cause
  • Buy a SPAW t-shirt on sale soon
To help in your local town or city email Louise our Fundraising Manager at - she would love to hear from you.

This little puppy was rescued during a recent SPAW clinic on Vava'u in the northern Tonga Group.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Annual Charity Fundraising Dinner + Volunteer Awards

Hey supporters

SPAW is hosting another amazing event this year on 6th October 2012 at the Sudima Hotel at the Auckland Airport (so there is no stopping you from flying in for the night).  The dinner and awards night is sure to be one to remember.

Check out details on our website... and if you have volunteered for SPAW in the past 2 years make sure you enter our awards ... you are in for a chance to take away an award (and bragging rights) for 5 volunteer awards categories.

Check out our guest speaker, Dr. Sophia Yin - renowned animal behaviour expert all the way from the USA, and our amazing entertainment line up with Purrzazz.  We will also be having an auction ... so be sure to get in to make use of the early bird offer.

We cant wait to see you all there. Book your tickets HERE + NOW!

The SPAW Team

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kiwi Vet Nurse's pending trip to Tonga!

Serena Dickenson is a vet nurse at Unitec Veterinary Hospital in Auckland.  Serena and the Unitec Veterinary Hospital team helped raise over $2,000 for SPAW as part of our summer competition which was designed to raise awareness for our cause and the plight of island animals while raising much needed funds to help us deliver free aid to island nations.  The competition was open to NZ vet clinics with two prize packages to give away to the vet clinic or vet nurse individual who raised the most money for SPAW. We are pleased to say both winners were well deserving of the prize packages which includes return flights to Tonga, accommodation at the Kingdom Koffee plantation and evening meals for two weeks on Tonga as part of our June volunteer team.

Serena wrote to us today telling us how much she is looking forward to her experience. We will keep you updated when Serena and the team is on the island with regular updates of their experiences. Serena arrives on Tonga with the rest of our volunteer team on 9th June 2012. Good luck guys – we know you will have an amazing time!

“I am really looking forward to helping both the animals and people of Tonga who are more challenged than we are here in New Zealand in terms of animal care. It will also be a time to both learn and experience more about the people’s and culture of Tonga. This wonderful opportunity will provide me with a first-hand opportunity to see just how much SPAW does in the islands to help animals and communities develop sustainable animal aid programmes and how much they have positively influenced animal welfare in Tonga. It also means that I will be able to combine both my career aspirations as a vet nurse and my desire to find out more about my Tongan heritage by meeting some of my Tongan family - my Tongan heritage has been a strong influence in my life growing up.”  Serena Dickenson, Unitec Veterinary Hospital, Auckland, 15th May 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Congratulations to our two winners of the "Win a Trip to Tonga" competition that we have been running nationwide over the past 3 months.

Emily Fraser from Dunedin South Veterinary Clinic and the team at Unitec Veterinary Hospital in Auckland have won our two prize packages. Thank you to everyone who helped SPAW raise over $5,500 for our cause through this competition. Thank you also to our kind donor (anon) for gifting the flights to us to run this wonderful competition. Vet Clinics all over NZ got behind it and we will be running another competition next year.

We will be bringing you updates on the teams successes from the June Tonga Clinic.

Thank you to all of the vet clinics who entered and contributed to this wonderful result for SPAW and island animals. 

1. Orewa Beach Vet Clinic 2. Vet Care Grey Lyn 3. Templeton Vet Clinic 4. Kaitaia Vets 5. Wellsford Vets 6. Manukau After Hours Vet Clinic 7. Wadestown Vet Clinic 8. Care Vets Johnsonville 9. Dunedin South Vet Clinic 10. Kumeu Vets 11. Pet Doctors, Howick 12. Shirley Vet Centre 13. Pt Chevalier Vet Care 14. Papatoetoe East Vet Centre, 15. Northland Veterinary Clinic, 16. Takapuna Carevets, 17. Parkhill Vet Hospital 18. Ms. Sasha Johnson Vet Nurse, Invercargill 19. Mr Peter Jones Vet Nurse, Invercargill, 20. Somerville Vet Clinic, Howick, 21. Unitec Veterinary Hospital 22. Anexa te Kauwhata 23. Care Vets Te Atatu.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


We have been donated two return airfares and accommodation for two lucky NZ vet nurses (sorry non kiwis - next time).  We thought we would get as many vet nurses and clinics in NZ engaged so are running an easy competition which will help SPAW and island animals at the same time, while offering a life-changing experience for two kiwi vet nurses. We do want to support the industry, and this is one way of doing that.

SO ... get behind S.P.A.W. cause we are 100% kiwi ...


Monday, December 5, 2011

Awesome, Brilliant ... Volunteering on Tonga ..

Thanks to Pfizer Animal Health, kiwi Vet Nurse, Jo Pilcher was fortunate to win a trip to volunteer with SPAW.  Jo joined Dr. Andy David and other volunteers for one and a half weeks, working alongside of him directly and enjoying the journey as part of our wider volunteer team.  Jo wrote to us about her time and we share some of her comments with you ....

