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The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy: an historical review.


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". The article concluded, "In this country occupational therapy is in its infancy, but it will be seen by this short account, many sufferers may benefit from its application" (Inman, 1940, pp. 354-355). Also in 1940, the New Zealand Freelance published an article describing "this revolutionary work called occupational therapy" (Anonymous, p. 10). The role of the occupational therapist was seen as one suited to a specialist nurse.

Under the leadership of Hazel Barton the first editor, the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Newsletter aimed to encourage membership, minimise the professional isolation of therapists due to geographical distances, as well as provide information about professional development and trends (Barton, 1948). The Newsletter consisted of five cyclostyled pages printed on both sides, with contributions coming from occupational therapists in New Zealand and Australia. It included papers from therapists and students working in psychiatry, tuberculosis hospitals and with the blind. The informal communications reflected the isolation experienced by therapists at that time. Barton contributed a paper on her postgraduate studies undertaken in Canada in 1945 writing about lectures she attended and clinical experiences.

The second edition, published in May 1949 under the editorship of Norah Hobcroft, a member of the first NZAOT Executive, was described by Skilton (nee Barton) in her book Work for Your Life (1981, p.54) as "much grander ... and printed on better quality paper". It was in this Newsletter that the question of professionalism was first raised and led to plans for the first Convention being published in 1950 (cited in Riorden & Gordon, 1990, p.56).


The quality of the Journal was addressed by Joyce Rosser in her editorial in 1955. As was customary throughout this period, the Journal was collated and published by one of four regional Branches, each taking responsibility for the publication of a quarterly edition. Difficulties in procuring sufficient articles for publication were brought to the attention of the profession. Rosser specifically requested "manuscripts at any time, of any length describing, case histories and practical ideas" (p. 3). She encouraged occupational therapists not to be complaisant about their practice, rather to use new ideas as a source of enrichment. In a later article A Short History of Occupational Therapy in New Zealand (Rosser, 1956) concluded, "the future development of occupational therapy as an indispensable aid to recovery of health of mind and body in New Zealand is assured" (p. 9).

Early in 1959, Frances Rutherford described the implementation of the three year training course at the Auckland School of Occupational Therapy. Her hope was that, "the Journal will publish some of the excellent papers written by the students for their weekly seminars" (p. 9). Although this did not eventuate, the NZJOT continued to be published throughout the 1950s, but often without an editorial or list of contents.


In the early part of the 1960s a few editorials were written, but there was no list of contents published in the Journal. In general, papers reflected NZAOT business rather than clinical and academic work. However, by 1965 letters to the Editor were being published, and an increase in clinical papers finally became apparent. Writing from Canada, Hobcroft (1965a) took the profession to task following some negative feedback at the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Conference. She wrote:
 Investigation and research can convert beliefs into knowledge ...
 eliminate practices that may prove to be uneconomical and wasteful,
 as well as provide records of successful results ... I suggest you
 continue to strive for university affiliation for the School of
 Occupational Therapy ... to follow university courses leading to
 degrees. I hope ... to return ... to a healthy and vigorous
 professional climate (p .3).

A further critique of NZJOT and the profession came from de Morree (1965), who wondered if occupational therapists were content to remain at the lowest professional level possible. She focused on the lack of information concerning clinical practice: "Why is our magazine in the state it is? Glancing through the last few editions there are few articles of any [clinical] importance at all". She also asked, "why don't we share and contribute? Knowledge accumulates knowledge, so let our magazine be our source of knowledge" (p. 2). The newly appointed literary editor, Mason (1965), supported de Morree when she wrote in her editorial "let our Journal be a source of knowledge" (p. 4). Mason reminded readers that NZJOT was read internationally, and that the practice of New Zealand occupational therapists was judged by its content.

A few therapists continued to drive the pursuit of clinical expertise. Hobcroft (1965b) in response to de Morree's letter raised the need to progress from generalised description (content) in professional papers to consideration of processes. That is, "less of the what and more of the how and why" (p. 13). Hobcroft wrote bluntly and provocatively in an endeavour to energise the profession: "in all the fields of treatment there can be no absolutes, and only thoughtful exploration of why we do what we do, will lead to professional maturity" (p. 13).

A landmark paper appeared in the Journal in 1965. Ballin's 'Research Anyone', challenged occupational therapists to recognise they are "engaged in various experimental tasks of their own, but this work could often be of greater use if it were more strictly organised and evaluated" (p. 5). Ballin presented the premise that occupational therapists were already engaged in data collection, and had the skills to progress in collaboration with other professions.

