The Ministry of Health is currently interviewing prospective members of the new Chinese Medicine Council of New Zealand (CMCNZ). It is expected that the new Council will be announced toward the end of April.

Registration under the HPCA Act (2003) is something that successive Acupuncture NZ Council members have worked toward for many years. The profession was gazetted on 1 November 2021 and it is likely that the first registrations will be possible for the 2023/4 year.

This is a very significant step for the profession not only here in New Zealand but also globally. Whilst it is estimated that there are close to 1200 practitioners in New Zealand, world wide there are hundreds of thousands. Acupuncture NZ has close ties with many international Chinese medicine organisations in countries such as China, Australia, Korea, Japan, the US, UK and Europe.

Registration under the Act allows practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine to take take their place beside other health professionals such as the medical doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, osteopaths and others. Whilst acupuncture has been recognised by ACC since 1990, not being included under the Act has created some difficulty for the profession. With registration under the HPCA Act we can now continue to move forward and more easily provide quality care for all New Zealanders.

The focus of the HPCA Act is protection of the public. Until now, Acupuncture NZ has acted as both the regulatory body and the professional organisation. The regulatory aspects will move to CMCNZ, leaving Acupuncture NZ to advocate on behalf of members, promote the profession and continue to provide quality Continuing Education opportunities for members. Those seeking treatment from their local practitioner of Chinese medicine or acupuncture can be assured that if they are a member of Acupuncture NZ, and in time registered with CMCNZ, that they have met high levels of education, competence and safety in clinical practice.

It is a very exciting time for the profession here in New Zealand.