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Nor'West News: January 28, 2021

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NOR’WEST NEWS Latest Canterbury news at starnews.co.nz<br />

Thursday <strong>January</strong> <strong>28</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 11<br />

KIWIBANK LOCAL HERO AWARDS<br />

Work with music therapy earns Wade medal<br />

• By Ella Somers<br />

KIMBERLEY WADE, founder<br />

and director of Southern Music<br />

Therapy, thought it was a hoax<br />

when she found out she had<br />

been made a Kiwibank Local<br />

Hero medallist for her work as<br />

a registered neurologic music<br />

therapist.<br />

However, she said it was “really<br />

lovely to be valued by someone<br />

other than my husband and my<br />

mum. Someone investigated<br />

and appreciated what I’ve done<br />

and thought it was cool, so that’s<br />

pretty special.”<br />

Wade grew up in Hawkes<br />

Bay in a musical family and<br />

studied psychology and classical<br />

singing at Victoria University.<br />

She considered becoming a<br />

clinical psychologist but<br />

“wanted to add the music in<br />

there somewhere.”<br />

After meeting a music therapist<br />

and learning about music therapy,<br />

Wade realised it was a career she<br />

wanted to pursue. She auditioned<br />

and got into Victoria University’s<br />

master of music therapy<br />

programme and, after graduating,<br />

moved to Christchurch.<br />

Wade describes musical therapy<br />

as a tool to help with a nonmusical<br />

goal, like finger dexterity<br />

or helping with emotional<br />

expression.<br />

“We’re also working on<br />

communication, physical<br />

VALUED: Providing musical therapy for people with<br />

disabilities has earned Kimberley Wade a Kiwibank Local<br />

Hero medal for <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

rehabilitation, cognitive,<br />

emotional and social goals,” she<br />

said.<br />

Music therapy is in “quite<br />

a medical field,” Wade said,<br />

something she wishes people<br />

were more aware of.<br />

“As musical therapists, we’re<br />

providing opportunities and we<br />

think outside the box as to how<br />

music can be accessible to people<br />

with disabilities.<br />

“I love music because<br />

it’s a non-verbal way of<br />

communicating with people. It<br />

bypasses everything and gets right<br />

into your soul and provides this<br />

universal connection to people.”<br />

Wade has more than14 years<br />

experience as a neurologic<br />

music therapist and works<br />

primarily with people who have<br />

rehabilitation and neurological<br />

conditions.<br />

Said Wade: “I founded<br />

Southern Music Therapy<br />

because I liked working with<br />

people with neurological<br />

conditions. I wanted to work with<br />

stroke clients which was quite<br />

unheard of in New Zealand, not<br />

just Christchurch.”<br />

Southern Music Therapy<br />

provides a range of therapy<br />

services for people with<br />

disabilities from group work<br />

to individual sessions and<br />

now works within all the<br />

big neurological facilities in<br />

Christchurch such as Equitas, St<br />

John of God, Laura Fergusson<br />

and Burwood Hospital.<br />

As well as setting up the<br />

organisation, Wade co-founded<br />

the Cantabrainer Choir Trust<br />

with Therapy Professionals in<br />

February 2012 which is now run<br />

by the trust.<br />

The choir is for people with<br />

neurological conditions. Wade<br />

said she is really proud of what it’s<br />

done for so many people.<br />

“There was a real gap for people<br />

with neurological conditions<br />

who couldn’t afford private music<br />

therapy.<br />

“It’s a fabulous community<br />

space for people to come together<br />

and be able to do rehabilitation<br />

without it being super expensive.”<br />

A lot of Wade’s clients,<br />

especially her stroke clients, are<br />

not covered by ACC which means<br />

they have to pay privately for<br />

music therapy.<br />

“There’s never enough funding<br />

in the neurologic area and there’s<br />

never enough understanding of<br />

what musical therapy can offer,”<br />

Wade said.<br />

“I do have clients who sacrifice<br />

parts of their lifestyle in order to<br />

pay for the therapy because it’s so<br />

highly valued in their world.”<br />

It’s only after years of education<br />

and advocacy of music therapy<br />

that Wade feels more people are<br />

aware that music therapy is out<br />

there. Ideally, she wants people<br />

to know that music therapy is an<br />

option just like speech therapy or<br />

physiotherapy and to make sure<br />

it’s available to people if they need<br />

it.<br />

“In the last couple of years<br />

music therapy is becoming more<br />

recognised and more valued,” she<br />

said.<br />

“It’s definitely growing and<br />

keeping it as a quality service is<br />

very important.”<br />

• More awards, pages 12 & 13

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