Once again Hobcroft (1966) raised contentious issues in a letter to NZJOT. Following discussions concerning gender issues and the role of an occupational therapist: she wrote, "for secure professional development, we need not only male therapists but people with higher education, so that we may have the 'thinkers' as well as the 'doers' to complement each other" (p. 16). Hobcroft persisted in confronting the profession with the need for professionalism in practice. In a reasoned and referenced two part paper (Hobcroft, 1967a; 1967b) addressed the issue of work [occupation] as an "anchor for identity, as a vehicle for social play, and a significant refuge against formless fantasy and vague anxiety" (1967a, p. 11).

Throughout this time the Journal continued to be published quarterly by the four regional branches, with occasional editorials and lists of contents. Papers, not always credited, were sourced from local occupational therapists, as well as other professional people. Letters and book reviews were included. Editorials reminded occupational therapists of the need for papers to publish. In 1969 the NZJOT was upgraded from the small, slim Journal of previous years to a larger edition with a clear readable cover, which would support an increase in the content and quality of material published. The frequency of publication changed from quarterly to biannually at this time.

In a guest editorial Rutherford (1969) discussed occupational therapists' critical evaluation of their work to facilitate improvement in clinical practice. The idea concurred with the need to maintain a forward looking academic curriculum. Rutherford also suggested the increasing number of occupational therapists involved in research projects, were a valuable resource for publication. During this period most published papers tended to be descriptive with limited referencing. However, reflecting comments from previous decades (de Morree, 1965; Hobcroft, 1965a; Rosser, 1956), Farrands and Price (1969) posed the question, "Are our assessments valid?" (p. 20), with reference to assessing personal care skills of older people. Concerned about the degree of subjectivity in current assessments they presented a rated method of assessment, which was not only valid and reliable but also projected a professional image. They advocated standardisation was essential to achieve reliability.


Following a recess between 1969 and 1972 the NZJOT resumed publication with increased professionalism and content. Editors exhorted members to be aware of the changing emphasis in health care, and to adjust their practice accordingly. Letters to the editor brought new ideas and reinforced the known. Here again, Hobcroft (1972) wrote about the manner in which NZJOT reflected national identity. She advocated for increased professional involvement in order to strengthen negotiating power in employment discussions. Gordon (1974) also put several salient points before the readership. She envisaged greater recognition of occupational therapy through professional growth. In reality, professional standards rested on postgraduate education, research and publication, which in turn depended on the will of occupational therapists to pursue higher education.

Also writing in 1974, the then literary editor Gibbs, commented that occupational therapists were responding to political and social change through their roles as advisors and practical therapists in the community. She recommended that more members should be involved in research and evaluation of practice, to ensure our quality of care, and professionalism are retained. These points were reinforced and elucidated by the following literary editor Davidson (1975) in her address to the NZAOT Conference in Dunedin, especially in regard to education, research and community involvement.

Published research papers remained scarce although Reinken and De Gilio (1975) did discuss procedures and analysis for research within an occupational therapy context, providing an example to support their argument. Similarly, Haddon and Light (1975) presented a clear argument outlining the role of the occupational therapy service in response to a request for information. The need to define the role of occupational therapy for fellow professional workers and the public was a concern repeatedly expressed in papers, letters to the editor and editorials. Editors continued to actively seek and request quality papers for publication, to maintain a clinical balance in each publication. Greenfield (1976) wrote, "Although we have grown as a profession since 1974, it is due to a few dedicated women. The apathy spoken of then, exists today, and it seems to me that it is one of our worst problems" (p. 2).

The NZAOT Insight commenced publication in 1978 as the Publicity Newsletter. It provided a forum for information originally included in the Journal including job vacancies, courses, professional development opportunities, and discussion of legislation pertinent to the profession.


Throughout the 1980s NZJOT continued to reflect changes within the profession. Refocusing the Journal in 1981 marked a significant change in presentation and content largely due to the new editor, Mary Anne Boyd who set out to reflect improved standards of practice in occupational therapy. During her term as editor, NZJOT increased in size, and papers were referenced with abstracts. Boyd sourced papers from international writers such as Llorens (1981), and King (1982). Findings from a postal survey of New Zealand occupational therapists' seeking their attitude to work roles were also presented (Boyd, 1981).

