The New Zealand Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust

Make a Donation - support New Zealand Research

About the New Zealand Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust

The NZ Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust was established to facilitate research and education within the profession.

Full criteria and application requirements

Criterion grid for 2014-2016


Applications are called for grants in 2014

The New Zealand Occupational Therapists’ Research and Education Trust will accept applications for any research related to occupational therapy practice, or its underpinning knowledge including that of occupational science. The research should be based in the New Zealand context. Preference is given to research undertaken collaboratively. The grant/s is for small pieces of research or as a component of a larger piece of research.

Applications close on the 30th June 2014 and will be announced by 3rd August 2014

The NZ Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust is registered with the Charities Commission. This means that for donations over $5, individuals can claim a donation tax credit with NZ Inland Revenue.

Fundraising for the NZ Research and Education Trust

Would you like to see MORE New Zealand based occupational therapy research?  If the answer is YES – help us to raise funds.  No fund raising idea is too small (and none is too big).

It only takes a small enthusiastic group to run a one off event – every donation to the Research and Education Trust helps to grow the fund and make it possible for ongoing research grants.

For innovative Do-IT-Yourself ideas:

If you are a starter please contact Diane Henare at

Thanks for your enthusiasm.

2014 Grants

Annie Baigent awarded $2,980

Shirley Collocott awarded $1000

2013 Grants

Andrea Dempsey awarded $1,300
Supervisor: Dr Daniel Sutton

Title: An evaluation of a brief sensory modulation intervention to reduce anxiety for people accessing tertiary mental health services

The objective of this research is to evaluate an existing three week sensory modulation intervention to examine its effectiveness in reducing anxiety for twenty people using mental health services.

Case study and anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of sensory interventions with adults experiencing mental health problems is a promising approach but there is currently limited generalisable research to support its use. A multiple pre-intervention and post-intervention design will be used in which all participants will receive the intervention and act as their own control group. Measures will be taken to examine for changes in anxiety level, function and quality of life and analysed to identify significant differences between baseline and post intervention, and three months post intervention scores.

Cherie Le Lievre awarded $1,000
Supervisors: Dr Fiona Graham and Dr Will Taylor

Title: Is the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY) valid in a general New Zealand population?

The Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY) (Coster et al, 2011) was designed to evaluate both the level of participation in activities at home, school and the community and the impact the environment has on participation for children and youth aged 5 – 17 years. Psychometric testing of the PEM-CY with a United States of America (USA) /Canada sample supported its validity and reliability within the study population. However, it is unknown if the PEM-CY is valid and reliable with a New Zealand population given the differences in population characteristics and culture between NZ, the US and Canada. Establishing whether a measure is appropriate and it measures what it intends is an important consideration when determining its usefulness.

This study will examine the validity on New Zealanders. It has 2 phases. Firstly interviews will determine if the PEM-CY measures what it intends by participants looking at the measure (i.e. face validity). Participants will include: Parents of children aged 5 – 17 years and Occupational Therapists who work with children aged 5 – 17 years. In the second phase, participants will complete 4 instruments using an online format to see if similar measures have a high correlation (i.e. convergent validity) and dissimilar measures have a low correlation (i.e. divergent validity). Findings will indicate if the PEM-CY is perceived to measure participation levels and environmental supportiveness by NZ users and the extent to which it measures these constructs reliably against other standardised measures with a general NZ population. This will inform clinical and public policy decision making regarding use of the measure with NZ families.

Susan Harris awarded $1,600

Title: A community response to natural disaster: Exploring practice and paradigm

The Heathcote Valley lies within 500m of the Epicentre of the February 2011 earthquake, which devastated Christchurch. The Heathcote community was hit hard, losing our village centre, suffering substantial damage to most homes and infrastructure from the intense ground acceleration and significant rock fall, and losing 70 of our 900 homes to red-zoning.

Our community, as with many throughout Christchurch, found ourselves drawing together as we faced the many challenges and uncertainty. The Heathcote Village Project grew out of an organic and grass-roots response to the crisis we found ourselves in, involved large numbers of the community, and has now grown into an organised, on-going, collaborative, future-focused effort to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient community. As a local community member I was directly involved in establishing the Heathcote Village Project, drawing on my occupational therapy background through the inception and on-going development of the project.

In seeking to advance my understanding of our lived experience of community engagement and development, and to integrate this with my occupational therapy perspective, I have commenced a Master of Professional Practice, through Capable New Zealand, Otago. The following is an outline of the research I am carrying out as part of my study.

Phase 1: Practice
Record the story of Heathcote community over the last 2 ½ years, with a specific emphasis on the Heathcote Village Project.

