Phone: (06) 354 8008
Physical address and email

Churchyard Physiotherapy - Palmerston - Meet out team of highly skilled physios

Our Staff


Our team are extremely motivated therapists and are continually updating their skills by attending courses and conferences in order to provide the most upto date treatment techniques for you. Our main focus is on hands on manual therapy and exercise based therapy to reinforce and maintain the gains made. We aim to resolve your symptoms, return you to full function and for you to have the skills to maintain the gains made.

Churchyard-Physiotherapy-0007Fiona O’Connor

Fiona graduated as a Physiotherapist in 1988 from Otago School of Physiotherapy, and completed a Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 1993. Fiona has owned Churchyard Physiotherapy since 1998. She is a High Performance Sport NZ accredited provider and current Black Sticks Women Team Physiotherapist, travelling extensively with the team since 2005. Fiona is also a certified BradCliff Breathing Method Practitioner.  She has developed a musculoskeletal screening tool based on her experience with elite athletes, for the general population and recreational athletes to help in injury prevention, and performance improvement. Her treatment focus is on ‘hands on’ manual therapy techniques combined with exercise prescription to optimise function and help clients achieve their goals as soon as possible.

Churchyard-Physiotherapy-0010Kathryn Mitchell

Kathryn graduated in 1992 from Otago and gained her Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 1999. Kathryn previously owned her own clinic in Bulls for six years selling this to spend more time with her young family, and has worked at Churchyard since 2008. Kathryn has a keen interest in the management of shoulder injuries, including postoperative management, working to get her clients back to full function. She is also experienced in musculoskeletal screenings and prescription of individualised rehab and prehab plans. Kathryn has worked with netball, being the Physio for the Western Flyers from 1998 – 2004, working with Netball Manawatu and NZ Development teams in 1995.  2014 saw Kathryn return to the netball courtside as Physiotherapist for the Central U23 Netball team.  Outside of work Kathryn is kept busy by her 3 young boys and running a farm with husband, Duncan. 


Claire Maxwell

Claire graduated with a Bachelor of Science (honours) in Physiotherapy (UK) in 2009.  She is originally from Ireland moving to New Zealand in 2011 (initially experiencing the Rugby World Cup!) and then moving to work in Feilding for 3 years before a short sojourn in Australia.  Claire has worked with Feilding Yellows Rugby since 2012 and Manawatu Cyclones Womens Rugby Team 2012-13.  Claire has additional training in Dry Needling and Manual and Manipulative Therapy.  When she's not at work Claire likes to make the most of the outdoors - tramping, snowboarding, surfing and keeping fit and just may look to make a return to playing rugby or league having played both in England and Ireland.

Nicola Bolger   

Nicola is our Lead Sports Physiotherapist and is the Physiotherapist for the Awesome Manawatu Turbos.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from University College, Dublin in 2006 and then went on to complete a Masters in Physiotherapy at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2009.  She worked in the UK for a few years before moving to New Plymouth where she has worked for the last 3 years.  There she developed her skills in Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy and worked with club and age group representative rugby teams and the Taranaki Women's Sevens team. In 2014 Nicola completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Western Acupuncture.   When she's not running around after athletes Nicola gets out running, road cycling and horse riding.


Francis Madden

Francis graduated as a Physiotherapist from the University of the Free State (South Africa) in 2010, after having already completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Science in Anatomy and Cell Morphology.  And now she is completing a Masters Degree in Clinical Sport Physiotherapy through the University of the Free State!  Francis emigrated to New Zealand in 2014 with her husband and is loving living in Palmerston North with their dog Juno, a Bouvier des Flandres.  She worked in private practice and hospital settings in South Africa and is now focusing on her Sports and Musculoskeletal skills.  When she isn't studying or working Francis enjoys sport - competing and watching has always been a big part of her life and her main focus now is triathlon, but she also competes in swimming, cycling and running events. 


Nichole Cobham


Nichole trained as a Physiotherapist at Otago School of Physiotherapy and graduated in 2013, working in Bulls before starting at Churchyard in August 2015.  She has already completed several courses to build on her musculoskeletal treatment skills.  Nichole is currently Physiotherapist to the Central Hockey Women's NHL team - the Central Mysticks, treating their injuries and looking after them at the tournament.  When she isn't working and looking after Hockey players Nichole keeps fit with triathlon training.


web 00875 Sheree Tikao-Harkess   

Sheree graduated from Univeristy of Otago in 2012 and then worked for a year in a private practice in Rolleston, near Christchurch.  She moved up to Palmerston North in January 2014 with her partner and started work with us straight away.  She is a keen netballer and has worked with sports teams both during her degree and since she graduated.  Sheree is keen to further her career in Musculoskeletal Physotherapy and is undertaking a series of courses to gain more knowledge and skills in that area.  Sheree is currently on Maternity Leave and will be back with us in March 2016. 




Ann Malcolm

Ann is our Clinic Manager, running the administrative side of the clinic and generally making sure everything runs smoothly. Ann joined Churchyard in July 2015 after returning to New Zealand from Australia where she had been working for 8 years, including running a Medical Specialist clinic.  Ann and her husband are kept busy restoring their new old home when she's not keeping us in line!


karen hillKaren Hill

Karen joined our Admin Team in July 2012.  As an administrator she looks after your ACC claims, making sure the right forms get to the right place on time.  She is awesome at keeping track of the paper work and supports Ann in the day to day running of the clinic



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Wendy Rickard

Wendy is one of our receptionists,  ready and waiting to assist you with making appointments and making sure we have all your details correct and up to date.  She is an integral part of our admin team, supporting Ann and Karen and helping keep the paperwork in line.



Anoushka Pivac

Noush shares reception duties with Wendy.  They are waiting for your phone call and will be there to meet and greet you on arrival at the clinic, helping you make appointments, and sort out your paperwork.

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