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…

MATT MERRICK

Senior Physiotherapist

Over the past decade plus Matt has a gained a huge amount of experience working in the musculoskeletal field both here in NZ and abroad in the UK. During this time Matt has concentrated on sports medicine and has had gigs with the Scottish Rugby Union along with caring for numerous professional athletes across a range of sports. Matt now employs the same care and dedication to all of our “weekend warriors” as he has done with the pros. An indication of Matt’s skill is that he also spends 2 days a week mentoring and teaching the AUT Physio students. In his spare time he loves donning the lycra to compete in all things swim, bike and run related.

PAUL CLOSE

Senior Physiotherapist

For the past 11 years Paul has been touring the world with international cricket teams. Initially with Bangladesh, then India and for the past 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!

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 has recently returned to NZ after practising in the UK for the last 12 years. 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.

Shane Warner

Senior Physiotherapist and golf lover

Since graduating a decade ago, Shane has been travelling the world working in the musculoskeletal field gaining a wealth of experience in different clinical settings. More recently, he has worked in the vocational rehabilitation setting in Western Australia – rehabbing those expat kiwis earning the big bucks in the mines. He has developed a strong skill set around ergonomic workstation assessments and early intervention programs for desk jockeys.

When he is not fixing office workers aches and pains you will likely find him on the golf course. He has worked with a number of club representative golfers during his travels and enjoys the challenge of improving golfers physical capabilities. 

Just don’t try and book a Friday morning appointment with him because he is likely to be wandering the links of Muriwai golf club.- lucky for some!

DR PAUL WHARAM

Sports Physician

Along with having an alphabet of letters after his name and also being a really nice bloke — Paul is a specialist sports physician and a fellow of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians. Paul has worked as the medical team doctor to multiple national and international sports teams, so you know you’re only in the best hands. Paul is our very own in-house specialist and can arrange MRI scans and provide options of cortisone and blood injections for those nasty and difficult to manage injuries. As Paul is still crazy enough to compete in marathons and endurance cycling events himself, he understands the importance of getting you back into your activity.

ANNA WILLIAMS

Nutritionist

With over ten years in the health and wellness industry as well as a representative netball career, it’s fair to say Anna Williams has developed a strong passion for all things fitness, food and health related. But it was during her time in the UK when her true calling came to light. With responsibility for managing highly successful family weight loss programmes, Anna honed world-class nutrition expertise which has seen her become a well sought-after consultant and presenter. When she’s not actively changing people’s lives by crafting eating plans that really see results she can be seen training and chatting with members of the boutique gym she owns with her partner.

MILLY DU TOIT

Practice Manager

Milly is our welcoming committee at the front desk and our overall admin guru. She is originally from South Africa but has lived in New Zealand so long she is practically a ‘real’ kiwi! Along with keeping us in check, she loves to travel and is passionate about health and fitness. So give her a shout if you have any questions and she’ll be sure to help you.

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.