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Psychologists Prepared To Manage COVID-19 Threats To NZ Society’s Well-being

Finding innovative ways to deliver psychological support to New Zealanders during the COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns was a key topic at the 2020 New Zealand Psychological Society’s (NZPsS) first virtual conference and awards recently.

The COVID-19 virus and local lockdowns meant the Society’s annual conference had to move to an online format, but this did not deter more than 300 professional psychologists from registering for its various sessions.

“Overall, the conference was successful, especially considering it was our first virtual conference and AGM,” comments Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki who was elected as the Society’s new president at the conference.

A long-time member of the NZPsS, Dr Waitoki is highly respected for the energy and passion she brings to the role of president. Waikato University clinical psychologist, Dr Waitoki, has made significant contributions to the development of culturally safe, effective theory and practice in clinical psychology achieved through the advancement of indigenous psychologies here and overseas.

Dr Waitoki said the conference attracted just over 100 on any one session - including reps from the global psychology leadership team and the Society’s partners around the world.

COVID-19 and other ‘invisible’ threats to society were hot topics at the conference which covered indigenous and international responses; their impact on mental health and disproportionate impacts on marginalised communities.

University of Otago psychologist, Dr Tia Neha is this year’s recipient of the G V Goddard Early Career Award from the New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS).

Dr Neha was presented with her award in recognition of her early career achievements in applied and professional psychology. She specialises in educational psychology particularly Māori children’s learning.

Other 2020 award recipients were: Dr Julia Ioane (the Public Interest Award);Dr Rebecca J. Sargisson (the Public Interest Award); Olivia Yates (Postgraduate Student Social Justice Research Scholarship); and Alana Haenga O’Brien (Karahipi Tumuaki President’s Scholarship. In addition, the Society named four new Fellows Dr Jacqueline Feather, Janet Peters, Quentin Abraham and Honorary Fellow Dr Niki Harre.

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