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Occupational therapy loses founding member

Rene Stacy Skilton (nee Barton), known as Hazel Skilton, read about occupational therapy in the Reader’s Digest. Liking what she heard, and wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, she planned to go to America to train but was thwarted by the war. She was one of four of the first occupational therapists to be trained in New Zealand in 1940. She worked in the Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs where several of the men had been repatriated from the WW2 battle on Crete, then transferred to Rotorua where she worked with return servicemen. The experience of nursing one young airman remained with her, “there were times when his whole personality crumbled and he had to be carefully nursed until he recovered.” see OT Insight Vol 36 No.1 for more