< back

News from Member Organisations June 2023 - New Zealand

News from Occupational Therapy New Zealand – Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa

It’s been a busy couple of months here in Aotearoa / New Zealand and here are some of the highlights from the past few months.

Preparation for the 2023 Conference


Preparation is well underway for our first face to face conference in 3 years. The location was chosen with enhancing student participation in mind as Dunedin is one of the three cities with an Occupational Therapy Education programme. Please consider contributing to our conference by sharing videos with your WFOT Delegates in New Zealand of examples of Occupational Therapy Practice in your countries. We are hoping to display these videos to New Zealand members during the conference. Contact your delegates through the WFOT delegate Hub.

  • Development of a Cultural Safety Policy - from our national accident & injury programme ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation)
  • Equipment Road Shows - Show your Ability:

Many Occupational Therapists in Aotearoa / New Zealand work with companies or in private practice completing work through the ACC funded schemes. This can include both specific treatment related to an injury, as well as vocational rehabilitation to help a person safely return to work after an injury. This is a free service open to all New Zealanders and international visitors – should your injury or accident occur within the boundaries of New Zealand air, land or sea.

Occupational Therapists along with other health professionals have certainly been at the forefront of calls to recognise the importance of culturally safe practice, especially for the indigenous people of New Zealand and we are pleased to see such resources be made available to all health practitioners. We hope this news is of some interest to our international colleagues. - Cultural safety and competencies (acc.co.nz)

To learn more about how the ACC system works, see the following link:

In future editions we are hoping to share further insights into the specific processes of how Occupational Therapists in Aotearoa / New Zealand are expected to meet and maintain culturally safe practice for the indigenous population.

Occupational Therapy New Zealand – Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa, and the Occupational Board of New Zealand attended the Show your Ability Trade shows on both the North & South Islands in recent weeks. This is a trade show that allows health professionals to learn about and try out specialist equipment and services available in Aotearoa / New Zealand. These shows are well attended by the Occupational Therapy community and a great way to meet members across the land.


You can learn more about the event here: Show Your Ability | Disability equipment trade show (3am.net.nz)


What is your area of Practice? – Working with Veterans and former military personnel

What is your role? – My title is ‘Rehabilitation Advisor’ and my role consists of supporting veterans to access treatment and rehabilitation support for any health conditions that have that was related to their time in the military. A large part of my role is supporting civilian providers to understand how best to approach and work alongside veterans – including many Occupational Therapists

What do you like the most about your role? – I enjoy many things about this role. 1. I love the amount of new learning I have had to do especially about the military culture. 2. I really enjoy the liaison with so many different health professionals ( including many OTs) to ensure we achieve the best outcomes for the veterans. 3. I appreciate the privilege I have to share the stories and walk alongside veterans and their families who have made incredible sacrifices in the name of helping others.

What are the some of the biggest challenges you face as an Occupational Therapist in this role? – The role is very varied and so trying to ensure I use my Occupational Therapy specific knowledge and experience when working with others who are bringing different perspectives and beliefs can be a challenge in some situations. Managing the impacts of vicarious trauma has also been something I have had to learn about. Learning to recognise when and how working with other people’s traumatic experiences can affect your own well-being, and how you can use processes like supervision and time management / activity planning strategies to deal with these issue, has been very important.