Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand Inc.


Background information on the development of play and recreation services in New Zealand hospitals.

The 1960s saw the development of hospital playgroups run by volunteers, usually under the auspices of the NZ Playcentres Federation;
1960: Playcentre group operating at Middlemore Hospital.
1967: Playcentre group operating at Greenlane.
By 1967 Greenlane had a full-time supervised programme.
By 1969 Waikari had a play supervisor.

As a result of the Platt Report (1959) in the UK, the Ministry of Health conducted a review on the delivery of health care in New Zealand.

Following the 1971 report by the Department of Education into pre-school education which supported the concept of hospital play programmes, full time paid supervised programmes were established at Greenlane hospital in 1972 and also in Christchurch and Dunedin.

1974: The District Adviser on Preschool Education was made available to assist in the establishment of early childhood services in hospitals. An occupational class of Preschool Activities Officers was established within Hospital Board employment categories.

From 1971-1992 there was extensive lobbying at local, regional, and national level for the development of quality play and recreation services provided by trained staff specifically employed to provide these programmes. Support came from individual play staff, health and education professionals and community groups concerned with the welfare of children in hospital.

In 1979, the Year of the Child, at Lopdell House in Auckland the first conference, which focused on the provision of play programmes in NZ hospitals was jointly run by the Department of Education and the Hospital Liaison Group, subsequently known as the Children's Health Liaison Group (CHLG).

1980: Results from a survey undertaken by Jan Stewart for the Department of Education indicated that at this time there were services for preschoolers as follows: (preschool activities officers were paid positions and note that Auckland has not been included in this survey).

Cook Hospital
Hawkes Bay
Braemar Psychopaedic
North Canterbury
Palmerston North
Queen Elizabeth
Playcentre x5 mornings per week.
1 kindergarten teacher and a voluntary help.
Part time play leader (paid).
Playcentre group two mornings per week.
Women's Auxiliary playgroup (voluntary).
Preschool activities officer in Napier and Hastings.
Play group organised by hospital staff and volunteers.
1 preschool activities officer.
Paid position for a "cuddles lady".
2 salaried preschool activities officers (part time).
Playgroup 3 days per week.
Recreational therapist with Playcentre background.
Creche with paid staff.
Playcentre group with paid staff.
Voluntary playgroup 2-3 mornings; OT staff in afternoons.
Full-time play therapist in children's wards, 3 preschool activities officers in Department of Psychological Medicine covering family care unit.

McKinlay's 1982 Report "The Care of Children in NZ Hospitals", for the National Children's Health Research Foundation, identified the state of play in NZ. In the recommendations it strengthened the call for trained staff to provide play and recreation programmes and outlined a model of therapeutic programme delivery in line with international literature.

1982: Employment of preschool activities officer at Auckland Hospital (Princess Mary Unit).

1983: Seminar for hospital play workers held by the Hospital Liaison Group, attended by 25 people. At this time staff working in the hospital used a variety of titles, the majority known as the Play Lady or Play Supervisor.

1984: Preschool Activities Officer position established at Hastings. Prior to this the person worked voluntarily.

In 1987 an application at Greenlane hospital for staff providing play and recreation programmes to be identified as Hospital Play Specialists (HPS) in line with professional developments in UK and Australia and recognising the extended professional role of staff was approved.

1988: A joint report by the Departments of Health and Education (by Rae Julian): Children in hospital: early childhood services. An Evaluation suggested revision of Hospital Board guidelines to stress the need for special facilities for hospitalised preschoolers and suggested that such facilities should take into account the number of paediatric beds.

1988: The terms of reference for the report " Education to be more" which excluded sick children. Following strong representation from the Children in Hospital Liaison Group asking that matters be addressed, the "Before 5" report of the working party made reference to children in hospital. The CHLG nominee, Barbara Matthews, was accepted to work on the special education working group of the report. Barbara Mathews and Carol Bolton were included in the Wellington hui.

1989: Massey University's Certificate in Early Childhood Education provided a paper on play in hospital. Two Hospital Play Specialists, Barbara Mathews and Marianne Kayes, were involved in the development of the paper.

1989: Publication of Issue 1 of "The First Newsletter for Hospital Play Specialists in Australia and New Zealand" in which an announcement was made of the formation of the Australasian Association of Hospital Play Specialists.

In October 1989 the first annual conference of NZ hospital play specialists was held. Those present agreed to form a NZ subgroup at their conference. At this time there were paid NZ hospital play specialist positions at: Whangarei (play therapist), Greenlane Ward 9 (play specialist), Princess Mary Unit (play worker), Waikato (kindergarten teacher), Rotorua (play supervisor) Hastings (preschool activities officer), Napier (preschool activities officer), Wellington (preschool activities officer), Christchurch (preschool activities officer) and Dunedin (preschool activities officer), Palmerston North, and Whakatane (playgroup).

