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It is ten years since I first started volunteering for Music Therapy New Zealand (MThNZ) – on the now disbanded Education, Training & Professional Practice Forum (ETPP). Since then I have literally worked my way around all the MThNZ committees, ending up as President in 2014. In that time, I have been involved in a number of projects that have contributed to the development of MThNZ and promotion of music therapy in New Zealand. I am both proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to serve my chosen profession in this way. It has also been an enriching and enjoyable experience. However, it is now time to pass on the mantle.

With the elections for Council and President coming up at the beginning of September, please take the time to consider whether or not you could also contribute to music therapy in this way.

This year’s AGM will take place on Saturday 1st September at Epsom Community Hall,
202 Gillies Ave, Epsom, Auckland, starting at 9.30am. As well as some time for networking and socialising, I will be talking about music therapy and Allied Health and the importance of strengthening our identity as an Allied Health profession. I very much hope to see you there.

Of course, there are many ways people can support the cause of music therapy and we are very fortunate to have had a number of high profile advocates over the years. One of these being MThNZ Life Member – Marjorie Orchiston – and we were delighted to learn that Marjorie was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to music therapy and piano playing. We congratulate Marjorie on this prestigious award.

I would also like to acknowledge Peta Wellstead, Friend member of MThNZ. Peta has worked closely with MThNZ to set up ‘Ronnie’s Fund’ to support the development of music therapy in the Nelson / Marlborough region and we have had access to her expertise on the Communications Digital working group.

On a different note, it was with great sadness we also learned of the passing of two key figures in music therapy. Pioneering music therapist – Mercédès Pavlicevic – a teacher, mentor and inspiration to music therapists around the world and passionate advocate for music as social action. The name may be familiar to some, as Mercédès published several books on music therapy and ran a live course here in New Zealand some years ago. Closer to home, our own President Emeritus, Judith White – dedicated supporter of music therapy and friend to many music therapists. A tribute to Judith will be published in the next edition of MusT.

These are just four champions of music therapy – there are many more. I believe we all have something valuable to offer the profession beyond our day to day work, whether you are a music therapist or supporter of music therapy. Whilst I will be stepping down from Council and the role of President at the end of this term, I will be continuing to work for the advancement of music therapy in New Zealand as I take on new challenges in my work and look to undertake further study.

Ngā mihi nanui
Heather Fletcher
President, MThNZ