THE HISTORY OF IMHAANZ
The idea for IMHAANZ began in 1989 but it wasn’t until 2004 that the process for becoming an affiliate of WAIMH – the World Association of Infant Mental Health – began. We were given WAIMH affiliation status in 2006 and IMHAANZ itself was officially launched in 2007.
Following is a timeline of some of IMHAANZ more notable events.
IMHAANZ maintains its absolute commitment to supporting professionals in Aotearoa who work with infants and their families. We: Collaborate by connecting professionals from a range of disciplines together, Educate by providing opportunities and resources to enhance practice, and Advocate by promoting the importance of infant mental health.
The three IMHAANZ FAN Trainers – Denise Guy, Judy Hunter and Lucie Zwimpfer – join ten other accredited FAN Master Trainers in the world. Master Trainers train trainers of the FAN Model, which is now present in 40 states in the USA and internationally in NZ, Israel, Argentina, Romania, India, Australia + the United Kingdom. In 2021 over 2,000 professionals worldwide working in home visiting, primary care, early intervention, child welfare, early childhood education, early childhood mental health, and youth mentoring were trained in the FAN Approach.
IMHAANZ Members overwhelmingly vote to have dual membership with AiMH UK and this is now live. Members become able to access the UK Infant Mental Health Association members pages under their existing IMHAANZ membership. This offers a host of benefits including access to all professional resources (including the AiMH UK Best Practice Guides and the ‘Getting to Know Your Baby’ Videos), free admission to AiMH UK Skills Box sessions, discounts to their National Conferences, free admission to all online CPD events run by AiMH UK Hubs, quarterly copies of the International Journal of Birth and Parenting Education (IJBPE ), updates on the latest Research in Infant Mental Health with downloadable articles, and reports, clinical papers – and access to the Infant Mental Health CPD System.
IMHAANZ holds its first online Symposium. Spanning three days and 30+ speakers, this fully online event was a way of connecting those working in infant mental health across Aotearoa after COVID made planning a face-to-face conference difficult. The theme was Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia o tatou mahi: Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work. An absolute highlight was having Jane Barlow – President of AIMH UK and Professor of Evidence Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford – present.
An updated, streamlined IMHAANZ website is introduced featuring a new byline: Infants need secure, nurturing relationships to thrive | Me poipoi ngā kōhungahunga e tupu ora ai, and a clear mission: to collaborate, educate and advocate for infant mental health in Aotearoa. Unchanged is IMHAANZ’s focus of supporting professionals in Aotearoa who work with infants and their families.
Sarah Haskell becomes IMHAANZ’s fourth president.
IMHAANZ publishes and launches Two Homes | Ngā Kainga e Rua – a booklet about supporting relationships for babies and toddlers with two homes in Aotearoa New Zealand. It has been adapted with permission from the original Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health pamphlet Supporting Relationships for Infants and Toddlers with Two Homes and is for sale via the IMHAANZ website Two Homes page.
The fourth IMHAANZ conference, Protection and Nurturance – Weaving the mat for infants, their families and practitioners, takes place at Te Papa in Wellington with 98.4 of respondents rating it “Excellent” or “Very Good”. There is another stunning lineup of speakers including international keynotes: Kevin Nugent, Sherryl Scott Heller and Helen Minnis – and New Zealand’s Minister of Health, Hon. Dr David Clark; Amanda Millar – Journalist, Producer and Director of the film, Celia; and Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft.
IMHAANZ runs its inaugural FAN Trainings in Wellington with FAN Founder, Linda Gilkerson, present. FAN stands for Facilitating Attuned Interactions. At the end of these trainings, three IMHAANZ Executive Members – Denise Guy, Judy Hunter and Lucie Zwimpfer – become accredited FAN Trainers which also follows two years of working with and being supervised by Linda. And IMHAANZ joins the international FAN network that brings together FAN users in 19 American states and three countries.
IMHAANZ launches a much-needed new website along with a new logo and Mission Statement. This new website is the culmination of a long journey thinking about how to make the site a more useful member portal, as well as a dynamic place to visit for those interested in infant mental health.
The third IMHAANZ conference, Opportunities within the Challenges is held in Queenstown and feedback is overwhelming positive. International keynotes speakers are Linda Gilkerson, Julie Ribaudo and Hisako Watanabe – alongside New Zealand’s own Commissioner for Children, Dr Russell Wills.
Dr Denise Guy becomes IMHAANZ’s third president.
Tools for Professionals: Receive Reflect Relate, the second IMHAANZ conference, is held at Te Papa in Wellington across three days and is a great success. The keynote speakers are Dr. Deborah Weatherston, Beulah Warren, Lynaire Doherty, Aroha Gray and Kararaina Penehira. Dr. Weatherston remains a staunch supporter of IMHAANZ and helps broaden our connections beyond New Zealand.
