The New Zealand Manipulative Therapists Association (NZMTA) - later in 1997 replaced by the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association (NZMPA) - has a proud history spanning almost 50 years.
The New Zealand Manipulative Therapists Association (NZMTA) - later in 1997 replaced by the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association (NZMPA) - has a proud history spanning almost 50 years. Since its inception, it has been an organisation characterised by a membership passionate about Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (OMT), with a desire to educate the membership in the latest techniques, to promote OMT to other health professional groups and the public about its benefits.
Stanley Paris was awarded a Workers Compensation Board Spinal Research Grant, and spent two years overseas studying the methods of Cyrix, Alan Stoddard, Gregory Grieve and Freddy Kaltenborn. On his return to New Zealand in 1964 he began teaching these techniques to local physiotherapists, and the process of formalising a group dedicated to the study of manipulation began.
The NZMTA was founded in Taupo on the 2nd November 1968 by 22 founder members who began to formalise and systematise the work in the field started by various private practitioners. The profession was very different back then with good physiotherapy authors and presenters hard to find and very few credible practitioners willing to voice opinions. Training was a technical apprenticeship and university style education was a distant dream.
1973 became a prime year, with the NZMTA gaining special interest group status of NZSP. The NZMTA courses were approved and the Physiotherapy Board gave recognition of the NZMTA examinations as a Post Graduate inclusion in the register. The Health Department and Physiotherapy Board appointed medical observers to the NZMPA examinations, and reported favourably.
The development of the Diploma of Manipulative Therapy (DipMT) saw the advent of a formal qualification in OMT with its first graduates in 1973. This qualification was sought after and highly regarded. The techniques taught on these courses were an eclectic basket of tools, with no one approach taking precedence over another. The final Dip MT exams were held in 2003 and it was hoped at that stage that the Universities would take up the baton of providing distance learning options.
Members still required a means by which to gain further OMT skills outside the University system and so the College Accredited Membership Courses (CAMC), later re-named the Musculoskeletal Continuing Education Programme(MCEP) courses were developed using the teaching material to the Dip MT. These courses have proven to be extremely popular over many years and are consistently well subscribed. Since 2009, NZMPA has linked with AUT and the University of Otago to allow NZMPA students who have completed the MCEP courses to have this recognised and gain exemption from some parts of the Musculoskeletal paper of the PGD and Masters programmes.
Staying close to our founding aims of providing quality education for our membership, questioning and evaluating efficacy of our techniques, liaising with our international colleagues and promoting the use of OMT in daily practice, as well as having an ethos of self-regulation and sharing of knowledge, will see this organisation continue to move forward and remain a leader in manipulative physiotherapy practise.