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Podiatry NZ Better Together Conference 2021

26 July 2021 - posted by Steve Lafferty

The 2021 PodiatryNZ conference was a roaring success! The format, this year, focused on the social side and on compulsory CPD sessions.

Formthotics were asked if we would like to sponsor the inaugural Podiatry NZ Awards Dinner at the 2021 Podiatry NZ Conference, in Rotorua, on the 19th of June 2021. We jumped at the opportunity as it gave us the chance to help celebrate the high achievers of the profession.

One month on, and it’s time to reflect on the event.

The first evening was time for old friends to catch up and new connections to be made. Rotorua offered plenty of opportunities for eating, drinking and hopping from bar to bar, catching up with a different group of podiatrists in each. For those that haven’t experienced Rotorua, it’s in the centre of the north island of New Zealand. It sits on the Pacific Rim of Fire and is known for its ancient volcanoes, bubbling mud and geothermal activity. This is particularly evident by the distinct smell of rotten eggs that greets you when you arrive in town!

Saturday morning was spent at Te Puia, a well-established Maori Cultural Centre and geothermal area. Delegates were treated to a slick cultural show by a local family and their friends. Mum and Dad then gave us all a lesson in Te Reo Maori (indigenous Maori language) and Maori culture. We also were given a tour of the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, which was very interesting.

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The afternoon was spent back in the Te Puia marae (traditional Maori meeting house), learning about pre and post-colonial New Zealand and the impact on Maori. Two of our podiatrists, Lawrence Kingi and Cynthia Otene, also led a question-and-answer session on the challenges for Maori in the New Zealand healthcare system.

The most important part of the conference was about to happen for the Foot Science International team, the 2021 PodiatryNZ Formthotics Awards Dinner. Two hundred forty guests gathered at the Energy Events Centre for a beautifully prepared meal, hosted by our very own CEO, Shane Heenan. Decked out in full Scottish regalia, complete with kilt and sporran, Shane certainly looked the part and did a fabulous job as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.  During the course of the evening, the recipients of the inaugural Podiatry NZ Formthotics awards came up on stage to receive their well-deserved accolades and awards (created by Foot Science International). The last award of the evening was the Formthotics Excellence Award. This award wasn’t voted on by the profession, like the other awards, it was decided by the team at Foot Science International. The recipient was the entire group of Resonance Podiatry practices. This group has led the profession in achieving Allied Health Standards accreditation. Little did they know when they began that process, over three years ago, that it was going to become a compulsory process for those practices who want to be a part of the ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) contract, allowing them access to ACC funding without prior approval, which is an important aspect of many podiatry clinics.

We were delighted to be a part of such a fabulous evening, and we will be keen to support the next event in two years.

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Day 2 of the conference was spent back in the same hall as the dinner the night before, covering some compulsory CPD lectures on infection control and wound management and a session from ACC on their services and the new contract.

All in all, the event, which focused more on the social side than the professional, was a huge success, with record attendance. It was unusual not to have a trade exhibition as a supplier, but the opportunity to connect in more meaningful ways with our clients far outweighed the lack of trade stand.

As Covid has severely impacted many conferences around the world over the past 18 months we feel extremely fortunate to be able to hold an in-person event and are looking forward to what the next one may bring.