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Florence Samuels and Pawel Kotarba

• National Certificate in Relaxation Massage
• Diploma in Health Sciences – Therapeutic Massage
• Diploma in Health Sciences – Massage & Sports Therapy 

How has your course at NZCM helped you?

Pawel – Provided me with a sound knowledge of anatomy along with the hands-on massage skills to be able to work on the human body while continuing to further develop this acquired base knowledge.

Florence – Completing my studies at NZCM solidified for me that massage therapy is the industry that I wanted to pursue and develop a career in. 

Why did you decide to set up a business?

Pawel – We would be able to do business together. We communicate well in my opinion, and we were strong driven students in class. Being of similar age we had developed similar expectations of ourselves and what we wanted, despite our diverse life experiences. I saw Flo as a compassionate person which gave me hope that we would be able to deal with and manage a business. We both have a similar respect for massage therapy.

Florence – I didn’t want to work for someone else doing what I loved. I wanted to be in charge of the direction of where my business and career would head, and being able to do it with a fellow therapist/classmate/friend made it less daunting an objective to try and achieve. Pawel and I feel strongly that as a team we have the opportunity to make some positive contributions to the future of the massage therapy industry. 

What does your business involve?

Our business involves folding a lot of linen LOL! But on a serious note, our business involves treatment using massage therapy to best meet our clients needs. In order to be able to do this our business involves a lot of self-driven learning and development. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your business?

Given we are still in our first year of operation, meeting new people and facing new challenges with clients is exciting. Also realising that our job is constantly pushing us to improve and learn keeps our excitement fresh. Recently it has been a little mind-blowing with regards to the opportunities that have been presented to our business. 

How did you feel when you were coming to NZCM?

Pawel: Nervous in returning as a mature student, particularly as one who spoke English as a second language. The nerves were also influenced by my lack of confidence in whether I was making the right decision as physiotherapy and osteopathy were stiil on the study cards.

The weekend course which was run by a fantastic tutor and massage therapist was the deciding factor to attend NZCM.

Flo: Nervous and excited, particularly as I had been talking about studying at NZCM for a long time. I was returning to study after 20 odd years of working in corporate employment, and with that brought some insecurity. However once I started to learn I knew that I had made the right decision. 

Was it a career start or career change?

Career change. 

What were the highlights of your programme?

Flo: A definite highlight was being led and educated by some true pioneers of the massage therapy industry. They were educators who without hesitation 100% supported my learning and future massage endeavours.

Pawel: The amazing tutors that we were taught and influenced by. Met the most influential teachers in all of my years of study and education.

Have you won any awards or competitions?

Pawel: Academic Excellence – 2017 DipHSc, Massage & Sports Therapy

Flo: Academic Excellence – 2016 DipHSc – Therapeutic Massage 

What are your plans for the future?

Ultimately we would like to work towards opening a bigger clinic that will provide us with the facilities to employee other therapists. Particularly young and ambitious therapists who are looking for a positive environment in which they can learn and develop and experience the satisfaction that we are very fortunate to receive on a daily basis.

We are currently in France on a working holiday, and are preparing to massage at the 2018 European Touch Rugby Championships in Nottingham, England from July 17th – 22nd. During this tournament we will be working with and providing massage for the Touch Ireland’s Mixed Open team. To be able to bring our business and skills to Europe, it’s an opportunity that we knew we couldn’t refuse. 

With our passions for the different sporting fields that we would like to work in, our future aspirations include the Olympics or placement with a professional sports team i.e Super 18 Rugby, ANZ Netball etc.

What is one life lesson you learnt during your study and work?

Pawel – It’s never to late to make a change in your life.

Flo – When you truly love what you’re doing it never feels like work.