Sandra Buchanan first became involved with NZAP in 2002 in her final year of her three-year internship at the Ashburn Clinic. She became a Provisional Member in 2003 and from the start was an active, involved and generous participant, taking on the role of Secretary to the Otago branch the following year. She became a Full Member in 2007 and again followed this closely with becoming the Branch Convenor, a position she held from 2007 to 2009. 2009 saw her elected to Council where she served first as Councillor and then as Honorary Secretary until 2016.
When Sandra joined Council, she introduced herself to the membership in the May 2009 Newsletter. She spoke of her background of ‘active socialist political involvement’ in Britain and her passionate commitment to biculturalism on her return to Aotearoa, her ‘questioning mind’ and her belief in the value of ‘robust and free discussion’. She has brought these commitments to her life in NZAP, working in the Te Tiriti Bicultural Committee from 2010 to 2015, developing her competence in Te Reo and actively encouraging the local branch towards a fuller bicultural involvement. She even got the branch to sing waiata at meetings. She used her generous energy for NZAP and her considerable organisational ability when she was Convenor of the 2011 NZAP Conference in Dunedin, “Home is Where We Start from”. Earlier she was on the committee that organised the Queenstown Conference. She is Co-convenor of the 2018 Conference. Many of us will be aware of how often we have benefited by her questions and willingness to open up sometimes difficult areas of discussion.
In 2010 she took over the role of Honorary Secretary. She become conversant with the Constitution, procedures and history of NZAP so that she became a competent and steady hand to guide NZAP through those six years. During this time she contributed to each Newsletter, keeping the members up to date with Council’s work.
Throughout this time Sandra has worked as a psychotherapist at Student Health Services at the University of Otago as well as in private practice, moving to full-time private practice in 2015.
This list of involvements and her record of service to NZAP does not describe the characteristics Sandra has brought to them: a remarkable willingness, generosity, openness, energy, whole-heartedness, honesty and directness that have indeed Distinguished her Service and make her worthy of this award. Over the last 14 years of her membership, Sandra Buchanan has given fully of herself to the Association and it has been enriched by her generosity. This award recognises her and her contribution.