Our History

1974
The beginnings
Two historical threads interweave the beginnings of a national body for Music Therapy in New Zealand (Croxson, 2001). In 1974 Bill Keith, an Auckland audiologist, brought Music Therapy pioneers Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins to New Zealand to work with children with hearing impairments and learning disabilities. Around the same time, New Zealand pianist Mary Lindgren met, and later studied with, British Music Therapy pioneer Juliet Alvin. Mary's energy and drive contributed to the establishment in 1975 of the New Zealand Society for Music Therapy (NZSMT). We honour her name and pioneering work through one of our MThNZ grants, the Lindgren Project Fund.
1974
1975
New Zealand Society for Music Therapy (NZSMT) established
The NZSMT was founded as a charitable organisation, with the aim of raising awareness and provision of Music Therapy and support for the emerging profession.
1975
1975
Sir Roy McKenzie
Another key figure from this era, philanthropist Sir Roy McKenzie, became a significant supporter and benefactor from these early days until his death in 2007. The McKenzie Scholarship and McKenzie Music Therapy Hospice Fund were established with donations from Sir Roy and are named in his honour. Sir Roy gifted MThNZ shares in Rangatira several times, readily responded to requests for urgent financial support, but also gave financial advice and always came to special events. The organisation would not have begun, nor would it be in the position it is today, without the significant contributions of Sir Roy.
1975
1975-2000
Raising the profile of music therapy
NZSMT works to raise the profile of Music Therapy in New Zealand: publishing newsletters, establishing the Annual Journal, and lobbying politicians and policy makers in health, education, justice, welfare and community (Croxson, 2001). The society, through the significant time and energy of many individuals, brings international Music Therapy clinicians, researchers and educators to NZ for training courses, conference presentations, workshops and professional development courses (Croxson, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007; Krout, 2003).
1975-2000
1995
Professional association established
The New Zealand Association for Music Therapists (NZAMT) is established (with branches in Wellington, Manuwatu, Auckland, & Christchurch) alongside the existing NZSMT, with the following aim:
[To] develop and maintain professional standards in Music Therapy in New Zealand, provide input into Music Therapy training programmes, ensure that a high standard of supervision was maintained, and to link with other relevant associations as appropriate. Activities included professional development days, the development of a Code of Ethics and work towards Standards of Clinical Practice for Music Therapists, job descriptions and register/s, pay scales, copyright documents, professional indemnity insurance, and the development of a Music Therapy training programme. (Rickson, 2014)
1995
2000
NZSMT established the New Zealand Music Therapy Registration Board
In order to be registered, a Music Therapist needs to have completed a recognised Music Therapy training, adhere to a Code of Ethics, and engage in ongoing professional development and supervision. While the NZ Music Therapy Registration Board operates independently of Council, it remains a function of Music Therapy New Zealand and continues to be underwritten by the society.
2000
2000 - 2003
Masters of Music Therapy Course
After 18 years of effort, politically and financially, the first tertiary course in Music Therapy was approved in 2000. Barbara Mabbett, Natali Allen and Morva Croxson drew up the documentation and curriculum for the course through the Education Committee which Natali, a nurse, Chaired. In 2002 the first programme leader, Dr Rober Krout, was appointed, and in 2003 the Master of Music Therapy (MMusTher) programme enrolled its first students at the Wellington campus of Massey University, and was then absorbed into New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), a collaboration between Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) (2005 to 2015) and now part of VUW alone. The current course is taught by Dr Sarah Hoskyns, Director and Associate Professor, and Dr Daphne Rickson, Senior Lecturer. For more information about the course, please refer to the University of Victoria website.
2000 - 2003
Early 2000s
RMThs, Specialist Service Providers
NZSMT successfully advocated for RMThs to be listed as service providers in the Ministry of Education’s Specialist Service Standards for students funded through the Ongoing Resource Scheme (ORS).
Early 2000s
2004
First Music Therapy Centre founded
NZSMT provides the first seeding grant in support of Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre (RMTC), the first (and currently only) dedicated Music Therapy centre in New Zealand. Founded by Hinewhei Mohi in 2004, in collaboration with Campbell Smith, Boh Runga and other local music industry people, RMTC is a charitable trust that provides Music Therapy to children and young people with special needs.
2004
2005
Unifying the organisation
NZSMT rebrands as Music Therapy New Zealand (“MThNZ”), our new trading name, with a new logo, a website, and shortly afterwards an online forum for Registered Music Therapist members. NZAMT, regional branches, were brought together to form one national body with the aim of creating a more unified and economically viable organisation. It was also an acknowledgment that the profile of NZSMT membership was shifting from being predominantly friends and supporters of Music Therapy to mainly professional Music Therapists (Rickson, 2014). Governance and general promotion of Music Therapy is delegated to the Council. NZAMT is replaced by the Education Training and Professional Practice group (ETPP), with a forum of seven elected RMTh members whose role was to manage all aspects of professional development and liaise with the National Executive, tertiary providers and the Registration Board.
2005
2010
AHANZ members
Following significant consultation regarding the HPCA Act, MThNZ joined and became active in Allied Health Professional Associations Forum (AHPAF), later rebranded as Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ).
2010
2013
Restructuring
For a number of reasons, the decision was made for the Society to discontinue the professional development activities, disband ETPP and amend the Rules accordingly, and undertake a re-visioning process which led to a restructure and the new Council and portfolio roles. New Zealand Society for Music Therapy continues to be the legal name for Music Therapy New Zealand (trading name).
2013
2015
MThNZ Regional Groups established
The intention for reestablishing regional groups are for ‘ground up’ advocacy, support & networking forums for all MThNZ members, as well as to create connections and grow relationships with related professionals and organisations in local areas.
2015
2016
Increasing our reach
MThNZ establishes itself within social media, creating a Facebook page that seeks to increase every New Zealander’s awareness and value of Music Therapy in its multiplicity of models, Music Therapy research, Music Therapy Week and other MThNZ events and activities.
2016
2016
First ever Music Therapy Week
MThNZ establishes the first ever Music Therapy Week, which aims to increase the awareness of Music Therapy and celebrate the Music Therapy that is happening throughout NZ in health, education and varied settings. It also provides a platform that aims to foster connections with other disciplines and ensure every New Zealander knows how to access a Registered Music Therapist.
2016
2018
Looking to the future
MThNZ rebrands and rebuilds their website, taking a giant step forward with the opportunities that advancing technology and communications enables for increasing awareness and understanding about Music Therapy as an allied health profession.
2018

