Our People

At OTNZ - WNA, our strength lies in our diverse and dedicated community. Our people, including occupational therapists, professionals, students, and passionate advocates, are the driving force behind our mission to empower lives through occupation. Together, we form a vibrant and collaborative network committed to promoting excellence in occupational therapy practice, advocating for the profession, and supporting one another in making a positive impact in the lives of individuals across Aotearoa. Explore the stories, experiences, and expertise of our community members as they contribute to the heart and soul of Occupational Therapy New Zealand.

Renaldo Christians, Executive Director

I believe my primary role is to make sure that our current and future occupational therapists can deliver their critical health service by removing barriers and providing enabling supporting services for their professional as well as personal lives. Using my experience in other health professions as well as a strong understanding of government I I'm able to represent the association in the most effective manner across Aotearoa.

Allie Silcock, Relationship Manager

I often get asked what do I get out of belonging to the association? And the answer is simple. You get whatever you are willing to put in yourself.  The association holds opportunities for you to grow through developing skills on committees, excelling yourself to become a leader by being on council and serving the term to see the association grow. It offers you a chance to network not only with peers in Aotearoa but also the world and with potential new employers. It gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and have a voice in the industry that you have trained in.

Grace O’Sullivan, Editor NZ Journal of Occupational Therapy and OT Insight Magazine.

It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that the work I do not only supports the association, but it also upholds the profile of the profession. I have been a member of Occupational Therapy New Zealand-Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa for many years because I consider it to be an asset to the profession. The association ensures occupational therapy holds its place in the health field on a local, national, and global level. In other words, the association promotes the interests of occupational therapists through advocacy at a political level, as well as offering benefits such as: Indemnity insurance, learning opportunities, collegiality and community. I found that access to opportunities for networking and interacting with others through special interest groups and conferences to be very valuable as a practicing clinician.

I am a great believer in the power of stories, they are one of the best ways to facilitate understanding of how to apply learning in practice. I tend to think that being a good communicator is one of the most powerful skills in the world. So, on behalf of the association, I believe it is the editor's responsibility to maintain the reputation of occupational therapists in New Zealand by ensuring that the articles published in the NZJOT and OT Insight are easy to read and understand, come from a trusted source, and have utility and value for the profession. I am always looking to publish stories that unleash the power of occupational therapy. Do you have a story to share? Your contributions as authors and critical readers are essential to the continued success of the publications so manuscripts, feedback, and comments are all welcome.

Christine Pacey, Tangata Tiriti President

Council Member
I am honored to be a member of OTNZ-WNA as a Tangata Tiriti Council Member. I am from Glasgow and moved to New Zealand with my family in 2003 following a career as a community occupational therapist and a manager for disability services. I currently work as a Team Coordinator with a Hospice but have had the privilege to have worked within a small rural hospital as a team leader for occupational therapists and as a private occupational therapist. I have always found that my professional qualification has opened many doors to different experiences and I also love to hear and promote alternate job opportunities. I have recently moved from Central Otago to Dunedin and I look forward to networking with local therapists. As an occupational therapist, joining the association can help you in a myriad of ways; you have a wider voice for your profession, it gives you networking opportunities and access to education, and of course each member has access to $50,000 Life Cover/Terminal Illness cover with every child of a member being covered for $5,000 Kids Trauma Cover free.

Janine Appleby, Tangata Tiriti Council Member

Council Member
As an OTNZ-WNA Tangata Tiriti Council Member I am privileged to have the opportunity to meet occupational therapists from all walks of life. I am keen to hear their experiences, learn about the diversity of their skills, and what motivates and inspires them. We have such a diverse range of skills and vocational roles across the whole profession, belonging to the association is a great way to showcase all of these. In my current employed role as a Dementia Advisor with Dementia New Zealand I work outside some of the traditional boundaries of being an "occupational therapist kaiwhakaora ngangahau", so I see the association as sustaining my connection with the profession and core values within occupational therapy. It is not until you step out of the traditional roles that you truly realize what value you bring to health and social care services. I am also particularly passionate about the delivery of services rurally in Aotearoa, and our contribution as Allied Health professionals, can be key to that meaningful and effective delivery. Be brave, be courageous because what we do adds value to the lives of whanau engaging with our services.

Dan Johnson, WFOT Tangata Tiriti Delegate

Council Member
For me, belonging to the association for the past 3 years has meant many things. Here are some of the things that spring to mind and are not in any particular order:

- accessing opportunities to learn about governance and strategic decision-making,
- getting the opportunity to learn about co-governance through different perspectives
- having a 'voice at the table' when discussing the future of the profession
- creating new opportunities for learning and development for members

There have been so many diverse and varied learning opportunities as a council member and perhaps one of the greatest benefits to date has been the ability to meet new people and make new relationships with a range of different people. Having the opportunity to represent members at both national and international levels was an absolute honor.

Christine Guttenbeil, Tangata Whenua WFOT Delegate

Council Member
I am privileged to have the opportunity to be a member of the OTNZWNA. It’s a great opportunity to share knowledge, ideas, and passion with likeminded people, in hopes to positivity impact our profession and the wider community as well as developing a range of skills along the way.

Yasmin Sadler, Tangata Whenua Council Member

Council Member
My experience with the association to date has been positive and inspiring. What I have valued most are the connections made with other Kaiwhakaora Ngangahau who are committed to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and supporting a treaty relationship model to thrive within the organization and the profession. My goals is to continue that working partnership and to afford safe spaces for Te Ao Māori to be present and practiced not only by Tangata Whenua, but Tangata Tiriti as well so that we can all learn and grow together. I am passionate about developing Māori within the profession and want to ensure that they feel and are supported by the association, and that their concerns and aspirations are not only heard but acted on.