Your Community, Your Voice Blog

Welcome to the Arthritis New Zealand Your Community, Your Voice Blog. This blogging community brings together the expertise, insights and experiences of a diverse range of people who are living with different kinds of arthritis, as well as Arthritis Educators working for Arthritis New Zealand, clinicians and allied health professionals.

This is an inclusive, positive and empowering place for those affected by arthritis to share their experiences, knowledge and insights for the benefit of the broader community.

Blogging 101: Beginner’s checklist

Here is a checklist of things to consider adding to your posts to make them more relevant, lively and interesting to the reader. Although this checklist isn't prescriptive, it is advice. We encourage you to let your creative juices flow and be the free-wheeling...

Writing for Arthritis New Zealand: Blogger guidelines

Kia ora! So you would like to join our blogging community at Arthritis New Zealand? We’re so happy to have you on-board. Your thoughts, opinions and experience of either having arthritis or helping those with arthritis will be immeasurably helpful to other people. He...


Hand Therapist

I’m a hand therapist who regularly sees people overcoming difficulties with thumb and hand arthritis. It’s possible to make improvements with a willingness to learn new ways of doing things and I’m excited about using social media to share ideas and experiences. Read more on Handhub’s blog.

Daniel Umaga

Pacific Community Development Coordinator - Arthritis NZ

Talofa lava, my name is Dan Umaga. I was born in Newtown, Wellington in the 1960s. I am a first generation New Zealand-born Samoan. Our family shifted to Wainuiomata in 1965 where I grew up. Read more on Daniel’s blog.

Jane Messer

Arthritis Educator/ RN - Arthritis NZ

Hi Everyone. I’m Jane an RN working as an arthritis educator for the past nine years.

I really enjoy my job, as I’m supporting the community to understand their arthritis diagnosis and how to manage to live positively with this long term health condition. Read more on Jane’s blog.


I am 21 years young from a small town where everybody knows everything and everyone. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the tender age of 19 but had gone through two years of tests and procedures to get to this.

But is that all? Follow me and my journey through all the little bumps in the road. Read more on Sera’s blog.


Age 69. Made in New Zealand. I was born and schooled in Hastings, spent thirty years living in Whakatane. In my retirement years, I now live in Tauranga with my husband and a ning-nong calico cat. I’m a published writer, however, these days write for enjoyment only. Read more on Valma’s blog.


Age 28. I have had SLE since I was 12 and Rheumatoid arthritis since I was 18, I am a total believer in how a positive mind is the first step in treating any symptoms and want to share how this frame of mind can help. I believe in educating people on medication or alternative treatment, as I am big on using both methods. Read more on Kate’s blog.

Jane Wilson

Policy Advisor/Arthritis New Zealand

Hi, I’m Jane. I have a background in policy development and research and worked for government and in the health sector before joining Arthritis New Zealand. Read more on Jane’s blog.


I’m Tim, 55, and have osteoarthritis. No matter what your age, a diagnosis of arthritis is a difficult change to come to terms with. I want to encourage others who live with arthritis to do the single best thing in their lives – keep moving.In August 2017 I take part in my toughest cycling challenge yet – the Le Mans Pearl Izumi 24H Velo. Read more on Tim’s blog.


G’day I’m Bruce I work in the engineering sector and I’m also known as hottriggeredkiwi. A clue to my history is that I grew up on a dairy farm near a tiny town in rural Waikato.

I was diagnosed with sero-negative ankylosing spondilitis back in the late 80’s. Read more on Hotriggeredkiwi’s blog.


Olivia, aged 26: I currently have my own blog about my experience of living with Lupus and would love to share my journey of navigating this illness with others. I am really passionate about spreading awareness about how Arthritis impacts younger people. Read more on Olivia’s blog.


Hi, I’m Erin and I’ve lived with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis since 1973. I was born in the United States and obtained a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy there in 1998. In 1999 I married a Kiwi and moved to live in New Zealand. Read more on Erin’s blog.


A small town kid living in a big city, dinosaur geek, musician and human to multiple cats. I’ve had arthritis since I was ten years old, and I’m keen to share my experiences of navigating the world and trying to adult while living with chronic illness. Read more on Gezellig’s blog.

Sarah S 


Hi I’m Sarah. I’m 35 and I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 22. It’s been a challenge over the years to raise my three kids and reach my goals while navigating life with a chronic condition. Read more on Sarah S’s blog.

Kylie Frost 

Hi I’m Kylie Frost. I suffer from a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Inflammation in my spine and other joints is causing my bones to fuse together. The only way I can prevent this is to keep moving. Read more on Kylie’s blog.

This week was such a blast

Every minute I get to enjoy with my wife is special – she holds my heart. Between us we had determined that I needed a break as much as we needed some time together by ourselves. I had some leave, initially only for Monday and Tuesday. Leave days at our place usually...

