Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Team | SMART Rehab & Physio | New Plymouth,. NZ

Sue Pritt

Occupational Physiotherapist
Diploma in Physiotherapy

Sue is a Taranaki local being raised on a farm in Tikorangi before leaving the province to complete her physiotherapy training in Otago. Sue has worked in a variety of hospital and private practice settings in New Zealand and the UK. She had a change of direction about 15 years ago and started working in the area of vocational rehabilitation as a self-employed contractor and went on to form SMART Rehab & Physio.

Sue’s whole family are keen sailors and are involved with the New Plymouth yacht club. She also enjoys travelling and cycling the many tracks of New Zealand on her bike (this has got a lot easier with the recent purchase of an electric mountain bike) plus skiing and walking.

Steve Purdon

Physiotherapist, Regional Manager
Diploma in Physiotherapy (AUT), Postgraduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy (Curtin), Postgraduate Certificate in Sport & Exercise Medicine (UWIC)

Steve travelled to the Middle East in 1993 and from there worked in a variety of roles over the next decade specialising in musculoskeletal diagnosis and rehabilitation, finally ending as the clinical supervisor of a large physiotherapy and OT department in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Deteriorating security conditions post 9/11 led him to move to Germany where he spent the next 12 years as the clinical lead physio for the British Military forces, based in a 30-bed regional rehabilitation unit.

Steve returned to New Zealand in 2016 and very quickly made the decision to live and work in Taranaki. He joined the SMART Rehab & Physio team in 2017 and took over the regional manager role in January 2018.

Steve is a keen road cyclist and dabbles occasionally in MTB. He has never ridden an e-bike! In earlier years he played basketball in Scotland at the national league level and was a member of the Hastings basketball team that won the second division NZ championship ‘sometime in the 80s’, he has performed roller-skating stunt exhibitions through Scotland and England, windsurfed, kayaked, scuba-dived, snorkelled and ran!

Chantel Punter

Occupational Nurse
Bachelor of Nursing

Born and bred in Taranaki and growing up in Waitara I am one of three tamariki. I returned from living overseas in 2008 to raise my tamariki and to be closer to my whanau.

I trained in New Plymouth at the Taranaki Polytechnic in 1995 to obtain my Bachelor of Nursing. I have worked in a variety of fields over the last 21 years including the private and public sectors. I initially worked in rehabilitation and geriatric health once I graduated and then moved to Australia where I specialised in orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and pain management for five years.

I continued to practise while travelling and did my big “OE” to the UK in 2003. Initially, I was working as an agency nurse in diverse areas that included maxillo-facial, orthopaedics, emergency, gynaecology, urology, medical, infectious diseases, and district nursing. I then ventured into nutritional medicine working with long term gastric and bowel issues for the Nutricia company. This involved providing education and assistance for PEG and nasogastric feeds to clients, families, and healthcare providers from London to Cambridge.

On return to New Zealand in 2007 I started working for Piki Te Ora as an outreach smear taker and vaccinator until I had my second child. I then changed my focus to my tamariki, working shifts at the Taranaki Base Hospital in the orthopaedic and specialist surgery ward so that I could spend more time with them. I remained there as a senior nurse for eight years with roles including education of the ERAS (hip and knee programmes) to patients, rosters, shift coordinator. I left this position in 2017 to work full time in Vocational Health and enjoy the challenges and experiences with helping to assist clients to recover from injury and return to work. I try to provide a supportive service to help with the transition from injury to recovery.

With two children, a husband, and renovating a house I don’t seem to have much time for anything else but, enjoy walking the dog, watching a good movie, gardening and of course travelling. I am currently learning French and then looking to learn Te Reo as I would like to explore my Whakapapa.

Denise Fenner

Occupational Therapist
Diploma in Occupational Therapy

Taranaki born and bred, Denise qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1991 and has practised in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Denise spent her first five years working in a range of hospitals and wards including acute medicine and neurology, orthopaedics and renal medicine. She has held various community-based positions, including community rehabilitation, outreach therapist for clients with neurological conditions and was a member of a rapid intervention intermediate care team.

Denise was also instrumental in piloting and developing Occupational Therapy services in accident and emergency departments in the United Kingdom. In 2006, following her return to NZ, she specialised in vocational rehabilitation. After a career break of seven years, Denise returned to her beloved profession as an Occupational Therapist and is providing vocational and social rehabilitation services.

Denise is also a prevention manual handling trainer for the Taranaki region.

When she is not striving to be an awesome auntie to her nieces and nephew, Denise can be found beachcombing with her labradoodle, trying out new recipes, fair-weather running, winding down with some yoga or practising with her tribal dance troupe.

Hamish Gunson

Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Physiotherapist
Bachelor of Science in Physiology Otago, Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2003 Otago, NZMPA Manual Therapy Certificate, NZMPA Cervical Spine Manipulation Refresher, Dry Needling Qualification

Hamish was born and bred in Whangarei and following school he moved to Dunedin to train at Otago University gaining both a Bachelor of Science in Physiology in 2001 and his Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2003.

Hamish has worked in Private Practice Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy for the last 17 years in Palmerston North and New Plymouth. He has enjoyed a variety of roles including working with sports teams, providing manual handling education and injury prevention/management presentations, liaising with employers and insurers and fostering relationships with the medical profession, and most of all, his patients.

Hamish enjoys the daily problem solving that being a physiotherapist requires. From diagnosing an injury, formulating a treatment plan, assisting and encouraging the patient on their recovery and finally seeing the reward of a client’s return to improved function and quality of life.

Hamish is the proud father to five energetic children. He enjoys family time with his wife and kids. He loves playing football, running, watching all manner of sport and working on the section at home. He enjoys singing, playing the guitar and walking the dog.

Rosalind Parker


Caroline Dennison

Administrator and Rehab Coach, Netfit Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer
Wellness Coach Certification

Born and raised in Raetihi, Caroline has lived in New Plymouth for 19 years. She has worked in various gyms in New Plymouth, is a qualified Personal Trainer and currently teach R30 spin classes at a local gym. Caroline provides front office reception and works alongside our physiotherapists to Rehab Coach services for clients.

Her interests include enjoying the outdoors, walking, biking, and good coffee and friends.

Nicola Gunson

Financial Administrator

Raised and schooled in New Plymouth, Nicola attended Otago University where she qualified as a Clinical Dietitian.  She worked in Levin and Palmerston North working with Renal patients in particular to advise in providing their unique dietary requirements.
Once child number one was born, Nicola shifted to the challenging, but immensely rewarding role of stay at home mum.  After 12 years and child number 5, Nicola re-entered the workplace in a financial administration role.  She really enjoys her job as it allows her to utilise her impressive budgeting and accounting skills.
In her spare time, Nicola can be found ferrying her children around the city to sport and music events, having a laugh with her friends and when possible, a walk on the beach with her dog and husband.