Meet our team

Our health care team of doctors, practice and specialist nurses, receptionists and administrators are here to help you stay healthy and well.   

Dr. Dave Higgie

Dr. Dave Higgieedit

David recently moved over from the UK to join our team.

He completed medical school in Birmingham then went on to complete his house officer years and GP training in Bristol. 

He also spent a year living on the east coast of Australia working in a busy Emergency department. He has worked across a range of special areas.

Julie Cowley

Julie Cowleyedit

Registered Nurse


Julie is a New Zealand trained local registered nurse (RN) with many years of primary care nursing in our community and a longstanding member of the practice team.  She has developed a very broad range of primary care nursing skills. Julie enjoys learning and has continued her nursing studies and completed a Master of Nursing and more recently gained the authority to prescribe medicines for patients attending the nurse clinics.

The new RN designated prescriber role allows nurses who work in collaboration with GP’s and have successfully completed advanced education and certification to prescribe medicines from a specified list. The RN can assess, diagnose and treat common conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, skin infections, sexual health etc.

Julie is passionate about supporting people to gain confidence in management of their long-term conditions. She has completed advanced education in diabetes and associated health problems, and is able to provide specialised diabetes care to our growing population of people with diabetes.  Being able to prescribe medicines has made a difference for patients attending the nurse clinic and frees up the GP’s time to see more complicated patients.  

Marja Pankras

Marja Pankrasedit


Acute Doctor


Justin Tweeddale

Justin Tweeddaleedit


Dr Justin Tweedale grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where he completed his medical degree at the University of Cape Town before moving to the UK with his wife and children. He qualified as a GP in the UK and worked for seventeen years in general practice in Winchester. Justin returned to work as a GP partner in private practice in East London, South Africa, for three years, before coming to the Bay of Plenty. Justin's areas of special interest in medicine are diabetes, paediatrics, and functional medicine. He is thriving on the Kiwi lifestyle and living in beautiful Tauranga.

Steve Taylor

Steve Tayloredit


MRCGP, MBBS, Dip Dermatology

Steve trained in the UK and worked for over 20 years as a partner in a busy general practice. He has an interest in ophthalmology, respiratory medicine and dermatology.

He enjoys doing outside activities and is embracing the kiwi lifestyle.

Gwenda Naepi

Gwenda Naepiedit


Gwenda is the acute doctor at Bayfair.
Sophia Schuellenbach

Sophia Schuellenbachedit


Sophia was born in Germany and studied medicine at Free University in Berlin, Germany, where she completed her studies in 1993. After spending several years in general and medical medicine, general and thoracic surgery, she completed her PhD in heart surgery for the octogenerians. Then, she spent several years in working as a Locum Practitioner throughout the UK and in London. Returning to Germany, she practiced as a family GP in her own surgery until December 2013. Sophia is a family doctor whole-hearted and she has a special interest in geriatrics, ultrasound and adjuvant cancer therapy and is also fully trained in trigger acupuncture and naturopathy. Outside of work, Sophia, her husband and their two children are interested in cycling, hiking and are keen on exploring their beautiful new homeland.
Julie Edwards

Julie Edwardsedit


Julie Edwards grew up on the South East Coast of England and completed her medical training in London. She first discovered New Zealand during her travels after her medical elective in Bangladesh and knew she would return. She worked mainly in the specialties of obstetrics and gynaecology and emergency medicine both in the UK and New Zealand.

She completed her General Practice training in Cardiff, Wales in 2008. Julie moved to Tauranga in June 2009 and loves the climate and the lifestyle the Bay offers. She also enjoys traveling, experiencing different cultures and cuisines, cooking, sport and the outdoors, especially tramping, tennis and windsurfing.

Martijn Haitsma

Martijn Haitsmaedit


Martijn comes from the Netherlands where he completed his medical studies in 1991. He later acquired a post-graduate Diploma in Tropical Health, surgery, gynaecology / obstetrics and tropical medicine. He worked in Africa (Malawi and Tanzania) for five years together with his wife, Dr Marja Pankras.

In the UK he obtained his post-graduate degree in general practice (2002) after which he worked as a GP in the UK, New Zealand and the Netherlands. It was his love for New Zealand which brought him back to Bayfair Doctors.

His interests are children's health, care of the elderly, sexual health, contraception and healthy living; the pragmatic approach, with emphasis on the do's and not the don'ts. He has a special interest in skin cancer and performs skin checks for which there are dedicated clinics.