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Dean's Welcome

2021 grad dean2021 has proved to be another year complicated by the challenges of Covid-19. Thank you to all staff, students, and supporters of the School who have helped us make our way throughout the year.

We hope you enjoy reading our short overview of some of our activities for 2021.

Wishing your all the best for the holiday season and hope it brings a chance to rest and relax. Meri Kirihimete!

Kā mihi

Leigh Hale (Dean, School of Physiotherapy)


Retirement of Dr Margot Skinner

Dr Margot Skinner thumbDr Skinner retires as Associate Dean Academic Engagement at the School of Physiotherapy Te Kura Kōmiri Pai this December, ending just one chapter of a long involvement with the School since she first enrolled as a student in the early 1970s.

During this time, she has made a significant contribution within the University and to physiotherapy as a profession nationally and globally. Read more about Margot's career.

Margot was farewelled at a reception held at the School of Physiotherapy on the 9th of December. Joining the farewell were past and present leaders of the global physiotherapy profession. One of whom aptly described Margot as an 'icon of the profession'.

Appointment of Prof David Baxter Dean Graduate School

Professor David Baxter will make the most of his career-long involvement in supporting graduate research, both in New Zealand and overseas, when he takes up the role of Dean of the Graduate Research School next year. Read more about David's recent appointment.

New staff appointments

A number of new staff have been appointed in 2021. See our dedicated staff page.

Undergraduate updates

2021 grad staffPrize giving 2021

Unfortunately this year's graduation was cancelled. However, we were still able to celebrate with an online graduation! Our zoom call 'Prize giving' was joined by over 100 attendees, many of whom included family and friends in the ceremony. We are very pleased to congratulate everyone who graduated and to wish them the best in their future careers and welcome them to our Alumni Network!

See our dedicated page of 2021 prizes.

A big thanks to the people supporting clinical placements

A huge thank you to our Clinical Educators and the team of people working across the country supporting our student placements. If you would like to find out more about our clinical educators working across the country, read more.

Pictured above: Staff attending our bespoke online prize giving. Charleen Silcock (Associate Dean Pacific, SOP), Margot Skinner, Rebecca Armstrong, Leigh Hale (Dean, SOP)

CHARR Research updates

CHARR team group image thumbCHARR's areas of research strength

In recent years, we have further developed and strengthened our research programmes. Our new areas of research strength are now available for you to explore on the website. If you'd like to see more about our work keep an eye on our research page.

PhD and Masters graduations

In 2021, 9 PhD candidates have graduated and 2 Masters by Research. This is an amazing achievement by everyone involved, especially considering that many of the project were completed during the uncertain times of Covid 19. While we were unable to see all cross the stage due to cancelled graduations in August and December we have managed to celebrate the achievements in various ways! If you would like to read more about the projects and graduating students see our dedicated page.

Grants awarded

The School of Physiotherapy congratulates the Physiotherapy recipients of HRC's latest career development round supporting Māori and Pacific researchers. The five recipients of the awards will be based within the School's research Centre (CHARR) to work on Summer studentships, a research masters, and a PhD. Read more about the recipients and projects.

We also congratulate the recipients of other grants awarded throughout the year. You can read more about our CHARR 2021 achievements in our report that will be published on the website early in the new year.


Our final event for the year was hosting of the University of Otago, Pain@Otago Research Event. The event was well attended by over 100 researchers and clinicians, joining us in person and online. The theme hopes to make available recordings from the day on their website.

We are busy planning out 2022 events calendar and will update details on our twitter account @otagoCHARR and on our webpage.

Clinic updates

Xmas decorationsThe Physiotherapy Clinics in Dunedin and Christchurch have continued to do well despite the current Covid conditions. They are finding ways to manage the traffic light system, enjoying good success with new telehealth services, and exploring a new service development (see our current project on developing a TMD clinic)

Earlier in the year the Clinics and the School said farewell to Evelyn Tullock who left the School after a distinguished and long career. Thank you very much Evelyn!

In other staff changes, the clinics welcomed Clare Kenneally and Liam Millar.

Pictured above: The Physio Clinic all decorated up for Christmas! No space has been spared the festive touch, with even the staff lockers decorated. A big thanks to Joanne Cronje!


We were sorry to learn that Pauline Bacon (née Dukes) from the graduating class of 1964 passed away in March 2021. Pauline will be remembered by many for the years that she worked as a physiotherapist in community services for the Otago Hospital Board/SDHB - from the mid 1970's to 2005. Her particular specialty and expertise was in the assessment, prescription and provision of wheelchair and seating services in the Otago area.

We were also sad to learn that one of our oldest alumni, Lillian West (née Sare), passed away at the end of March. Lillian graduated in the class of 1948 with a Certificate in Massage. She was one of the first students to be taught in the new School, situated on Hanover Street, which was opened in 1946 by the Prime Minister of the time, Peter Fraser. Despite the new School being named the ”New Zealand School of Physiotherapy” it was not until 1949 that the legislation was passed to change the title “Masseur” to “Physiotherapist”.

We were also sorry to hear that Rosemary Mannering from Christchurch passed away recently. She was one of only a few physiotherapists who worked in Mental Health, which she started doing many years ago. Rosemary also taught the Mental Health component of the BPhty programme for a number of years and would come down to Dunedin to give the lectures and facilitate the lab sessions.

Keep in touch

As University of Otago and School of Physiotherapy alumni – you are part of a rich and diverse worldwide community.

Stay connected to continue a rewarding relationship with your University, your fellow Otago alumni and our School.

If you are planning an event or organising a class reunion? We can offer help, and encouragement with logistics and planning.

If you would like to receive regular news from Otago alumni, make sure your contact details are up to date by contacting the alumni office at this address

You can follow the School of Physiotherapy on Twitter here: @physiOtago

Follow research activity at the School on Twitter here: @OtagoCHARR

Please do keep in touch.


Lawrence, R. (2005). Branding terroir in the ′New World′: Modes of representation in the wine industry. In P. Sorrell, C. Ozcan, E. Kocabiyik & Z. T. Ultav (Eds.), Proceedings of the IST Product and Service Design Symposium and Exhibition on Agricultural Industries. Izmir, Turkey: Izmir University of Economics. [Full Paper]

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