Our third key note speaker for OTNZ- WNA 2017 Conference: Isla Whittington.
We are pleased to introduce our third key note speaker/session which will be facilitated by Isla Emery Whittington and hoamahi (colleagues), who are embracing our theme ‘Committing to Social Change.’ This promises to be a thought provoking presentation.
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Kakepuku te maunga
Ko Waipa te awa
Ko Ngaati Maniapoto te iwi
Ko Ngaati Unu me Ngaati Kahu nga hapu
Ko Te Kopua te marae
Ko Isla Emery-Whittington ahau.
E ngaa tini waka, teena koutou. He mihi maioha, he mihi nui ki ngaa tini pukenga, ngaa tini whakaaro o te waka nei, araa, Whakaora ngangahau. No reira, teena taatou katoa.
Being indigenous to Aotearoa and choosing occupational therapy as a career, creates a particular perspective of occupation. Specifically, how occupation is theorised, treated and enacted within a socio-political colonial context.
Since graduating in 1997, and completing a Master of Health Science in 2002, Isla has primarily worked in the mental health and addictions sectors including early psychosis intervention, residential rehabilitation, primary care – early detection of psychosis, dual diagnosis research and coaching in Aotearoa and the UK.
As a mother and life partner, Isla uses her experiences of decolonisation in everyday occupations as a powerful and abundant way to indigenise and to help heal the colonial tread marks in her life journey.
Like many indigenous occupational therapists, Isla is passionate about growing and supporting strong indigenous networks, especially in the area of decolonisation work. By using a Kaupapa Māori approach, and working together with both indigenous occupational therapists and non-indigenous allies, Isla has begun decolonising occupation as a theory, and a way of life.
Decolonisation work is a commitment to the social implications between us all, and therefore requires we never stop talking about the personal health impacts of colonisation. It is a commitment to social change that helps our ancestors rest and ensures our descendants thrive.