More about Music Therapy New Zealand

If you are interested in learning more about the history of MThNZ:

  • Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (2016) – Retrieved 1st August 2016
  • Bagley, M. & Stevenson, K. (2010) Summary Report of MThNZ Strategic Plan Beyond the HPCA Act Strategy. MThNZ Archives.
  • Croxson, M. (1993) Music Therapy in New Zealand. In Maranto, C.D. (Ed) Music Therapy: International Perspectives. Pipersville, PA: Jeffrey Books
  • Croxson, M. (2001) New Zealand and Music Therapy: A Synopsis of a New Scene. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Vol. 1(1) – Retrieved: 10th July 2016
  • Croxson, M. (2002). New Zealand and Music Therapy – a synopsis of a new scene. In Kenny, C., & Stige, B. (Eds) Contemporary voices in Music Therapy:
  • Communications, culture, and community, pp 183-186. Oslo: Unipub Forlag.
  • Croxson, M. (2003) Music Therapy in New Zealand. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy – Retrieved: 10th July 2016
  • Croxson, M. (2007) Music Therapy in New Zealand. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy
  • Department of Internal Affairs (2013). Notice that may lead to the removal of New Zealand Society for Music Therapy Incorporated (CC30597) from the
  • Charities Register. Letter received by MThNZ December 2013.
  • Fletcher, H. & Molyneux, C. (2014) Council’s Response to the DIA’s Intention to Remove MThNZ from the Charities Register. MusT a newsletter from MThNZ. July/Aug 2014, pp. 5-7
  • Fletcher, H. (2014) Background Information Relating to MThNZ Strategic Planning January 2014. MThNZ Archives.
  • Fletcher, H. (2016) A brief history of Music Therapy governance and administration in New Zealand (1974-2016). New Zealand Journal of Music Therapy (14) pp10-24.
  • Krout, R. (2003) A Kiwi Odyssey: Music Therapy University Training in New Zealand Takes Flight. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Vol. 3(1) – Retrieved: 10th July 2016
  • New Zealand Society for Music Therapy (2013) Rules of the New Zealand Society for Music Therapy Incorporated Under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. MThNZ Resources.
  • Rickson, D. (2014) A Potted History of the NZSMT ETPP Forum (2004-2014). MusT a newsletter from MThNZ. Nov/Dec 2014, pp. 3-6

Please note: The accuracy of the information provided in this website has been subject to the documentation made available to us. We invite feedback as to any potential discrepancies, as we wish to use our website to uphold and honour our history.