In a guest editorial, De Gilio (1981), vice-president of NZAOT, stated that through NZJOT "change can be encouraged, made realistic and objective, and [assist] develop[ment of] the profession" (p. 2). This belief was echoed by Saville-Smith (1981), NZAOT president who suggested occupational therapy was in a state of transition while working in a climate of reduced funding to health services. She also affirmed it was essential for therapists to record and publicise their work in a manner which "carries with it the weight of properly reasoned and attested fact" (p. 2). Endorsing these statements, Gordon (1984) who was then president of NZAOT, wrote: "at this time of crisis it is imperative that the NZAOT is strong, united and speaks with one voice" (p. 2).

Growth continued with the appointment in 1982 of a second literary editor, Simon Horrocks, an occupational therapist with a background in journalism. An ISSN number was obtained in 1983, and a Printed Elsewhere column was started, albeit intermittently. The NZAOT Frances Rutherford Lecture Award was also developed in 1983 to honour the outstanding contribution made by Miss Frances Rutherford to the profession of occupational therapy in New Zealand. This prestigious award continues to encourage occupational therapists in their professional careers and to give recognition to those who have made a significant contribution in their specialist field of occupational therapy (NZAOT, 2007). The first Lecture Award was presented by Boyd at the 1984 NZAOT Conference, and was subsequently published in the Journal.

Boyd relinquished the editor's role in 1984 to Rowena Scaletti, who was later joined by Carolyn Simmons Carlsson. Scaletti (1984) wrote of the professional gains the NZJOT had made during Boyd's term as editor, and of the secure base created for future development. Continuing the process of refinement in the development of NZJOT, Scaletti and Simmons Carlsson (1988) outlined further changes to the management and editorial structure of the Journal in order to ease the workload and minimise costs. They stated:
 growth of a profession must be seen as going hand-in-hand with
 research and publication. Occupational therapists must publish to
 bring the attention of peers and others to their professional
 growth. The ability to set time aside to write for publication is a
 professional asset (p. 2).

Extending this statement Cowan (1989) Convenor of the Jubilee Conference wrote:
 in a time of major cuts in health funding, and changes in health
 care provision ... we need to be able to justify [our work] to
 others and ourselves ... and to provide data for future planning of
 occupational therapy services. We need to develop a sense of pride
 in our profession (p. 2).

Increasingly, issues other than those related to clinical practice were addressed. For example, writing for publication (Gibson-Smith, 1984-85), and accessing medical and health library resources in New Zealand (Dewe, 1988). The commencement of the Research and Education fund (Mace, Milne & Scaletti, 198485) encouraged therapists not only to invest in their profession, but also to access funding for research. A Guide for Authors first appeared in NZJOT (1983-84) and Guidelines for Referees were re-produced courtesy of the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (AOTJ), in NZJOT (1988).

During this decade editors continued to wonder why, when an increased number of occupational therapists had improved knowledge, experience and clinical expertise, few were prepared to share their understandings (Scaletti & Carlsson-Simmons, 1988; Boyd, 1983-84). Establishment of the Advanced Diploma in Occupational Therapy in 1987 improved the situation to some extent. Scaletti and Craig (1990), editors of the Commemorative issue of the NZJOT described the 1980s as "characterized by a marked growth in the quality and quantity of papers being offered for publication. These papers discussed issues of the times, and reflected changes in education, clinical practice, management and future directions for occupational therapy" (p. 55). The drive from NZJOT editors, committee members and volunteers throughout the 1980s ensured the content and presentation of the Journal continued to progress.


The Commemorative issue of NZJOT, 1990 was published to celebrate 50 years of occupational therapy in New Zealand. Valerie Wright-St. Clair, president of NZAOT at that time, wrote in the guest editorial:
 this Journal has been produced as a literary montage of articles
 which reflect the history and development of the profession over
 our first 50 years. The Journal acknowledges some of our colleagues
 who have made a significant contribution to occupational therapy in
 New Zealand ... our future is limited only by our visions, our
 energy and our commitment to making our future happen (p. 5).

