Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand

Occupational Therapy For Patients

As someone using the services of an occupational therapist you’ll need information on:

What occupations are:

Occupations are the activities and tasks of everyday life. These include things people do to look after themselves, to enjoy themselves, and to contribute to the social and economic fabric of their communities.

What Occupational Therapy is:

Occupational therapy is the art and science of helping people take part in everyday living through their occupations. This means helping people to safely take part in looking after themselves, enjoying themselves and contributing to their communities.

Occupational therapy is about fostering health and well-being. It’s also about creating a just and inclusive society, so that everyone can participate to their potential.

The things that occupational therapists do to help people take part in everyday living are sometimes referred to as ‘enabling occupation’.

How can you be sure your Occupational Therapist is fit to practise:

We work to ensure you receive care from occupational therapists who are competent and fit to practise. All occupational therapists practising in Aotearoa New Zealand must be registered and hold a current Practising Certificate.

We assess each applicant for registration to ensure they’re competent in five key areas. Each year they apply for a Practising Certificate and provide information on how they’ve maintained their competency.

Our register lists all currently registered occupational therapists. You can search it to make sure your occupational therapist is registered. 

If you’re concerned about the care you’re receiving:

You should have confidence in your occupational therapist (PDF,)

If you’re concerned about the care they’re providing, you should discuss it with them. If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, you can use a support person or health advocate.

The Health and Disability Commissioner offers an advocate service.

If you have a concern about an occupational therapist that you would like the Board to address we require information in writing. To help you provide information to us we have created this form for you to complete and return to us.

If you have questions or concerns, or would like to discuss the care you’ve received from an occupational therapist, you can also contact us.

If you have a complaint:

If you’re still not satisfied after speaking to your occupational therapist, you can make a complaint.

You can make a complaint directly to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Alternatively you can contact us.

We’ll need to know your name, the occupational therapist you’re making the complaint against, the date and time of the service you’ve received and a description of what happened.

Please note we can’t act on anonymous complaints.


Other useful topics:

Confidence in your health practitioner (PDF)
Information for you on health regulatory authorities and your rights.

General Scope of Practice (PDF)
The definition of Scope you work under as an occupational therapist and the qualifications you must have.

Health Practitioners Assurance Act 2003
Information on the functions we have under the Act.