Structure of the Association

Members of the Association are supported by a professional structure that includes a Constitution (PDF, 170Kb) , a Code of Ethics, a The Complaints Procedure and a Professional Practice Review Process. This structure is maintained by members at regional and national levels. An Executive Officer is employed part-time to administer the Association’s affairs.


The Council of the Association is its governing body. It is composed of:

  • The President
  • The President-Elect
  • The Immediate Past President
  • The Honorary Secretary
  • The Honorary Treasurer
  • The Chair of the Admission Committee
  • The Chair of the Ethics and the Professional Standards Committee
  • Six ordinary members

The President-Elect, the Chair of the Admission Committee, and the Chair of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee are elected by Council from nominations received from members. All other positions on Council are elected at the Annual General Meeting, which is traditionally held in conjunction with the Annual Conference. All positions are for a term of two years. With the exception of the presidency, people may be re-elected to their positions for up to two further two-year terms.

The Executive Committee of Council comprises the President, the President-Elect, the Immediate Past President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer, the Chair of the Admission Committee, and the Chair of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee. Portfolios held by individual members of Council include Supervision, Public Issues, Bicultural Issues, and Provisional Members’ Concerns.

Council normally meets three times a year twice for a weekend in Wellington and once immediately preceding the Annual Conference. Much of the work is done between meetings by individuals or committees of Council. The three full Council meetings are the times for reporting, discussing and assessing progress of ongoing issues, re-focussing on core principles and passions, and, through each other, maintaining connection with the issues which are stirring the concerns and strong feelings within the membership as a whole. In accordance with the core principle of the primacy of relationship, meeting agendas provide space for members to re-connect personally before applying themselves to business matters. Sharing accommodation and meal times deepens both personal and working relationships. Debate and decision making is often intense, agendas are long, and the experience overall is exhilarating and satisfying for participants.

Members may contact anyone on Council to have their concerns placed on the agenda for meetings. Any member may attend Council meetings as an observer. Prior arrangements should be made through the Executive Officer to ensure there is adequate space for all attending.

Also in attendance at Council meetings are the Executive Officer, who acts as minute recorder, and any others who may be invited for specialist input.

Treaty of Waitangi

When the Association was formed in 1947 it comprised a group of Pakeha whose psychotherapeutic view was Eurocentric, in line with the dominant societal culture. There is little recorded formally about any acknowledgement of or relationship with Maori, the Treaty of Waitangi partners. The birth of Te Rōpū Whakaora Hinengaro, the name which formally claims the Association to be a bicultural organisation occurred in 1993, 46 year later. Since then both Pakeha and Maori names appear on its official documents.

Discussion at the time centred around keeping the integrity of the Association by not committing itself merely to words, but to a path. This spirit is reflected in the Association’s Code of Ethics.

The Association has a Bicultural Committee which is charged with assisting it to find and walk the path of partnership. Its challenge is that Association members are committed first as citizens, then as psychotherapists, to the Treaty of Waitangi. Honouring this commitment is both an individual responsibility and one for the Association.

With regard to the Association’s responsibility, everything the Association does, all its policies, procedures, protocols, statements, etc., need to be considered in the light of the Treaty of Waitangi to ensure that these are in accord with the spirit and practice of partnership. This has far reaching implications. It means ongoing consideration of the process of how this might be put into practice and how it might be tested. This is not a static situation, but a living organic way of being that calls for ongoing attention by the Association to be true to its Code of Ethics.

Categories of Membership

Provisional membership is gained through a local panel interview and subsequent recommendation which has been ratified by Council. It is for those in the process of working towards ordinary membership and includes many of the benefits of membership. Voting rights may be conferred by Council in specified situations.

Ordinary membership (also referred to as full membership) is granted after the Admission Committee’s recommendation has been ratified by Council. Membership certificates are presented at the Annual Conference.

Retired membership is for members no longer practising psychotherapy, including related activities such as supervision, teaching, training or service administration. There is a reduced subscription. Ordinary membership may be resumed within three years of retirement by submission of a current supervision contract to the Regional Supervisors’ Group, and payment of the full annual subscription. The same process for reinstatement of status, applies for provisional members who resign or take leave of absence.

Ordinary members may signify their membership by the use of the initials MNZAP or Member NZAP. Provisional and retired members must use the unabbreviated wording to indicate their membership category, for example, Provisional Member NZAP. The logo of the Association may only be used for official business.

Life membership is an honour conferred by Council on chosen senior members who have made significant contribution to the Association over many years. At any time there may be a maximum of six life members.

There is also a further category known as correspondents, who are not actual members. Correspondents incur a fee to cover costs of sending correspondence and newsletters. Correspondent status may be applied for by ordinary members and provisional members who wish to take time out from professional psychotherapeutic practice.

All members are subject to the Association’s Code of Ethics. Clarification about subscriptions, alteration of membership status, retirement, temporary suspension of membership or other queries may be sought from the Executive Officer.

Regional Branches

The Association has established regional branches in Otago, Canterbury, Nelson/Marlborough, Wellington, Central Districts (Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay), Bay of Plenty/Waikato , and the Northern Region ( Auckland and surrounding areas). Each branch has a regional convenor. Meetings are organised according to each region’s needs and to facilitate the business of the Association at local level. Over recent years, there has been a continuing devolution of responsibility and management from central to local level.


The Annual Conference is usually held early in the year and hosted by regions in rotation. It runs from Thursday evening to midday Sunday and is the important professional event which gathers members and others from around the country and beyond. It is a chance for participants to meet, share ideas and find professional and social contact among colleagues. Delegates may present practical or research papers and workshops, as well as benefit from the opportunity to meet and listen to international guest speakers. Membership certificates and other awards and acknowledgments are presented.

Individual regions run the Annual Conference in distinctive ways, with chosen themes for discussion and development in workshops and groups. A regular feature is the popular Saturday night dinner dance which offers good fun.

The Annual General Meeting is held during the conference, at which Council officers are elected, Association business is conducted and policy formed. Consultation with the membership is valued and thorough and provides members ample opportunity to understand and be involved in the workings of the Association.

Branches organise local conferences and workshops for their members, and these add to the opportunities for professional development, learning and meeting together.