Meet the team



We are a team of dedicated physiotherapists who pride ourselves on getting the right diagnosis every time. This enables our treatment techniques to be focused and specific to help get you ‘better faster’. We believe it is important to consider the biomechanics of the whole body to help gain complete recovery from injuries. We are all sports people ourselves and so understand the need to get back in action as quickly as possible.

What makes us different:

  • We listen to what you say and what your body tells us
  • We get to the origin of your problem, not just treating symptoms
  • We understand you are busy and need to recover quickly
  • We don’t want your injury to come back again either
  • We work with you not for you, to achieve efficient recovery
  • Small lifestyle changes can make a large effect on recovery


Leanna Veal – BPhty, PGDipSpMed, MNZSP


After qualifying I based myself in the UK for 8 years where I spent lot of time travelling.  I also used that opportunity to attend a variety of different courses to further develop my physiotherapy skills.  Recently my professional journey has me working my way through a series of Connect Therapy courses both in NZ and Australia.  This is a fantastic integrated whole body system approach incorporating both assessment and treatment.

I genuinely love being a physio and am passionate about hearing each patient’s story and getting the opportunity to help them reach their goals.  I especially love working with athletes where small changes can make huge differences in performance.  I also love the challenge where patients feel like there is no solution left to help them.

My vision, as a clinic owner, it’s to have a clinic with passionate physios who love what they do and strive to provide the best treatment for each and every person who comes through the door.

When I am not working I am either running or spending as much time as I can having fun with my husband and 4 children.


Sarah Walker – BPhty, PGCertAcu, MNZSP


Hi, my name is Sarah and I am one of the owners of the clinic. I graduated from Otago University in 2005 and have had an extensive range of experience as a physiotherapist, personal trainer, acupuncturist and massage therapist since graduating. I have worked with a wide range of local, national and international athletes in a large variety of sports. I enjoy the challenge of learning the biomechanics of new sports and how injuries can affect result.

A highlight in my career was being the Physiotherapist for Team Abu Dhabi in the Volvo Ocean Race for 2 years. I love implementing a type of physiotherapy that really gets to the cause of injuries and can ultimately make our patients better and faster with a special interest in prehabilitation and preventing injuries via biomechanical screening.

In my spare time I enjoy keeping active either on a sports field or with family and friends.


Lindsay Duhig – BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MCSP


Hi, I’m Lindsay, I’m from Northern Ireland but moved to Tauranga in 2015. Since graduating from the University of Ulster I have worked in both public and private healthcare settings and have experience in Paediatrics, Women’s Health, MSK and spinal injury, Pre and Post-Operative Rehabilitation.

Back in NI I have worked with professional Rugby Union and Netball athletes:  the Northern Ireland U21 Netball team to the World Youth Championships in 2013 and with Ulster Rugby developing skills in prehabilitation and strength & conditioning techniques. My Physio passion is within Contact Sports Injury and Rehabilitation, and I thoroughly enjoy my time with both Greerton Marist and Rangataua Sports Clubs being a side-line supporter and a Sports Medic.

I like to use a variety of treatment techniques including Pilates, Sarah Key Method, Myofascial release and Connect Therapy. Within my treatment sessions, I enjoy taking a full body approach and treating not only the painful area but ensuring a full recovery through injury prevention and prehabilitation techniques.

Outside of work I have a passion for travel and love exploring the beautiful country I now live in but spend most of my free time at Bootcamp or trying to be a baking Queen! I look forward to meeting you and helping you on your journey!


BIA Physio

Claire Vanderpoel – BPhty Physiotherapy


A graduate from Otago Uni in 2015, my working life has since been in Tauranga and in England. I enjoy the excitement of acute injuries, including on the rugby field, but also the challenge of problem-solving with long-term or complex injuries.

I love using my knowledge and skills to not only treat a person, but educate them to facilitate self-management and promote long-term health. I ensure that advice and exercises are individualised and achievable in your daily schedule.  We will also discuss lifestyle factors that impact your symptoms and well-being.

I simply love to be outside and, of course, exercising – practice what you preach!

I’m constantly trying to beat my PB running up the mount, to improve my shot percentage of 2-pointers at indoor netball, and to decrease my number of nose dives off the surfboard.

BIA Physio Spae

Lesley Schwass – DipPhy, Mulligan Concept Practitioner


I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1976 and then worked in hospitals, in a sports rehabilitation clinic and at general physiotherapy clinics. I had a gap from physiotherapy, then retrained at AUT in 2011. Since then, I have attended courses and conferences to become up skilled in most physiotherapy domains. I have a passion for knowledge and continued learning of new physiotherapy skills.

Since 2011, I have worked in local clinics and for ACC- funded rehab companies who help clients to recover and rehabilitate following surgeries, accidents, brain injuries and concussions. I have helped many people with neurological disorders, and with rehabilitation from concussions, headaches, dizziness and vertigo.

I am also a registered Mulligan Concept therapist, and as such I am skilled in joint mobilizations to increase range of motion and reduce pain, headaches, and dizziness.

My passion is physiotherapy. My hobbies are gardening, floristry, painting, exploring, and enjoying different walking tracks.

I also absolutely love looking after my grandchildren and when I am not at work, I care for my 38-year-old son with Special needs.

I am humbled to be part of the ‘Back in Action’ team as they are all passionate about helping their clients achieve their goals.


Poppy Porter – Physiotherapy Student

Fourth Year Physiotherapy Student

Kia ora, my name is Poppy.

I’m in my final year of physiotherapy at AUT. I have been studying in Auckland, but I grew up in Tauranga and am happy to be back for walks on the beach & up the mount!

I play competitive field hockey but enjoy being active in any way I can. I have worked a bit with Parafed and have enjoyed learning how to adapt movements to give everyone an opportunity to exercise.

In my spare time I enjoy a good coffee and whipping up some baking.


Kelly Waite

Office Manager

Hi my name is Kelly and I am the Receptionist and Administrator for Back in Action Physiotherapy. An experienced Office Manager with qualifications in medical administration, I am always on hand to help you find an appointment or answer any questions you may have.

In my down time I am an avid reader, enjoy the cinema, amateur photography and I love to travel. I lived in Ireland for six years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I explored a little bit of Europe while I was there but not nearly enough.

When I was 16 I had a small accident that resulted in a shoulder stabilisation surgery at 17 and shoulder reconstruction surgery at 19. Following both procedures was lots of physiotherapy to regain my range of motion and strength, so I have had a bit of physiotherapy myself in my time! Read more about shoulder injuries here. I look forward to meeting you and aiding your recovery in any way I can to help you get Better – Faster.