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Prestigious Awards in Psychology

1 September, 2011

Prestigious Awards in Psychology

The New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) -the largest membership association for psychologists in New Zealand), offers awards for excellence in practice and research related to psychology and social justice issues.
Three prestigious awards were conferred on this year’s recipients at the New Zealand Psychological Society Conference held in Queenstown 20-23 August.

The Ballin Award
Dr Suzanne Blackwell –Auckland

Dr Suzanne Blackwell was awarded the Ballin Award. This award recognises a Member/Fellow of the Society who has made a notably significant contribution to the development or enhancement of clinical psychology in New Zealand. Dr Blackwell
has a long history of working collaboratively in criminal justice psychology in both New Zealand and Australia. She is widely recognised for her use of scientific research and clinical skills in forensic work with children and has thus facilitated the opening up of new areas for clinical psychologists in this country. As a consequence, the courts have become much more aware of the value provided by the skills that scientific and clinical psychology have to offer them. Of particular value is Dr Blackwell’s focus on ensuring that children’s evidence is most appropriately presented in the courts, and that their evidence should be understood by reference to psychological science. She is known for her integrity with respect to the collection of data, the arguments marshalled and the implications for psychological practice. Overall, Dr Blackwell is highly regarded as a scientist-practitioner and for her significant contributions to psychology and the legal profession.

The G.V. Goddard Award
Dr Dione Healey –University of Otago

This award recognizes early career achievement and excellence in research and scholarship in basic psychological science. In terms of both the quality and quantity of her published research, Dr Dione Healey is a very worthy recipient of the G.V. Goddard Award especially since she has generated excellent research in an area of clinical psychology where children with behavioural problems are very time-consuming research participants. Dr Healey has examined the predictors of impairment in hyperactive or inattentive children, and has shown for the first time that child temperament, parenting style and mother-child synchrony all contribute to symptom severity. Her research has important implications for treatment and has led her to develop a novel and promising treatment programme based on the training of self-regulatory skills in hyperactive preschoolers.

Dame Marie Clay Award
Professor Ian Evans –Massey University

The Dame Marie Clay Award recognises valuable contributions to educational and developmental psychology in NZPsS members through original research (researcher) the dissemination of research (teacher) or best practice (exemplary practitioner).
Over many years, Professor Ian Evans has contributed significantly to the development of both clinical and educational psychology through his research and teaching. In recent years he has led a research team investigating the role of primary school teachers in the development of children’s emotional competence. This team (comprising Drs Shane Harvey, Averil Herbert, Gillian Craven, David Bimler, Juliana Raskauskas and postgraduate students including Rachel Anderson, Liz Yan, Sarah Lee and Fiona Parkes) has explored how teachers create an emotionally warm classroom atmosphere and evaluate materials for enhancing relationships with their students. Through its emphasis on classroom climate, the project (entitled Te Aniwaniwa – the rainbow) has enabled a distinction to be drawn between this climate, and teaching and disciplinary styles. The research, spanning five years, will provide insights into factors which contribute to emotionally well-regulated classrooms and thus better learning outcomes. Professor Evans insists that all members of the research team must share the credit for the success of Te Aniwaniwa, and thus eligibility for this award.

President of the Society Frank O’Connor said today
“The Society is delighted to be able to recognise the scholarly and professional contributions made by Dr Blackwell, Dr Healey and Professor Evans to psychology. The academic and practical work of psychologists in mental health, human resources, education and many other areas is dependent upon a foundation of robust research and innovative practice and we proudly honour the work of the award recipients.

Karahipi Tumuaki –President’s Scholarship
The President’s scholarship is awarded to Māori postgraduate students who are active in the Māori community and who are enrolled for a degree requiring a piece of research as part of either a Masters or higher level post-graduate degree in psychology. The research must be Māori-centred and related to the betterment of the Māori community.

The recipient of the award is Tess Chalmers who is undertaking a doctorate in clinical psychology at Massey University.
Frank O’Connor said “it was a real pleasure to present the President’s Award to Tess Chalmers whose research topic explores the effectiveness of Waikeria Prison Māori Focus Unit in terms of a relationship between participation in the Māori Focus Unit (MFU) and attitudinal change, as well as provide data on MFU strengths and weaknesses to enable on-going improvements to the service and appropriate distribution of funds. Tess’ research contributes to the aims and objectives of the scholarship by encouraging research on areas of relevance to Maori, increasing research and research outputs by Maori scholars, and supporting an increase in the number of Maori psychologists.

Background to the New Zealand Psychological Society
The New Zealand Psychological Society is the largest professional association for psychologists in New Zealand. It has over 1000 members and aims to improve individual and community wellbeing by representing, promoting and advancing the scientific discipline and practice of psychology. For more information on the Society go to


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