Chair Update

Helen Dowthwaite

MThNZ Chair and NZ Registered Music Therapist

Tēnā koutou,

 It has been a continuous year of change for Music Therapy New Zealand, with changing tides and currents alongside gentle waves. We are seeing calmer, clearer waters ahead of us. It has been a productive, hectic but restorative time for all involved, with many strains on our voluntary Council members past and present, of for whose hard work, time, and energy we are most grateful. Due to various personal and professional commitments during the year, we have said goodbye to Council members Will, Lauren, Yvonne, and more recently Amanda, and Executive Officer, Lara.

Key aspects achieved this year include a fantastic in-person symposium, continuing to manage the implications of Covid-19, inducting new Council members, confirming our interim administration arrangements, more regular social media and website updates, and a highly successful MUSIC THERAPY WEEK, see the highlights here. Ka tau kē!

We are continuing to ensure promptness & transparency in our communication to our membership. We really want to encourage you all to utilise the website as much as possible, including the membership area and the NZ RMTh online forum. There is more to come on the website, including MThNZ video updates and regular posting of events, webinars, and professional development opportunities. We hope that the website will have all the information you could possibly need, as our portal to all things Music Therapy in NZ.

Council met online for a full-day meeting at the end of November, it was great to see such a depth of collective experience, professionalism, creativity, and an overall team approach. We established that MThNZ have some urgent priorities, we assure you we are listening carefully to members’ feedback, and please continue to communicate with us. We are reviewing and updating our rules, in accordance with the charitable and incorporated society legislations, progressing our bi-cultural discussion & partnerships, examining the feasibility of HPCA status, and examining flexible learning for the future. Professional Status: A pertinent issue among our profession is the HPCA Act, possibly amplified by Covid-19 struggles, a continuing lack of professional recognition within health sectors and the new government directions to the health system. The opinions of NZ RMThs are needed going forward at this crucial time – how do we move this along? We are looking at possible scoping projects to look at benefits and drawbacks, i.e., the cost to our NZRMTHs, and the opening doors for ACC, and other health settings. We are taking this seriously and have set up a working party, whose job will be to explore options of how MThNZ could possibly be restructured as a Professional Association, which may help our case. Unfortunately, our charitable status limits what we can do and provide for the music therapy profession. I believe there is a collective appetite for a professional body for Registered Music Therapists. An association could create new pathways, by supporting the profession even further, providing excellent professional development opportunities and a national conference, and further support for growing those working in private practice. As a first step, a survey will be circulated in March 2022, to explore current practice in NZ and to gain as much feedback as possible.

Bicultural Partnerships: Another very important area under development, is our Bicultural Partnerships. We are asking ourselves the hard questions. Is MThNZ truly embracing Te Ao Māori through our purpose and mission? Are we ensuring the principles of the Treaty are included in everything we do? We have reignited this conversation by having a short kōrero at the symposium. Our next step is to hear the voices of our members, and to create and understanding ways to consult and z who with. This could be the focus of our AGM workshops in August 2022. Our working group consists of Katie Pureti and Jasmine Tietjens, and we invite any other interested members to join. Our first online hui will be in February. In the meantime, please find share your feedback about the bicultural portfolio in our short survey, here. Katie has compiled resources into an accessible online database. Please use this this form to submit other resources. Our Communications and Engagement Strategy will be getting a long overdue overhaul. We will be examining further revenue streams and we would like to identify a potential MThNZ patron.

Other notices:

NZJMT The fantastic edition of the New Zealand Journal of Music Therapy, 19 (2021) has now been published online. We are so proud of this edition; we now have a pool of writers that are growing in confidence. The print edition will be sent to members in January 2022.

Moved house? Please go online and check your credentials under ‘My Account, and ‘Preferences’ to ensure you receive our email updates and your new journal.

IHC library: May Clulee and I will be updating some new resources for the IHC library. Check the IHC page in the Members’ Area of our website for updates.

Research SIG: Alison Talmage and team are meeting in the new year to plan a 2022 Research SIG webinar series. This will include a Q&A session with Grace Wyatt and Michelle Peat, author and illustrator of children’s book, Finding Grandpa’s Song, donated to MThNZ by Music Moves Me Trust. This book will be available to purchase online in January on the website.

Budget: Finally, we will be conducting a budget review in February. Portfolio groups and/or co-ordinators, please send any changes or special requests by January 31st to

Useful Links: Covid and care Webinar by NZ Dementia Foundation Call for Submissions for the 7th International Conference for the International Association for Music & Medicine.

Registrations for the 12th European Music Therapy Conference are open.

Chair Reports