Methodology: Case Study/Narrative

Phase 2: Paradigm Exploration
View this record through a range of paradigms to make sense of what has occurred in the Heathcote Community, as well as to understand how these perspectives might influence our future practice. Paradigms include those from Occupational Therapy, Community Development and Organisational Change Theory, as well as examples of good practice.

Methodology: Focus Groups, Literature Review

Phase 3: Putting Practice and Paradigm Together
Support those involved in the Heathcote Village Project to develop our practice as an enabler of occupation and relationships within our community.

Methodology: Participatory Action Research

Add to the bodies of knowledge; how Occupational Therapists may use their skills and knowledge in community development settings; what learning about community engagement and development may be transferable to other communities and contexts.

Methodology: Focus Groups


2012 Grant

Congratulations to Pauline Boland.

Title: To investigate to what extent the policies and procedures for provision of assistive technology to people with stroke are fit for purpose.

Pauline outlines her research proposal in the OT Insight Vol.33 No. 6


2011 Grants

There were no applicants for the 2011 grants.


2010 Grants Awarded

Congratulations to Jane Anderson and Pauline Boland.

Jane Anderson:

Title: New Zealand Occupational Therapist’ Use of Evidence in Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the process of integrating the best research evidence with the client’s values and circumstances and the therapists clinical expertise to determine the best intervention for a client (Rappolt, 2003).

The use of EBP within clinical decision making is a significant change to occupational therapy practice over the last 20 years. However, making this important shift in practice has been found to be challenging for therapists (McCluskey, 2003). Greater understanding of New Zealand occupational therapists’ behaviour, knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to EBP will assist educators, managers and others in positions of influence to facilitate therapists’ uptake of this important addition to therapists’ clinical reasoning. Identification of the specific conditions and strategies which have successfully enabled some therapists to adopt EBP will also assist individual therapists’ transition toward greater use of evidence in their practice.

Study Aims:

  • To determine New Zealand occupational therapists’ understanding of what EBP means and how they apply this knowledge in their clinical practice.
  • To identify the dominant barriers and facilitators to the use of EBP within the New Zealand practice setting and compare these to findings reported in overseas studies.
  • To outline specific strategies for therapists, managers and tertiary teaching staff to apply to increase therapists’ use of research evidence in practice.

Pauline Boland:

Title: Coping with Multiple Sclerosis – Individuals and their significant others-

 A qualitative exploration.

This research focuses on how individuals and their significant others cope with the lived reality of multiple sclerosis (MS). These pairs will be interviewed separately using a semi-structured schedule, to gain an understanding into how each perceives and copes with the challenges of MS. The interviews will be analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis to produce meaningful data about how the participants cope and represent the illness which is affecting their lives. This research is influenced by positive psychology philosophy and illness perception research. The results of this study will provide information for those affected by MS and health clinicians working in the area about how to consider the role of the coping process.

Study Aims:

This qualitative study is designed to explore

  • How those with MS and their SO react to receiving the diagnosis of MS
  • The extent to which participant responses can reasonably be interpreted in terms of theories around coping, illness representation, positive psychology and theories of loss.


Inaugural Grants Awarded - June 2009

Congratulations to Ellen Nicholson and Emma Russell who were each awarded $1500 to carry out their chosen field of research. You can read about their research topics, and an update on progress to date. Click here.

Ellen Nicholson:

Title: Occupation in Action and in Context: Practice-Scholarship in Paediatric Occupational Therapy Practice in New Zealand.

Ema Tokolahi:

Title: Leaping Hurdles: Evaluation of the effectiveness of an occupation-based group for children 10-14 years old addressing anxiety, low mood and occupational disruption, with a parallel parenting group.


Make a Donation - support New Zealand Research

There are several ways to support the work of the New Zealand Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust. (Donations which are greater than $5 are eligible for a donation tax credit with NZ Inland Revenue):

  1. Make a donation at the time you join OTNZ (see the membership form) or at anytime.
  2. Payroll giving (see detail in related links - right hand menu)
  3. Make a bequest by inserting the following words in your will:

I give and bequeath to the NZ Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust the sum of $__________ (or a share in the residue of the estate). I direct that the receipt of the Trust shall be complete discharge to my Trustee for the same.

Bequests are free from estate duty, and may be in cash, real estate, shares or any other property. Bequests may be gifted during your lifetime, or specified in your will.

Online payments can be made directly into: 03-0518-0179615-018

Ensure you include the donor name.

Or send a cheque made out to the NZ Research and Education Trust to:

NZ Occupational Therapists Research and Education Trust

c/- OTNZ

PO Box 10 493

Wellington 6143