Sunny Alix Riordan
Honorary Life Member
Through her occupational therapy professional career commencing as a student in 1950, Sunny has demonstrated exemplary service to colleagues, clients and wider communities.
Sunny’s curriculum vitae endorses the many clinical initiatives she made within the fields of children with disabilities, domiciliary services, aged care, adult rehabilitation and private hospitals for older adults (below). Since retirement in 1994 she continues to apply her skills as a volunteer within many community groups, her professional and charitable organisations.
As an active member of Occupational Therapy New Zealand Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa her lifelong commitment to the expansion of her values related to organisation development, research, education, peer support and management is evident. These recognized qualities she has taken globally and to this day sustains her international links.
Sunny’s enthusiasm and commitment are grounded in her family roots and beliefs about service to others. She is known for her self-less approach for others. This driving force has united the profession over the recognition of the importance of history. Sunny’s unique perspective and position encompasses knowledge and experience of the early occupational therapy educators (Mrs Margaret Buchanan, Mrs Hazel Skilton and Miss Frances Rutherford). She has ensured their legacy to students and the profession as a whole continues to be values. (Legacy of Occupation Research Group. Records of Occupational Therapy training in New Zealand, 1940-1972. NZMS 1689. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries; Gordon, B., Riordan, S., Scaletti, R., Creighton, N. (2009) Legacy of occupation – Stories of occupational therapy in New Zealand 1940-1972. Auckland: Bush Press)
Everything and her life are celebrations of positivism and human endeavours. Colleagues recognise her traits such as optimism, creativeness, fun, caring, vision and ‘joire de vrie’ which she merges with practical problem solving.
Through Sunny’s “contributions, activities and networking I believe she contributes to the profession consistently over 60 years in not only formal but informal ways. For me it is clear that her commitment to the profession is long standing and exemplary”. (Letter: Dr. Linda H Wilson, 29th May 2012)
Compiled from original sources by The Legacy of Occupation Research Group
Occupational therapy qualifications
New Zealand Occupational Therapy Training School: October 1950 – March 1953 (student #86)
State Examination in Occupational Therapy, 1953: Department of Health
NZ Registered Occupational Therapist, 1953: Occupational Therapy Board (reg #26)
Bobath Certificate – 1961, London UK (Study scholarship, WA)
Post graduate Bobath course – 1967, Sydney NSW
Study leave – 1970: Detroit School of Occupational Therapy, USA (Recreation for handicapped persons), Edgeware Hospital, UK (Geriatrics Course), Copenhagen, Denmark (Old People’s Village)
Postgraduate Bobath course – 1970, Scotland, UK
1953 Staff Occupational Therapist Porirua Mental Hospital, NZ
1953-59 Staff Occupational Therapist Auckland Public Hospital, NZ
1959-61 Charge Occupational Therapist Spastic Centre, Perth, WA
1963-68 Charge Occupational Therapist Crippled Children’s Society, Auckland
1968-70 Charge Occupational Therapist Lady Allum Home & Hospital, Auckland
1971-74 Charge Occupational Therapist Lady Allum Hospital, Auckland
1974 Occupational Therapy Tutor Occupational Therapy School, Melbourne
1974-75 Charge Occupational Therapist Wodonga Day Centre, Victoria, AUS
1975-81 Charge Occupational Therapist Meadowbank Home & Hospital, Auckland
1981-88 Senior Occupational Therapist Day Ward, Greenlane Hospital, Auckland
1988-89 Charge Occupational Therapist Belmont & Quinton Park Private Hospitals
1989-94 Charge Occupational Therapist Caughey Preston Hospital, Auckland
February 1994 Retired from clinical practice
Clinical supervision of students
NZ Occupational Therapy Training School 1953-59, 1963-70
Central Institute of Technology 1972-74, 1975-1991
Voluntary affiliation with professional organisations
OTNZ-WNA: Member while living in New Zealand: 1953-current (paid life member)
Auckland Branch, Sub-committees: 1953-59, 1963-74, 1975-90
Conference Committees: 1971, 1981, 1992
Investment Officer: 1985-1991
National Office committee member: 1985-1991
Member: Geriatric Special Interest Group
Participant: LAN meetings and events
WFOT: Second Alternate Delegate 1985
Legacy of Occupation Research Group: Member 2004-current. Researcher; treasurer; projects contributor
Riordan, A.S. (Nov.1963). The Philadelphia Rehabilitation Centre programme. Occupational Therapy (N.Z.) 17:4 pp15-16.
Riordan, S. (Aug.1958). Domiciliary occupational therapy at Auckland Public Hospital. Occupational Therapy (NZ) 13:4 pp8-9. In JNZAOT (Winter 1990) 41:1 p 22.
Sheriff, M., Riordan, S. (May 1958). Aids to daily living. Occupational Therapy (NZ) 19:2 pp13-14.
Gordon, B., Riordan, S., Scaletti, R., Creighton, N. (2009) Legacy of occupation – Stories of occupational therapy in New Zealand 1940-1972. Auckland: Bush Press.
October 2009: NZAOT Clinical Workshop, Tauranga
October: 2010 Point Chevalier Historical Society, Avondale, Auckland
Voluntary affiliation with community organisations
Current:Lakehouse Arts Centre, Takapuna: Trustee 1996 to present
House of Memories – Waipu Museum
Mangawhai & District Historical Society
Forest and Bird Society
Devonport Garden Club
North Shore Hospice, Opportunity Shop
St Vincent de Paul, Beachaven Opportunity Shop
Past: Auckland Huntingtons Disease Association
Tripe and Onions Club
Auckland Swing Club
Anon. (Jul.1955). Mainly about people. Occupational Therapy (NZ) 10:2 p12.
Anon. (Nov. 1958). News from Auckland branch. Occupational Therapy (NZ) 13:4 p11.
Anon. (Nov. 1959). Mainly about people. Occupational Therapy (NZ) 14:4 p12.
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