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Meet the Team

Surgical Weight Solutions believes wholeheartedly in a team-based philosophy lead by Mr Michael Booth. 


Our vision has always been to create class-leading comprehensive support from the initial consultation through two years post-op. 

We have a team of leading professionals willing to offer the support on your journey.

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Mr Michael Booth

Our Surgeon - MBChB MBA FRACS

Michael Booth is an experienced upper gastrointestinal surgeon who deals with the investigation and management of diseases of the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary tree.


He has had an interest in weight loss surgery since he worked with Richard Stubbs at the Wakefield Gastroenterology Clinic in Wellington. In 2001 he set up the Bariatric Surgical Unit at Waitemata District Health Board and soon after established Surgical Weight Solutions.


Michael has a public surgical appointment as an Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon at the Waitemata District Health Board (North Shore and Waitakere Hospital). In his private practice he consults at the Waitemata Specialist Centre.


He is an experienced open and laparoscopic surgeon and endoscopist. He offers weight loss surgery, surgery for reflux disease, gallstones as well as laparoscopic and open hernia repair. He also performs upper GI endoscopy.

View video interview with Michael.


Dr Chaey Leem 

Our Physician 

Chaey Leem is a NZ-trained medical graduate from the University of Otago. He aspires to become the first bariatric physician in New Zealand - a very new field of medicine which is currently under-recognised.

After graduation, Chaey has worked in a wide range of surgical-based rotations including his time with Michael Booth, which greatly sparked his interest in helping patients with obesity. 

He is SCOPE certified, an internationally recognised certificate in obesity management. 

As a bariatric doctor, Chaey is interested in providing an individualised, patient-centred treatment plan. 
He is looking to support patients throughout their entire journey, from before surgery to many years after surgery too.


Catherine Kissel

Our Psychologist - Psychologist (Regd), MA (Hons) Psychology, Cert Counselling

Catherine is a registered psychologist with a specialist interest in addictive behaviours and mental health. Catherine has most recently worked in Waitemata DHB mental health and addictions services in a clinical leadership role. She has lectured in clinical courses at AUT and the University of Auckland and maintains a position as an external examiner with the university.

Catherine has worked with Surgical Weight Solutions since 2005. She regularly attends conferences, updating her knowledge base and maintains international contacts in the field.

Catherine is available for support and consultation throughout the process of weight loss, from the time of deciding to have surgery through to troubleshooting in the future. This includes presurgical preparation, support post-surgery to achieve your goals and through the transition phase into durable long-term weight loss.

Catherine facilitates the monthly support group and looks forward to meeting with you.

View video interview with Catherine.


Ella Smits

Our Dietitian - Registered Dietitian, PgDip, BSc

Ella is a registered dietitian who currently works in private practice. She began her training at Massey University gaining a BSc in Human Nutrition and Sport and Exercise Science. Ella then moved to Perth to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics at Curtin University of Technology.

Ella initially began her working life as a clinical dietitian for Albany Health Campus in Western Australia, she then moved to Melbourne where she was the sole dietitian working across two private hospitals and multiple aged care facilities. Within these roles Ella gained experience in a vast range of areas including surgical, gastroenterology, diabetes, oncology, critical care and general medical. Ella has recently joined us from Tauranga Hospital, in the Bay of Plenty, where she worked as an outpatient clinical lead dietitian (specialising in oncology and bariatrics). Ella brings her passion for promoting positive behaviour change within the area of bariatrics, using an evidenced based and person-centred approach.

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Lyn Pearless

Nurse Specialist

Lyn is a registered nurse in public and private practice who has worked in a variety of disciplines. Qualified as a Comprehensive Nurse, completed BSc (Nursing), Post Graduate Certificate (Critical Care) and Master Nursing (Hons).

Lyn has been working with Michael Booth since 2003 with the practice having a multidisciplinary focus in line with Centre of Excellence principles

My strengths within the bariatric practice:

  • Patient focus, pre and post operative during weight loss journey

  • Research for a client centred evidence based approach.

  • Papers published with Michael Booth

  • Member ANZMOSS (Australian & New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society).

View video interview with Lyn.


Sue Booth

Office Manager

Sue was born and raised in Napier. A daughter of 2 doctors but chose a path of hospitality.

After running her own businesses for over 30 years, Sue joined us in 2023.

Sue's happy places are in the kitchen and the garden. She loves entertaining and spending time in Central Otago. She has one daughter, Dominique, a veterinary surgeon in the USA.

With all of her experience in hospitality, she is client focused.


Maria McDonald

Practice Manager

Maria has worked as an administrator in the private healthcare sector for over 18 years.

She is married with two children and one grandchild.

Maria has a big focus on keeping fit. She enjoys her bush walks with her dog and doing pilates. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

Maria has a warm, bubbly personality and loves meeting people and helping them through their medical journey.


Erin Judge

Medical Secretary/Theatre co-ordinator

Having always been in a front facing role, Erin is very passionate about people.

She is a social person, who, in her free time, loves being with friends and family, being outdoors, and making the most of what nature has to offer. She enjoys going for walks, swimming, heading out on the boat and water sports, and a good Kiwi BBQ!

She is really enjoying discovering and seeing the difference we at Auckland Surgical Associates make to our patients lives.

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