Sunday, 23 September 2012

Week 19 - National Occupational Therapy Conference & Sunny Days!

Hello Everybody!
Wow, not only did I just spend 3 days being INSPIRED by some wonderful Occupational Therapists at the National OT Conference in Hamilton, but I returned to Wellington to two days of glorious sunny days and the chance to go on my first big bicycle ride around the bays of Wellington! Obviously, way too much to talk about so the focus has to be the OT Conference.... so sit back, relax and enjoy sharing some of the more weird & wonderful moments from the past week.

So, taking a very small plane at 07:05 Wednesday morning from Wellington... with some excellent views....
60 seater plane
N'th Island views!
I arrived in sunny Hamilton (sometimes referred to as 'Hamiltron' - city of the future) with enough time to jump in a taxi and arrive at the 'interesting' hotel venue The Kingsgate Hotel - More to come on that later! I had no time to go to my own accommodation, so quite literally got my registration pack, and got to the meeting point as the official Powhiri (Maori Welcoming) began. So the conference had started...
Proof I was really there! 
The first lecture named 'Two worlds - One Profession' gave a fascinating insight into the Maori perspective / world view, and asked us to consider how best to consider OT development for the Maori culture, and the profession within NZ. Jane's talk really brought out the need to emphasize the importance of remembering where we come from, and our links with the land - which are hugely important issues here, especially for the Maori Culture. 
Jane's Lecture!
The afternoon sessions included the NZ Association 'Issues forum' and the session that really took my interest was a panel discussion 'Building OT through Education' which included discussions about the  level of course entry... i.e undergrad vs masters level, 3yrs vs 4 yrs, etc... (I have some strong views on this, and despite not being in the 'education' field myself, I have seen enough worldwide OT educational facilities to feel like I have something to say)... so I did make a point or two. Great discussions! 
The end of day one finished quite late as I joined some of my fellow delegates in the hotel bar, then joined the OT board members for a dinner at the hotel. Now here's a funny part! The hotel was apparently only built in the 60's and recently refurbished, but it looked like something out of the movie 'The Shining' with Jack Nicholson - wood paneling & long empty corridors! 
The 'shining' hotel
The 'shining' hotel
So, you kind of get the point about the conference venue, but seeing as I thought I would have to pay for the whole cost myself I booked somewhere around the corner, a touch cheaper! (I must say a huge thank you to the DHB I work for, for some financial assistance). I booked to stay at BJ'S BUDGET MOTEL - the clue is definitely in the title! Budget!!!!! Run by an old couple, who bought it 16 years ago, with a 19 year lease they could never escape, it has seen better days. They said there would be a little 'traffic noise'... hmmm... it was so close to the road, I could hear a hedgehog crossing the road, never mind the constant stream of large trucks at 06:00! My descriptions do not do the place justice, so I'll let pictures tell the story! 
My budget hotel!
the room @ BJ's
BJ's toilet
Frank Kronenberg
I have had the pleasure of listening to Frank Kronenberg before both in Chile, and in my home town of Salford. I share a lot of Frank's ideology about not getting caught up in trying to define what OT is to people, and using the power and creativity already existing in cultures, communities and individuals to bring about opportunities for those people marginalized from their own worlds through the use of meaningful occupation. I have to say that I could talk with Frank all day about these issues, and appreciate the opportunity to meet with Frank again. Frank's lectures are always emotionally charged with enthusiasm and powerful imagery and always a welcome diversion from the more academic heavy presentations. Another truly inspirational morning was had by all. 
The next session: the AGM - (hang on hang on, it was pretty important and interesting) had a proposed name change for the association - (which was defeated by vote - unfortunately in my opinion), and the addition of the agreed Maori name for Occupational Therapy - accepted! 

The evening was the official conference dinner, with the theme of 'black and white'. The food was great, the entertainment was surreal - a social work manager dressed up as a comic Scottish 'Dr Mcsquirter' with a lot of 'dad' jokes - ok I admit I thought he was funny in a quirky way! Here's the pictures...
Me & Merrolee
With Matthew, Merrolee and more...
Lena-Karin & Me
Dinner! yum yum...
the 'enetertainment'
Me & Frank
Me & Jane 
Me & Andrew (OT Board)
 DAY 3 
Another brilliant keynote, with a real focus on identifying detailed patterns of occupation, which had a real focus on ideas that could be put into everyday practice. The panel style discussion afterwards gave a real interactive feel to the session, as it did on day 2. This session was followed by another great workshop discussing possible ways for all OT's to be involved with the strategic plan, the session started with a speed dating style discussion! I also had the chance to put my own creative skills into action, writing a 'star wars' style future vision for OT in NZ. Watch this space if I get it published! 
A final session about 'The Things OT's get up to' had lots of laughter before the conference came to a close....
I was thinking I'd be leaving Hamilton without the joys of experiencing a night on the town, fortunately  after everybody left, well almost everybody, - an American OT was still around and invited me to join here to meet some locals, who were friends of friends. So we met a guy called Kip - I think that was his name - and he took us out in 'Hamiltron'! He was also very generous and drove us to the airport the next morning - a $60 (£30) ride away! Much appreciated! 

The weather was just too nice to sit around for long, so after another tiny plane ride (60 seater plane), I rushed home, dumped my bags, and took my bike out for it's first real ride... a 30k ride around the bays of Wellington... with a few stops for ice cream and sunbathing! Pictures are the only way to share the ride with you...
Summer days....
Me & my bike!
Over the hill...
sign says it all...
Wellington harbour...
looking back at wellington
So, that's pretty much the gist of this week, and I could easily have written twice this much! So many great people filled this week, including real life meetings with some FB friends like Matt Molineux - an Aussie, who I will hopefully meet up with in Brisbane, Merrolee Penman - my unofficial cultural supervisor and friend, and so many more... (oh and I must mention my friend Hannah - photo below, who always keeps me entertained when we catch up, like today). 
Hannah in blossom!

Thanks to everyone this week, it's been pretty amazing! And now in one hour it's the Liverpool vs Man UTD game... oh we need the win! 
Regards from New Zealand

1 comment:

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