1989: Hospital Play Specialists working in the Auckland Hospital Board made a name change. By 1992, collectively staff gained a Hospital Play Specialist salary scale aligned with Social Workers and other Allied Health professionals. Top of the scale was $12.065/hour at 31.1.89. Staff at Auckland and Greenlane successfully negotiated a separate Hospital Play Specialist award.

1990: Hospital Play Specialists attended the Child Life Council meeting in the USA for the first time. Following this contact, regular Child life speakers, including Elizabeth Crocker, Joan Chan, Joan Kingston, Kathleen McCue, Erin Munn and Christine Brown have come to New Zealand to share their knowledge.

1990: The Play and Recreation service at Princess Mary Unit (later, Starship Children's Health), Auckland Hospital, became the first hospital service to be licensed, chartered and part-funded by the Ministry of Education as an early childhood education service. This was done, however, in advance of the formal amendment of Education Act, which was subsequently rectified in 1992. Funding applications were held up for other New Zealand services, as the appropriate legislation had not been completed. It took until 1992 for Dunedin and Greenlane applications for Ministry of Education funding to be approved.

In 1991, the 5th Early Childhood Convention was held in Dunedin. Elizabeth Crocker, past president of ACCH was a keynote speaker.

1991: At this time there were positions at:

Auckland (PMU)

Paid position lost, volunteer playgroup operating.
Receiving MoE funding; 3 fte positions plus CHLG volunteer playgroup in Outpatients dept.
1 fte.
Playcentre receiving MoE funding.
Kindergarten Teacher and community playgroup.
Volunteer playgroup.
1 ft and volunteer support.
Part time preschool activities officer.
Part time preschool activities officer.
Verbal information that a programme was in place.
Hospital play specialist.
Preschool Activities Officer.
Preschool Activities Officer.

In January 1992, the Education Act (1989) was formally amended to enable licensing and chartering of hospital early childhood services and so entitle them to receive bulk Early Childhood Education funding from the Ministry of Education.

In May 1993 a national conference for hospital play specialists and hospital schoolteachers was held in Auckland, with Joan Kingson, Wheelock College, Boston, as facilitator. Attendees included a number of Australian hospital play specialists. Conference recommendations in the Action Plan called for the establishment of a Hospital Play Specialist professional association. The resulting Australasian Association initiative involved two New Zealand hospital play specialists, Carol Bolton and Marianne Kayes, travelling to Sydney. The newsletter was co-ordinated by the Australian membership over the next two years in support of this initiative.

Following the Play Specialist Association annual conference meeting, in February 1996 at Waikato Hospital, a steering committee was established for a New Zealand Hospital Play Specialist Association.

The first annual general meeting of the Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand was held at Greenlane Hospital on September 29, 1996. The association logo was presented at this meeting. It was designed to represent the calico doll concept, mixed ages, the nurturing adult, a ball representing play, a sling representing the hospital and a raised arm representing greetings.

1997: The Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/NZ becomes incorporated.

In June 1998 the newsletter of the Association was revamped and given the title "Chapters", incorporating the words, Children, Hospital, Adolescents, Play, Therapeutic, Education, Research, and Support.

In 1998, the New Zealand Hospital Play Specialist Association successfully negotiated for the first time a contract with the Ministry of Education to provide professional development support to Hospital Play Specialists working in licensed and chartered hospital early childhood services.

1999: A Project Director, Marianne Kayes, was appointed (part-time) to manage the Professional Development contract.

2000: The Hospital Play Specialists Association representative, Kate Smith, was appointed to a reference group to develop NZ Standards for the wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare facilities.

2000: Marianne Kayes was appointed to the government's Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Education working group.

2001: Marianne Kayes was appointed as co-chair of the newly formed International Task Force for the Child Life Council.

2002: The Association's First Pacific Rim Conference was held in Auckland, attended by around 90 people. Participants were from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Finland and Singapore.

2003: At this time the following 15 hospitals provide play and recreation services to hospitalised children and young people: Whangarei, Starship, Greenlane, National Women's, Wilson Centre, KidzFirst, Rotorua, Waikato, Hastings, Taranaki Base, Wellington, Hutt, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. Eleven of them incorporate programmes that are licensed and chartered by the Ministry of Education as early childhood education services.

2003: The Hospital Play Specialists Association introduced Certification of New Zealand hospital play specialists.

2004: The Association was successful in nominating Marianne Kayes as a member of the Ministry of Education Early Childhood Sector Overview Group, formed to oversee the development of criteria for early childhood services as part of the 2005 review of the Early childhood Regulations.

2004: The Hospital Play Specialists Association had a representative, Marianne Kayes, on the working party that developed the Health and Disability Sector Standards (Children and Young People) Audit Workbook, SNZHB 81344:2004. This workbook was developed to guide healthcare providers in ensuring that their services are responsive to the particular needs of children and young people, and to assist those services seeking certification under the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001. Carol Bolton was also a member of that working party, representing KidzFirst Children's Hospital.