"How best to describe my time volunteering for SPAW in the Kingdom of Tonga? Brilliant? Awesome? Words can only portray so much. You have to be there to get a true appreciation of how wonderful Tonga is: the place, the culture, the people, of course working with the animals, and seeing how much good SPAW is achieving. Volunteering for SPAW provided a perfect combination of hard work, adventure, and relaxation. For me it was a truely gratifying experience and I can not speak highly enough about my time spent there." Jo Pilcher, New Zealand

SPAW really encourages any vet or veterinary clinic to sponsor one of their vet nurses to attend a SPAW clinic. The professional and personal development a vet nurse will experience while volunteering for SPAW can be life-changing.

So, why not consider sending a vet nurse to Tonga in 2012.  It will be well worth it - in fact - why not come too?

The team at SPAW

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A volunteers perspective - Dr. Alex Melrose (NZ)

4am. Up and go. Excitement tinged with apprehension provides a great counter to the call of sleep. Avoid the mirror, that’s why they call it a Red-eye flight.

It’s a quick flight, less than 3 hours, the temperature’s already hitting 25 when we hit the Tongan tarmac. Customs seem happy with our bulging suitcases. With 2 pairs of shorts and 3 t-shirts the remainder of the 25kg made up of copious donated supplies from Pfizer, Shoof and KahuVets. A declaration we are working with their ministry keeps them totally happy and we’re waved through to an enthusiastic, welcoming and overheating Karen.

Buy some water.

Into the rented Terrano and off we head, Dr Cathy and nurses Jo and Leanne complete the team. Lush fields, Taro and palms roll by. Roadside stalls sell fruit, veggies and fish every few hundred metres.
First stop, Kingdom Coffee, Jo and Vinnie Kupu. These guys are legends, a welcome local guiding light, nestled in the midst of their ultra-relaxing and amazing coffee plantation retreat.
Having someone on the ground that cares so deeply for animals and specifically to manage our SPAW clinics… Invaluable. 

The barbeques, the coffee, the smiles, the local contacts, the reception work and meet and greet at the clinic. Really oils the vet team machine.

Onto our digs. The green Lodge. Great location half way between where we will be working, and Nukualofa township. The place is massive, totally secure with security fencing and really clean and tidy. Way flasher than expected, 3 houses, 9 bedrooms, not fully used by this smaller team but perfect for future visits of vet and nurse teams. It was to be accompanied by its own special nightly concert of roosters, wildlife, dogs and church choirs. Decibels.

We unloaded some medicines, and 2 Minute noodles, set our snorkelling gear aside and headed back down the road towards the clinic.

We’d hired the empty doctor’s surgery at Glennis Marfys, again, a perfect setup, front-side parking, waiting room, reception, surgery room with observation window, and a consult room. 

The couple of hundred kg’s of supplies start to find their place on the shelves, and storerooms. We’re well stocked with all the basics thanks to our awesome sponsors. 

We take a group vote and speed off to the closest beach to cool down , a cliff-top café, coral swimming holes and mini blowholes await. Fan-bloody-tastic.

Back to Kingdom coffee for barbequed whole parrotfish, what a day! A couple of large bats zoom past. Day2. A quick breakfast and we speed over the potholes to kick off the clinic. Hand painted signs and radio ads have done their part and people start rocking up from 8am. 

Pico, a little puppy, short on height, but fully believing itself to be the alpha male, he bossed the other arriving patients around to his little heart’s content. Perhaps he thought we said he was to be tutored rather than neutered. We’ll help his owners later on with getting him to Australia upon their return.
A steady stream of locals and ex-pat kiwis and aussi’s swing on by. Some gut infections to be treated, fevers to be alleviated, pregnant cats to spey and lots of nervous dogs ready for their ops. We have an audience. Interested and super grateful. Man it’s hot. 

The ministry of Ag boss drops in to welcome us and wish us well and their small animal vet tech Nau joins the team. He’s one hell of a nice guy, skilled and a massive assist with communicating with local Tongans.
Cathy was taking the lead expertly, this being her second trip she knew all the routines that work best in this environment. When Dr Andy arrived the next day sharp as a tack it was my turn to pass down the routines. 

House call to a local home with 15 dogs were followed by visits to the Prison and School farms to check conditions for their very valuable pigs and chickens.

Throughout the week the antibiotics flowed, the scalpels whirred (in controlled fashion of course) , the suture packets emptied, and groggy pets were safely shipped back home. Somehow we managed to fit in swims, snorkels, a dive or two, great dinners and a huge supporters party at Jo and Vinnie’s Koffee Plantation and desex 180 dogs and see countless others for various ailments. Phew!

We left Andy and Jo to carry on the great work and sped to meet our flight literally from the beach to the airport. What an adventure. 

A unique experience. The hospitality on the island. The grateful owners. The daily challenges. The heat. The teamwork. The rescued pups. The community education. The glowing health of  animals treated on previous trips. Feels great.  

Alex .... (keen to get back to Tonga)

To see more photos from our November clinic, join us on Facebook just enter South Pacific Animal Welfare in the FB search field  ...