A Sense of Belonging: Evaluating how a Music Therapy Service is Valued by its Community

Oliver E.L. Lowery
MMusTher, NZ RMTh

Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, Auckland

Jennifer Ryckaert
Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, Auckland
Adrian Field
Dovetail (Evaluation and research company)
Rachael Butler
Independent Social Researcher and Dovetail Associate
Louise Were
Ngāti Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Hikitia and Dovetail Associate


Humanistic music therapy; music therapy charitable trust; parent and caregiver evaluation; Enabling Good Lives; COVID-19 response

Editorial Notes
This article has been accepted following review by two anonymous peer reviewers.


The Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust (RMTT) provides music therapy services via its centre in Auckland, two regional centres in Hawke’s Bay and Northland, five Auckland satellite services, and outreach programmes in partnership with over 20 schools and organisations. In 2019 the Trust was awarded a grant by the NZ Lottery Grants Board to commission an independent evaluation of its services. The evaluation was designed to identify the values and impacts that RMTT services have for its clients, whānau1, and outreach partner organisations, and the factors that support and challenge participation in RMTT services. Following a literature review of relevant music therapy practice and outcomes, the evaluation team collected both quantitative and qualitative data through a survey and interviews with a range of present and past clients, whānau, and outreach partner organisations, and through discussion groups with RMTT staff. Five overarching key questions guided the evaluation and its findings. A theory of change provided a reference point for adherence to intention, and links are made between the data collected and Enabling Good Lives principles. The evaluation provides learning for future activity within RMTT and the field of music therapy in Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly around public understanding of music therapy and the value of relationships within music therapy and the wider disability community. The timing of the evaluation also enabled some reflection on adaptations to service delivery in the face of COVID-19. 

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