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Member Spotlights 

Antony McFelin

Executive Officer

New Zealand Association of Counsellors / Te Roopu Kaiwhiriwhiri o Aotearoa (NZAC).

AuSAE member since: November 2015

What we do 

NZAC is the professional association for counsellors throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. Our members are individual counsellors in a range of settings like secondary schools, some primary schools, non-government/community agencies. Counsellors also are in private practice undertaking counselling contracts with the likes of ACC or contracting to Primary Health Organisations (PHO’s).

NZAC, as a self-regulator, sets the counselling education standards, administers membership criteria, deals with concerns/complaints about its members, oversees a continuing professional development programme for counsellors and audits member's professional development against established competencies.

An academic journal is published bi-annually and newsletters are produced monthly and distributed electronically. Members of the association meet in 17 different branches throughout the country.

Number of members

Staff size
7 staff.

Years in association management
5 years.

How I got into association management

When I began in my role at NZAC I had heard about Associations NZ and then AuSAE through colleagues at an Allied Health forum I was part of. I then went to a AuSAE meeting and realised that there would be good value in belonging as there were so many common issues that people at AuSAE were dealing with. I have found the commonality even though there is a diversity of associations to be very helpful in fulfilling my role.

What I like about my job

I like the challenges of supporting NZAC to uphold professional standards for counsellors. There is the balance of hearing what the members need versus the voice of funders and members of the public. Therefore, sometime I need to lead the association and its members into new ways of understanding their work and role. In the past year or so this has been strengthening the continuing professional programme and some members have found this quite challenging.

My biggest challenge
We are currently challenged to show that counselling is effective. Funding is continually cutback for counselling and funders use the excuse that if the evidence is not present then they cannot fund counselling to the levels we believe they should be. We have plenty of qualitative evidence but funders like quantitative evidence. We are beginning a research study and this has been a challenge to get off the ground. Once completed the next challenge will be to use this in the most positive way with the funders of counselling services.

What I am most proud of at our association

I am proud of the ways in which our members, sometime under incredible pressure, give their services to those most in need in the community.  That we have a robust and professional membership of counsellors in this country is something to be proud of.

Favourite AuSAE event  

I have been to one Leadership, Insights, Networking Conference (LINC) held in New Zealand and it quickly became my favourite event.  I am booked to go again this year!

What I want to learn from other AuSAE members 
I learn many things from others about how they undertake their professional development or how they run their membership database. Each of these and many more ideas all have snippets of relevance that I take back to the board to improve our processes.

How AuSAE has helped me 

By making the events available and accessible, from the lunches, small networking events and the larger LiNC conference AuSAE has linked me to a wide group of passionate and professional people working in the not-for-profit sector. This has been invaluable in keeping up-to-date with the sector and the changes that are always occurring.

July 2018 Member Spotlight Jill Romeo - Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators

June 2018 Member Spotlight Rod Severn - Professional Advisers Association 

May 2018 Member Spotlight Bill Moore - Fitness Australia

April 2018 Member Spotlight Steve Williams - New Zealand School Trustees Association

March 2018 Member Spotlight Linda Smith - The Chiropractors Association of Australia (Queensland)

February 2018 Member Spotlight Alison McKessar - Association of Administrative Professionals NZ

January 2018 Member Spotlight Cheryl Power  - Australian Society for Microbiology

Reasons to Join 

Community of association professionals


Professional Education 


Member only on-line Resources


Leadership Growth Opportunities



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