In late 1989 Clare Hocking joined Carolyn Simmons Carlsson, and Wendy Hindmarsh as literary editor, and for a while Scaletti held a consultancy position. Eventually Hocking took sole responsibility for the role in 1991. Later, summarising the ongoing developments within NZJOT, Hocking (1991) commented, "I recognise NZJOT is only one part in the continuing development of the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists" (p. 2). This comment highlighted the professional partnership between NZJOT and NZAOT. A significant issue Hocking recognised was establishing the academic level at which NZJOT could optimally function and still maintain support and readership. There was active debate concerning the standard to which the Journal should aspire. Some suggested it should be set at a standard equal to the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (AJOT), others indicated that NZJOT be used as a vehicle for emerging authors.

In light of this debate and Hocking's awareness that NZJOT was a visible part of New Zealand occupational therapy's international reputation, issues of quality were addressed. In the early 1990s articles within the Journal were divided into two major sections: Feature Article and Clinical Focus. The purpose for this change was twofold. To maximise the limited number of articles available for publication, and to maintain consistent formatting with the American, Australian, and Canadian occupational therapy journals. A cumulative index for 1983-1993, was published in 1994, and recorded references by author, title, and subject.

New challenges included the need to encourage occupational therapists to be agents of change in order to attain best practice. Changes could be managed in practice (Dever, 1991), as well as through involvement in education, research, quality control and management (Becker, 1991). The abolition of the NZAOT branches also prompted Keen and Hocking (1993), to urge therapists to become members of the Association, to get involved, to invest time and energy in initiatives that would benefit the development of practice, and ultimately promote the profession.

In November 1993, the Otago Polytechnic Occupational Therapy Department commenced the bi-annual publication of another Journal--Occupation. In the inaugural editorial Yeats and Caulton stated, "This journal arose out of a need which we, here in Dunedin in 1993, felt was not being met for us" (p. 2). While some articles published in Occupation may have met acceptance criteria for NZJOT, it espoused a different philosophical orientation and purpose. It was intended to complement existing occupational therapy journals, and had clear expectations concerning referencing and copyright.

In the latter years only about half of NZJOT's content originated from New Zealand, prompting discussion about amalgamation of the Journal with the AOTJ. At this time the current editors, Hocking, Nicholson and Horsford (1997) raised issues previously brought to the attention of NZJOT readers by other editors (Cowan, 1989; Gibbs, 1974; Gordon, 1984, 1974; Hobcroft, 1972; Scaletti & Simmons Carlsson, 1988). That is, "... occupational therapists need to work together to keep each other informed of political, social, and organisational changes which impact on our practice ... we need to be proactive in creating a future" (p. 4).

Hocking resigned as editor at the end of 1997. After seven years in this role, the declining pool of occupational therapists prepared to serve NZJOT voluntarily, ultimately increased the workload of those who remained, making the position untenable. This became a major contributing factor in Hocking's decision. At the time NZJOT was said to be one of the longest standing, occupational therapy journals internationally (Hocking, 2007).

NZJOT was placed in recess at the end of 1997 until 2002 and in its absence OT Insight continued to be published monthly from February to December. This provided a second tier publication with NZJOT, conforming to the international trend within the occupational therapy profession. Insight contained a variety of regular columns, a professional development calendar, a forum for current issues, employment opportunities, and treatment equipment.

2000 and onwards

At the request of NZAOT, and financially supported by an honorarium, Samson Tse undertook the role of NZJOT Literary editor from March 2002. The policy of NZAOT and NZJOT was clearly stated from the outset.
 The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy is a refereed
 journal dedicated to the publication of high quality national and
 international articles that are grounded in practice. Articles
 should provide practical, hands-on information representative of
 all fields of occupational therapy. We invite practitioners,
 researchers, teachers, students and users of services to submit
 manuscripts that provide a forum to discuss or debate issues
 relevant to occupational therapy (Guidelines for Authors, 2002, p.

Re-establishing the Journal with a clearly defined scope was seen to be prudent. Wilson (2002) later suggested that having a clearly defined policy may assist in continuing publication of NZJOT. However, Tse (2002) made it clear that for the publication of a quality Journal to be sustained, full and active participation from all occupational therapists, overseas and in New Zealand, was required. Similarly, the president of NZAOT Gayle Moulder (2002) saw the potential for NZJOT to become a living professional document through the support of all occupational therapists.

The extensive in-depth review and analysis of NZJOT written by Wilson in 2002, focused on themes concerning women's ways of knowing and processes of institutionalisation. Wilson provided insights into the difficulties maintaining publication of NZJOT, and how these may be addressed. She asked, "are expectations of the editors ... in step with, or responsive to, the needs of [the] profession in New Zealand" (p. 11). Most pertinently she questioned "is the profession large enough to support both NZJOT and Insight?" (p. 12). However the Otago Journal Occupation was not included in this query.