Autumn days and nights

Gee, it was tough getting out of bed this morning. I’ve been getting up and out at 4.00am this week to claim my spot at the balloon festival. It’s happening thanks to a most supportive and understanding boss/colleague and I’m truly grateful and appreciative. It’s also...

Mutual support works well

My greatest support is my ever-patient and tolerant wife. She arrived on the scene knowing photography would take some priority in our lives. This may involve her waiting in or around the car for hours alone while I could be metres or kilometres away. Having said...

Saltwater therapy

The holidays began with the usual arthritic family in tow – you know, Mr and Mrs Pain and Suffering. Because they live together, they ignore each other, and I’m pleased to report they’re muted – no whinging and whining in this camp. Then there’s the stiffness group,...

Managing my arthritis

Just when you think you’re just keeping it together, an artist crosses over. Last time it was David Bowie, and I had to sneak time in a quiet spot at work to process that event – a majorly tough day. This time, thankfully, it happened on a Sunday, New Zealand time....

Too stubborn to quit: My life with ankylosing spondylitis

Two days ago I felt on top of the world. I had lots of energy, my pain levels were very low and I had just completed a half marathon with no negative after effects. I was quietly confident that the new medication I started three months ago was having a positive...

One for my wife

As someone with arthritis, I find it a tough ask to deal with my ‘self’, especially as this self is in constant denial about medical conditions. This self needs to be the tough one in the family, to be able to know where to go, how to do stuff, on call and ready to go...

Hotriggeredkiwi: River reflections

It was so quiet and peaceful on the river this morning. The weather wasn’t brilliant, requiring the Swanndri for warmth and some protection from the impending rain. Even the hunter’s long pants got used as the riverbank grasses are now thigh deep; they dried quickly...

Hand hub: Exercises for thumb arthritis

Exercise for thumb arthritis There is increasing evidence for the benefits of strengthening exercises for thumb arthritis. Exactly which exercises? Still nothing specific from the literature! Go for pain-free We try and give pain-free exercises whenever we can,...

Kate Meldrum: My disease has made me a better person

“Your disease is something you have, not who you are.” “Don’t let your disease define you.” These are common phrases those with chronic illness often hear. When I think about it the flip side of these sayings, though, I realise that chronic illness is a major factor...

Sarah Shelton: Taking care of you

It’s pretty easy to forget about looking after ourselves some days, especially if we have a lot of things going on, or we are having a bad health day. A chronic health condition certainly makes this a little harder than ‘normal’, and the stress of daily living can get...

Olivia Hall: Mobility parking… a perk you really don’t want!

Yes, I know I am young and to you I look perfectly healthy sitting inside my car. I can see it in your eyes – you have already judged me before I’ve even attempted to move. I bet you didn't know that I get nervous butterflies every time I pull into that park. I...

Hotriggeredkiwi: All in a day’s work

Oh bother, it’s time; and, look, outside it’s dark and raining again. No, it’s hail too, wow, it must be cold, time for the Swanndri. Bah, it’s a struggle, what is it now? Oh of course, yesterday on the river with the whitebaiters in the rain, must’ve gotten wetter...

Hotriggeredkiwi: No one said it would be easy

This blog takes six hours to write up, on average. During the working week I spend a total of 56 hours at home, including sleep time. I struggle with reading and writing, always have, probably always will. What to say? Where to start? Letters, words, and sentences...

Alison Wilding: Exercises for thumb arthritis

Exercise for thumb arthritis An increasing body of evidence is out there for the benefits of strengthening exercises for thumb arthritis. Exactly which exercises? Still nothing specific from the literature! Go for pain-free We try and give pain-free exercises whenever...

Alison Wilding: OA of the thumb

Osteoarthritis of the thumb is one of the main arthritic problems that a hand therapist* can help with. The joint in question is the one at the very base of the thumb down near the wrist joint. You may hear the term ‘CMC’ joint being referred to, or the ‘basal joint...

Kylie Frost: Dinner won’t cook itself, but how do I open all of the product packaging?

It is 6 o'clock at night and I have finally finished work for the day. I head to the fridge to check what I can cook for dinner. In another life I was a chef and loved to cook. Now I dread it. Oh goody, mince again. Maybe lasagne? The thought fills me with dread. Not...

It’s the little things that matter

It’s amazing the small things in life that most people take for granted, like simply getting out of bed after a good night’s sleep. Or the jump-up-quickly-because-you-are-late spring that happens and the quick race to get ready for the day. Not the shuffle, roll and...

Hotriggeredkiwi: Never let the bastard (arthritis) win

The iciness quickly cut through to the bone as I walked to the beach. Then the pain transferred to the cutting of razor sharp edges of oyster shells and dull bites of stones on bones as they hit pressure points of my feet.

Val Bird: To loo or not to loo, that is the question!

I started gripping the toilet-roll-holder as a ‘push me up.’ However, while this helped me to get back on my feet, it still caused a nasty crunching pain in my knee. I was also concerned that one day the toilet roll holder would give way, causing both me and the toilet wall a significant problem.