MEET THE TEAM

DARREN NORTH

Director of Urban Athlete

Darren has focused over the last decade or so in musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy and enjoys the in–depth problem solving aspect of restoring someone back to their full function. He is still a keen sportsman himself competing internationally in the past and enjoys surfing, snowboarding and playing footy. Also being from west Auckland he can’t escape his love of fast cars and does some rallying/racing. Interesting fact: he once had a racehorse named after him — long story…

PAUL CLOSE

Senior Physiotherapist

For more than a decade Paul toured the world with international cricket teams. Initially with Bangladesh, then India and for 4 years with the mighty BLACKCAPS. His time with the BLACKCAPS culminating with the successful 2015 Cricket World Cup campaign. During his time away Paul also completed his Masters program in Sports & Exercise Medicine through Otago University. This study resulted in producing a study into shoulder injuries in elite level cricketers. Paul’s Urban Athlete patients will now be able to benefit from his exposure to the best practice sports medicine techniques and practices from around the world. Now with weekends available to him hopefully Paul can use that mountain bike a bit more!

Tomu Hiratsuka

Senior Physiotherapist

Tomu is originally from Japan and as well as working clinically he loves all things rugby and studying. He graduated from Otago University in 2009, completed further postgraduate study in 2019 through AUT and is now moving onto his Masters degree to conduct research into Achilles tendon ruptures. Aside from study, his biggest passion is sports, especially rugby which he had played for over 20 years, including a stint of a professional rugby in Japan. He has been involved with Takapuna rugby club premier side as a physiotherapist for over five years and in his spare time  (if he has any) plays touch rugby making his debut in 2017 with the NZ Masters Touch Team.

Paul White

Senior Physiotherapist - BHSc, Post Grad Certificate in Manual Therapy

Special interests: Running injuries, sporting injuries, return to sport programs, low back pain & chronic pain.

Paul uses a wide range of treatment options to optimise his patients' return from injury. Paul believes in the understanding of each individual's unique circumstances is the key to facilitate this return. Paul's real passion is the assessment and treatment of everything running related. Paul was lucky to learn from some of the world leading running analysts in the UK. Through this experience he has developed a way to teach people to run that is targeted at the person's individual weaknesses. Outside of the Physio treatment room, Paul divides his time between spending quality time with his little baby and trying his hand at the art of mastering watercolour painting. Paul is also heading up our new specialist running assessment program.

Ben Garratt

Physiotherapist

Ben has recently returned home after working abroad for the last five years in Australia and the UK. He graduated from University of Otago in 2015 and went straight across the ditch, where he spent 2 years in Australia working privately. He’s been the lead physio for a men’s premier rugby league team in Australia and travelled to Paris from London to be the lead physio for an Australian rugby team at the Paris World Games. For the last 3 years he’s been in London working in the public system and travelling around Europe every other weekend. Now back in New Zealand, he is keen to travel his own backyard and get to as many sporting events he can.

MICHAEL MACDONALD

Massage Therapist

‘Big Mike’ Michael MacDonald is a qualified massage therapist with a Diploma in Health Science from the NZ College of Massage. Mike has extensive experience working on ‘urban athletes’ - from elite desk jockeys (that’s you city workers) right through to professional athletes. We don’t mean to name drop, but Big Mike knows his stuff and is often working with The Blues, the Warriors, Jets, Broncos, Titans, Manu Samoa, Vixens the list goes on and on. There’s also a lovely soft side to Big Mike as he specialises in stress related neck and shoulder pain for all you Urban Athletes out there battling the grind of work and daily life.