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Stephanie Mitchell photo.JPG
Stephanie Mitchell   Registered Hand Therapist (HTNZ)
BHSc (Physiotherapy)          MHPrac (Rehabilitation)
PGCert (Accupuncture) 

About Stephanie 

I grew up on Auckland's North Shore and qualified as a physiotherapist in 2001 from AUT. I have been working as a hand therapist since 2006 and became fully registered in 2008.


I began my physiotherapy career as a rotational physiotherapist at Waikato Hospital in 2002 and then later at North Shore Hospital. In 2004 I then spent a year working for the NHS around England and Scotland. Working in the hospital system both here and abroad was invaluable in giving me a good understanding of a broad range of health conditions and their management having spent time on cardiothoracic, neurological and orthopaedic medical and surgical wards.


After 6 months travelling around Europe/America and South Africa I returned to New Zealand and began working at a large specialist hand therapy clinic in West Auckland. I completed my hand therapy training at AUT during this time and became a fully registered Hand Therapist in 2008. I then continued to study at AUT and completed a Masters of Health Practice and Post-Graduate Certificate in Health Science in Western Acupuncture in 2010.


I have continued to work as a hand therapist for the past 15 years, I was working as a locum hand therapist for a number of practices around Auckland, before joining Odele here at O Hands, and now Ellen who has joined us from Takapuna Hand Therapy. 

Ellen van Essen NZRP
Registered Hand Therapist (HTNZ)
MHSc (Hons) Hand & Uppe
r Limb Rehabilitation
PGD in Western Acupuncture 

About Ellen

My family immigrated from The Netherlands when I was 4 years old, and settled on Auckland’s North Shore where I grew up.

I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1991 from AUT, and later went back to do a Post Graduate diploma in Hand & Upper Limb Therapy in 1999 and complete a Master of Health Science in 2004.

I was introduced to acute post-op hand injuries while working on the Burns & Plastics wards at Middlemore Hospital, moving into the role of section Physiotherapist of the Hand Therapy unit in 1994.  I have been a fully registered Hand Therapist since 2000.

Learning my hand therapy skills in a hospital environment gave me a broad base of knowledge ranging from burns and scar management, wound care and complex hand injury management. Hospitals are also training institutions, giving me the opportunity to get involved in teaching dozens of therapists who spent time in the unit gaining skills in this fascinating specialised field of rehabilitation of the hand and upper limb.

As well as Middlemore Hospital, I also spent time working in the hand therapy units at both Whangarei and Waikato Hospitals.After working in a private Hand Therapy practice in Perth WA for 18 months, I returned to NZ to open my own private clinic close to my home in Takapuna.

For the past 12 years I have been a sole practitioner running my clinic – Takapuna Hand Therapy - from a character villa in Belmont, mostly servicing the Peninsula between Devonport and Takapuna.

Sadly, the villa was sold to developers, and I closed my practice in March 2021, joining the team at    O Hands on Shakespeare Road in Milford. It is good to be working alongside other hand therapists and getting involved in teaching and training again.

Many of my patients from Takapuna Hand Therapy have either “followed” me or “found” me in Milford.  I am passionate about hand therapy and I hope to be able to continue offering my patients the expertise I have gained in this field over the past 25 plus years.

Victoria Purdy 
Associate Hand Therapist 
BPhty (Physiotherapy)
PGDip (Health & Science)

About Victoria 

After qualifying as a physiotherapist from Otago University in 1996 I briefly worked in my home city of Wellington before moving to the North Shore, Auckland. I initially worked as a rotational physiotherapist at Middlemore hospital and was fortunate to spend time working in burns and plastics and hand therapy.  Since Middlemore I have had a varied career path with time spent working in paediatrics at Wilson Centre, Takapuna, ACC and for various rehabilitation companies.

I completed the Hand and Upper Limb Therapy paper a number of years ago but chose to focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation within the workplace after a period of time at ACC. For the past 15 years, I have focussed on health within the workplace and have a strong background in injury/illness management, complex pain, worksite assessments, task analysis, ergonomic advice and manual handling.

I have always been interested in the impact work activities have on upper limb pain and the various management options both in the clinic and workplace. I have recently joined the team at O Hands as an Associate Hand Therapist looking to therefore extend my knowledge whilst gaining hand therapy registration. Working with Stephanie, Ellen and Odele is a privilege and wonderful to be able to reconnect after training and working with them previously.


About Anneke 

Anneke Hielkema

Associate Hand Therapist

Hi, I’m Anneke! I grew up on the North Shore of Auckland, before spending a few years in Wellington and then the Middle East – returning to Auckland to go to university. I graduated in 2014 with a degree in Physiotherapy, working in musculoskeletal and vocational rehabilitation.

I returned to university in 2016 to complete a post graduate certificate in Western medical acupuncture and have continued to work in private practice musculoskeletal & vocational physiotherapy before commencing a Hand therapy associateship in 2019.

Hand therapy has been a significant interest since commencing my undergraduate training in 2011. Quality of hand and upper limb function has a significant impact on participation in the relationships and activities that are meaningful to us and our overall wellbeing and independence. Seeing and experiencing first-hand the impact of losing this function made me particularly keen to be part of helping others recover and manage these sometimes-complex injuries and changes in our bodies. I am currently working toward a post graduate diploma in health science and continue to have a keen interest in exercise rehabilitation and the power and impact movement medicine can have on our whole person, body
and mind.

When not working/studying I enjoy being in nature, yoga, and spending time with friends, family and animals.

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