Taranaki is indeed a long way from Tipperary, the hometown of New Plymouth Physio's Anna Kinane, but the pull of the maunga and the countryside, not too dissimilar from the West of Ireland, was a real draw for her.
"I'm not a city person," says Anna, "but I love hiking and I'm into a lot of sports, so the lifestyle here really suits me."
Anna will be rolling up her sleeves offering subsidised physio appointments for Tui Ora Family Health enrolled clients from the 27th September.
The physio sessions are the first collaboration between Tui Ora and New Plymouth Physio and aim to make physio accessible for whānau who would previously have found it unaffordable.
Appointments for Community Service Card holders will be subsidised entirely and not charged whereas for those without a card they will be $5 per session.
Anna will run two weekly clinics from Tui Ora Family Health on Monday afternoons (12.30 – 5.00pm and Friday mornings (8.30 – 1.00pm) which can be booked by phoning 06 757 8800 or online at https://www.npphysio.co.nz/(external link)
When it comes to her physio practice Anna doesn't just want to treat an injury – although she does that too of course – but she also looks at injury prevention and what can be done to prevent a specific injury reoccurring:
"I am very pro self-management in my approach to my work. You might visit a physio for 30 minutes a week but what are you doing the rest of the time to make things better?
"Our sedentary lifestyles don't help," explains Anna.
"We were not built to spend as much time sitting down as we do, in offices, behind desks, long car journeys, looking at our phones, watching tv.
"We need to move more, and we need to move regularly – every half hour we need to stand up and do something. Stand on one leg to improve balance, do some pelvic floor exercises while you are waiting for the kettle to boil. It doesn't have to be onerous if you build it in to your everyday life."
For the 26-year-old Anna this is her second time living in Aotearoa.
"I went home mid-pandemic to see my grandparents who live a short drive from home. Ireland was in a very different place from New Zealand in terms of the pandemic. It was pretty hard."
While back in Ireland Anna was working in a public hospital and described the impact Covid had on the health system where ICU wards were full of Covid patients and many people, particularly the elderly were delaying health treatment not knowing if it was safer to stay at home.
"It was a really difficult time," says Anna.
"Patients with other health conditions were being transferred to other facilities as entire wards were set aside to treat Covid patients.
"We also found a lot more people were presenting with severe illness as they had delayed seeking help either because they were too scared to leave their homes or because they thought they would catch Covid in hospital."
Many of Anna's friends have now had Covid and she described the long tail of the virus which can often take several months to recover from:
"I know a lot of people who are young and healthy who have still been suffering shortness of breath and other symptoms there or four months after they were infected.
"Respiratory physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery for Covid patients who tend to suffer from fatigue.
"Even progressing from lying to sitting up can be difficult so we help teach breathing control to help manage the recovery."
The focus for Anna's mahi at Tui Ora will be ACC related injuries and she's looking forward to getting started.
"I look at my job in a holistic way.
"How we sit, how we move, how we stretch or exercise now will play out in whether we can get down on the floor to play with our grand kids, if we can carry our own shopping bags in from the car, whether we can put the walking frame away and cope with just a walking stick.
"For younger people it might be getting back to running or returning to netball or scoring a try in a game of touch."
Sport is a particular passion for Anna both taking part and in her physiotherapy practice. She currently works with the Spotswood Rugby team helping them recover from games and train safely.
"Quality of life is what it's about – can you do what you want to do, are you pain free?
"We often put up with aches and pains and think they are just normal but they don't have to be and if they are affecting how you live and what you can do then you should seek help."
Tui Ora Clinical Director Bernard Leuthart says it's a real coup to have Anna and the New Plymouth Physiotherapy initiative on offer at Tui Ora Family Health.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for whanau."
"Our work is so much about finding chances in health care to even up the playing field a bit and create equity of access. Having Anna's skill set available to our patients will make a tangible difference to access to a valuable treatment modality that is very often beyond folks' ability to pay."
Welcome to the Tui Ora whānau Anna – we are lucky to have you!