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Hodgson: Farewell to Occupational Therapy Chair

Farewell to Kitty Marshall, Chair of the Occupational Therapy Board

Thank you for inviting me here this evening to farewell Kitty and to celebrate her dedicated service to the Board and the profession of occupational therapy in New Zealand.


Occupational Therapy in New Zealand has been extremely fortunate to have a leader of vision and inspiration in Kitty Marshall.

Most of your will be well familiar with her achievements since her appointment as a Board member in 1999, and as Chair since 2001. This period covered the successful transition for the Board to a body corporate and the successful implementation of the requirements of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA).

A good governance Board fulfils its role and functions but under Kitty there has been a culture of striving to exceed its statutory obligations. This sort of leadership comes from a desire to serve. It is evident that Kitty's appointment as a Board member was not for professional recognition or status, or because it would look good on her CV. It was definitely not for the money, as she never charged for many hours spent on Board work, but because she is dedicated to work for the occupational therapy profession.

Whereas HPCAA was the catalyst for many to give serious thought to programmes of continuing competence and cultural competence, this has not been the case with the OTBNZ. A number of years before HPCAA, the Board, together with the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists, developed a professional development programme called Cornerstone. It defined entry-level competencies for registration, developed a Code of Ethics, and implemented a cultural competence assessment. At the time the Board was working under the Occupational Therapy Act 1949, a piece of legislation which did not even mention 'competence'!

The Board has been the first of all the Health Authorities to implement on-line applications, payments, and continuing competence framework. This facilitates recording competence achievements while practitioners practice overseas. A recent report on 'best practice' for Regulatory Authorities, acknowledges the OTBNZ and its achievements in utilising IT and also being one of three Boards with effective risk management strategies. (The other two are the Medical Council and the Dental Council).

Kitty has given much during her time with the Board, always ready to step into the breach, for example, adopting many additional activities when the Board was operating without full membership for nearly two years and spending many days and nights on Board work, not charging the Board for much of that work.

Under Kitty as Chair, the Board has gained respect from the occupational therapy profession and recognition from other professions both nationally and internationally in its accomplishments with the implementation of HPCAA.

The OTBNZ is recognised as leaders by the Australians, who have also adopted many of the NZ boards' policies and the competence framework. Canadian, Americans and Scottish Boards have also approached OTBNZ to discuss the achievements in demonstrating competence and innovations in the use of IT.

Kitty has been an excellent Chair, and a respected leader of the occupational therapy profession. I am pleased she will still be involved in Board work through her willingness to continue as needed on Competence Review Panels or Professional Conduct Committees and equally pleased that Kitty will continue to offer her services, as an occupational therapist, to the public.

Thank you Kitty for your service and good luck for the future.


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