After three years as editor Tse relinquished the position in March 2005 to Grace O'Sullivan. In his final editorial Tse encouraged occupational therapists and students to continue debating issues raised in the Journal and to realise that NZJOT through its contributors had a unique place in the international scene. In these years the Journal had strived to publish a wide range of topics from New Zealand and overseas contributors. Papers reflected contemporary professional issues such as ongoing competence to practice (Hocking & Rigby, 2002), the relationship between client and therapist (Paddy, Wright-St. Clair, & Smythe, 2002), cultural safety (Jungerson, 2002), and health care ethics (Elkin, 2002) to name but a few.

Enduring themes in occupational therapy literature, such as creativity and a belief in the creative spirit, together with the relationship between objects and identity, were revisited by Hocking (2005). The relationship between objects and identity was well known and used as medium for change by early occupational therapists. Hocking hypothesised that at the time limited knowledge of theory and research methodologies, compounded by a simplistic educational structure, lead to a paucity of research in this area. Hocking's theory supported an earlier paper by Ballin (1965) in which she challenged the profession to be aware of the need to pay attention to these areas of practice and research.

O'Sullivan's (2005) first editorial as literary editor of NZJOT drew attention to the extensive support available to potential authors. She encouraged writers to seek support from reviewers and to use the NZJOT Guidelines for Authors (2002). In the same edition Wright-St. Clair and Hocking (2005) published the findings from an NZAOT Conference writing workshop. Three main categories which inhibit writing were identified and included: personal energy and confidence, perceived knowledge and skill, and environmental barriers. The benefits of writing for publication included:

* Professional knowledge developed through publication of practice experiences and research findings.

* Personal growth, contributing to others' understandings and showcasing practice in New Zealand.

Wright-St. Clair and Hocking encouraged occupational therapists in New Zealand to realise they have knowledge worth sharing. Whilst "the process can seem mysterious and intimidating" (p. 4), publishing is a mandate for best practice. The findings of this workshop reflected survey results from an earlier study which indicated that respondents need a more supportive writing and publishing process (Wilson, 2002).

In a later editorial O'Sullivan (2006) asked the questions, "What is the role of our professional Journal?", "What content and professional standard is required?" (pp. 3-4). O'Sullivan suggested that the role of NZJOT is to publish current clinical and academic knowledge from national and international sources. She indicated that by sharing knowledge and experience, occupational therapy practice in New Zealand can become more firmly grounded in practice. It would seem the debate around the role and the academic standards of NZJOT continues.

Professionalism: The need for a cohesive voice

Issues concerning professionalism were raised in the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Newsletter as early as 1949. The original purpose of NZJOT was to minimise professional isolation, make available new knowledge and trends, and develop a cohesive professional voice. That focus remains the same today. The partnership of publishing and education is well noted in NZJOT literature. As early as 1965 Hobcroft advocated for university affiliation with the School of Occupational Therapy. Similarly, in the early 1970s Rutherford suggested repositioning the school within the College of Education.

Although many New Zealand occupational therapists viewed NZJOT as the national repository of academic knowledge, Journal editors had to look to overseas journals for benchmark standards. This practice gave rise to criticism that the Journal content did not meet readers' needs. In particular, that NZJOT was too academic with insufficient practical papers. Conversely, although editors published guidelines for authors, useful references and 'how to' papers over the years, few manuscripts were submitted from practising therapists.

Membership of the occupational therapy profession carries with it the responsibility of best practice for clients, self and others. For this reason occupational therapists in New Zealand must create a body of published work as a strong foundation for the future. As the standard of education for occupational therapists has improved the quality of manuscripts published in NZJOT has equally improved. It has been said that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. This is borne out by the idea that words endure, and are read over time, they stand as a testament, a measure of occupational therapy in New Zealand.

Maintaining publication of the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy

From the beginning editorial committees have struggled to maintain publication of NZJOT. Despite this struggle, and periods of recess, NZJOT remains in publication. This gives rise to two questions:

1. What issues destabilise publication of the Journal?

2. How were the issues resolved?

1. Destabilising factors

The primary destabilising factor for NZJOT in the past has been the insufficient number of available and acceptable papers submitted for publication. Writing in 1955, Rosser called for a mind-shift whereby new ideas were taken as a source of enrichment. That is, embrace them as a means of growth, maturity and professional identity.