Following the Christchurch earthquakes, IMHAANZ Executive members Lucie Zwimpfer, Maree Foley, Denise Guy and Lauren Porter generate two letters to families with infants in Christchurch. These Letters to Christchurch are subsequently adopted and adapted by other WAIMH affiliates (Japan, Turkey, Australia and Tulane) in the wake of disasters in their own nations.
Maree Foley, IMHAANZ President, receives funding from the Prime Minister’s Fund to attend the 12th WAIMH World Congress in Leipzig, Germany and, in a memorable meeting of the Affiliates, becomes the Affiliate Council Representative. Maree works with Martin St Andre (the Affiliate Council Chair) over the next 4 years to promote the goals of affiliates within WAIMH.
Maree Foley becomes the second President of the organisation. Maree puts her considerable talents to work consolidating the processes and networking within our organisation and the links we have with other affiliates and with WAIMH.
A symposium is held which ‘piggy backs’ on the meeting of the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The keynote speakers are Sarah Mares, Lauren Porter and Robyn Dolby – with Colin Hamlin as a Ministry of Health representative and supporter. IMHAANZ says au revoir to its first President, Kimberley Powell, at the end of 2009 with her return to Canada. Kim remains a kind and consistent supporter of our organisation and its members. Janet Gregory, a foundation Executive Member, retires and moves to Australia.
In this early phase IMHAANZ is based across Wellington, Palmerston North and Christchurch. Sylvia Bagnell and Diana Linforth-Howden are committee members and ‘there were many people totally committed to the aims of IMHAANZ.’ Interest regionally becomes formalised with regional networks established in the Manawatu, Christchurch with Norah Fryer, Wellington with Maree Foley, Waikato with Lauren Porter and Auckland with Bianca Sava. By the end of the year membership stands at 82.
The first conference and official launch of IMHAANZ takes place in Wellington; this event is called ‘Strengthening Relationships: Beginnings in Infant Mental Health in Aotearoa, New Zealand‘. Here Elizabeth Muir and Patricia Champion accept the invitation to be Patrons of IMHAANZ. The Honourable Steve Maharey, Minister of Education, gives the launch address. The Elisabeth Muir oration is established and Elisabeth herself gives the first oration. Other speakers are Beulah Warren, Sarah Te One and Dr Trecia Wouldes and Denise Guy. Beulah provides a workshop focused on the Getting To Know You film developed by the NSW Institute of Psychiatry.
The first newsletter announces the intention to officially launch the IMHAANZ Affiliate at a one day conference in April the following year.
Dr Kimberley Powell is announced as the first President of IMHAANZ.
At the Paris meeting of WAIMH, IMHAANZ is accepted as an official affiliate following a unanimous vote from the WAIMH Board of Directors. The decision is conveyed in a relaxed way by Hiram Fitzgerald in a chance meeting in the lobby of the conference venue and more formal written congratulations follow.
The application for Affiliate status to WAIMH is submitted.
The first meeting is held in Wellington to formally organise the application to WAIMH. Kimberley, Janet, and Denise are joined by Joan Sykora, Norah Fryer and John Brickell. Help (much appreciated) comes from partners and the group is especially appreciative of Ian White’s contribution to the task of developing the first Deed and By-Laws. Discussion is held about the name and Infant Mental Health Association Aotearoa New Zealand – or IMHAANZ for short – is settled on.
Janet writes in the NZ Littlies Lobby Newsletter announcing the plans and why the initiative is seen as necessary: “Those who study, work with, and advocate for infants and their families are aware of some of the fragmentation of efforts in this important life stage. This umbrella organisation could provide a multidisciplinary effort to encourage more coordinated and informed efforts on behalf of infants and their families.”
Kimberley and Janet meet with Denise Guy, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, at the Brown Sugar café in Otaki to consider what is required for an application to WAIMH to become an official affiliate. Kimberley is a past committee member of AAIMHI and Denise, a Foundation member of the Australian Affiliate. Denise brings her box of AAIMHI documents and – with good coffee and sunshine – preliminary plans are made.
Kimberley Powell, a lecturer in Early Years Education, and Janet Gregory, a lecturer in Health and Human Development, both at Massey University, begin an initiative ‘calling all New Zealand professionals, academics and children’s advocates together to register their interest in establishing a new interdisciplinary infant mental health group’. A number of people sign up and, early in 2005, thoughts turn towards the idea of WAIMH Affiliation. WAIMH is the World Association for Infant Mental Health with Affiliates around the globe.
The first newsletter of the Australian Affiliate for Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI) includes a ‘Report from New Zealand’. Keryl Egan, President of AAIMHI, had previously visited New Zealand and in Dunedin met with Dawn Manley (then Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training), Angela Stupples, Kathy McKergow and Rosie Adams – a group interested in the Australian experience and keen to see developments in infant mental health in New Zealand.