The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy: An Historical Review

Article excerpt


The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy was first published in 1948 as the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Newsletter. This article reviews the history of the Journal with a focus on two themes. Firstly, the need for a professional voice, how this was manifest and reflective of change; secondly, the challenges of maintaining publication. As a national and international voice for occupational therapists the Journal fulfils a role as a disseminator of clinical and academic knowledge. Despite two periods of recess, the Journal has grown in stature to become a valuable asset to occupational therapists both in New Zealand and beyond.

Key words

New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, historical review


'He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times'

Frederick von Schiller (1759-1805) German dramatist and poet

Origins of NZJOT

An Advisory Committee, formed in 1944 to address the needs of occupational therapy training standards in New Zealand, led to an incorporated society being established on 29th June 1948. It was registered as the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists Inc. (NZAOT). The Occupational Therapy Act was passed in 1949 and the Occupational Therapy Board formed the following year. These events formalised the professional status of occupational therapy, thus providing impetus for a national Journal to represent the profession's voice.

First published as the 'New Zealand Occupational Therapy Newsletter' in September 1948, the Journal has since been published in several formats. A second edition followed in May 1949. By the 1950s the Newsletter with the subscript New Zealand Occupational Therapy Association was in publication, albeit with delays between editions. Between 1954 and 1962 the Newsletter Journal, 'Occupational Therapy', carried the subscript the Official Journal of the New Zealand Registered Occupational Therapists' Association (Inc). In 1960 the cover format was altered but the content remained essentially unchanged until August 1963, at which time the title New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy was printed on the inside page followed by a list of contents. By December 1972 the title became the Journal of the New Zealand Occupational Therapist's Association Inc. The title changed again in June 1977 to the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, with a small subscript reading 'the official publication of the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists Inc.' In 1978 the title reverted to the Journal of the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists Inc. The cover mistakenly read Journal of the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapy in 1981, but the inside title was correct, and the cover was corrected in 1982. In 1990 the current title the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy (NZJOT) was adopted.

The publication of NZJOT in its various forms has fluctuated according to the energy and willingness of members of the profession to support the publication process in a voluntary capacity. Between the years 1969-1972, and 1998-2002, NZJOT went into recess due to the lack of occupational therapists willing to undertake the editorial and committee roles. NZJOT was reestablished in 2002, with the literary editor financially supported by an honorarium from NZAOT.

Overview and comment 1940-1950

The urgent rehabilitative needs of returning servicemen and women brought occupational therapy to the attention of the medical profession, allied health professions and the public. As a result, expansion of occupational therapy services was encouraged by the Mental Hygiene Division of the Health Department throughout the Mental Hospital Services. Various descriptions of therapy were published at the time. The first known article offered the following definition: "Occupational therapy is treatment given to aid in the recovery of those unfortunate people who suffer from some mental or physical disorder". …


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