Lack of support from New Zealand practising therapists has been a consistent problem throughout the history of NZJOT, although to a lesser degree when publication was regionally based. The fact that NZJOT administration moved from Christchurch to Auckland in the 1980s, and has remained there apart from a brief period in Dunedin, may have fractured regional alliances to some extent. Despite this editors and writers continue to exhort occupational therapists to write about clinical practice. Workshops were facilitated to encourage and inspire therapists. Writing for publication is perceived as a professional responsibility (Hocking & Scaletti, 1991; Wright-St. Clair & Hocking, 2005). As Wright-St. Clair and Hocking (2005) stated, "the potential for professional knowledge is at best, unrealised and at worst, fails to enable best safe practice for consumers" (p. 4).

The commencement of OT Insight in 1978 withdrew copy from NZJOT. The separation of business and clinical/academic information placed a further responsibility on practising therapists for contributions. These days OT Insight also publishes papers to a lesser standard than that required by NZJOT, and this may be a disincentive to pursue scholarly writing. Occupation, which has now ceased publication, further divided the small writing pool in New Zealand.

2. Stabilising factors

A key factor for maintaining publication of NZJOT undoubtedly lies in the support provided by NZAOT, together with the dedication and commitment of occupational therapists who have given freely of their time. The vision for, and promotion of, NZJOT continues to enhance the growth of the profession by endorsing the commitment to research, writing and publication.

The literary editor is essential for the production of NZJOT. The role is time consuming and requires drive, enthusiasm, commitment, and the ability to motivate others, as well as writing skills. For these reasons an honorarium is justified. The responsibility is considerable, which may be why, despite the ongoing support from editorial committees and volunteers, some literary editors in the past have burnt out and resigned. Traditionally the role was filled by invitation from the incumbent editor to an occupational therapist deemed to be skilled, willing and available. The ad hoc nature of succession often led to a lack of consistency and knowledge between editors.

When publication of NZJOT was regionally based there was a sense of ownership, of 'belonging'. Regions undertook to provide the content, arranging publication and mail outs. Journals were published quarterly and personal contacts prevailed. This sense of camaraderie was lost when administration moved to Auckland. However new strategies have been put in place to support emerging authors. For instance, writers are encouraged to submit manuscript drafts for review so that the editor and / or reviewers can provide feedback that will potentially help to shape the final article. Papers with more than one author demonstrate collaboration between therapists. In addition, the Guidelines for Authors are now published in each edition of the Journal.


Since its inception in 1948 as the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Newsletter, the Journal has evolved into a vigorous, professional publication. Occupational therapists who championed NZJOT have relentlessly pursued professional growth aligned with best practice, education, research and publication.

In accordance with NZAOT policy (2002), the Journal content reflects professional changes and progress, as well as being a forum for discussion. The aim is to publish high quality national and international articles that will be a source of both clinical and academic knowledge, grounded in practice. Writing for publication draws attention to professional development both individually, and as a whole.

In her Frances Rutherford Lecture, Gooder (1992) posed a reflective question: Are New Zealand occupational therapists pacesetters or plodders? In response she stated:
 You may not accept this responsibility [of pacesetter] but it makes
 no difference. It is inescapable, for if you decide to set no pace,
 to forward no new ideas, to dream no new dreams, you will still be
 the pacesetters. You will have simply decided there is no pace (p.

More than ever, in times of financial and professional accountability occupational therapists, like all health service providers, need to justify their practice to clients, employers, peers and themselves. The provision of well researched, referenced, clinical data is essential to evaluate clinical practice and to plan the future direction of occupational therapy services. Ultimately, only occupational therapists can take pride in, and ownership of, the profession.


The authors wish to thank Beth Gordon for her assistance.

Authors Note

The unedited version of this paper may be obtained from the NZAOT National Office or the principal author.




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Rowena Scaletti, MHSc (OT), PostGradDipEd (counselling), CertArts (social sciences)

Patricia Egan, MHSc (OT), BA, NZROT

Julie Kenning, B.Occ.Ther. (Hons.), NZROT

Correspondence: Rowena Scaletti

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Author:Scaletti, Rowena; Egan, Patricia; Kenning, Julie
Publication:New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Mar 1, 2008
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