About the Council

The Council meets regularly during the year.

If you wish the Council to consider any matter, you don’t need to wait for particular meeting dates. 

Submissions can be sent to the Council Registrar at any time and she will arrange for the matter to be considered by the Council at the first opportunity.

Clare Prendergast - Registrar

The Registrar is the primary point of contact for all applications, enquiries, requests and complaints. 

Clare can be contacted by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning
+64 4 474 0747.

Appointment of Members

The Council is made up of six health practitioners and two laypersons.

Council members are appointed by the Minister of Health.  Before making the appointments, the Minister must publish a notice inviting nominations.  Information on nominations can be obtained from the Account Manager - Committees in the Corporate Services Directorate of the Ministry of Health.

We operate on the principle of collective responsibility. Council members may have been nominated by an organisation, but do not represent that organisation at Council meetings. Council members are paid for their time carrying out Council work. The Council sets the payment rates.

Council Members

Tim Friedlander - Chair

Tim 6 Use on website

Tim Friedlander holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Osteopathy degree from Unitec and a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science from the University of Otago. He has worked in private practice in Auckland for over ten years, and currently practices at a clinic on the North Shore.

Tim has strong ties to education, lecturing part-time in the osteopathy programme at Unitec and with experience in e-learning and information technology.

His interest in patient-centred care has led him to further study at Auckland University of Technology where he is pursuing a Doctor of Health Science degree.

He has served on the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand for over six years, and is currently serving on his third, and final, three-year term

Lara Sanders - Deputy Chair

Lara Sanders

Lara is a graduate of the Unitec osteopathy programme and she now works in a multidisciplinary practice Wellington.

Lara was first appointed to Council in 2015. She believes that regulation makes osteopathy a stronger profession, providing standards to uphold, accountability to our patients and protecting the title of osteopath.

Lara's upbringing and education in New Zealand allow her to feel comfortable working with this country's cultural nuances and increasingly diverse community, while her years of living internationally have given her perspective on how New Zealand operates within the global environment.

She sees potential for the role of osteopathic medicine to grow and become an important part of integrated healthcare in New Zealand and hopes to facilitate this growth through her work in practice and with the Council.

Lawrence Cartmell 

Lawrence 3 Use on website

Lawrence graduated from Leeds University with a B.Sc (Hons) in 1978. He entered the osteopathic profession in 1984 after graduating from the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy (now British College of Osteopathic Medicine) in London. He practised in London until 1987 when he emigrated to Wellington, where he has been in private practice ever since.

Over the years Lawrence has been involved with the profession in a number of ways, initially as secretary to the New Zealand Register of Osteopaths, then as a Disciplinary Board member of the NZRO. In 2004 he was appointed by the Minister of Health to the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (as a practitioner member) under the HPCA Act 2003. He resigned from the Tribunal in 2014 after appointment to the OCNZ.

Lawrence has a special interest in rehabilitation in his private practice working to alleviate pain, improve function and empower patients to help themselves.

Committees: Finance and Audit (Chair)

Emma Fairs 

Emma Fairs is a registered Osteopath who trained in the UK where she worked for two years before moving to New Zealand.  Emma has been working in Christchurch for the last 15 years, in her private practice; her main clinical focus has been the Osteopathic management of Obstetric and Paediatric patients.

Emma has been involved in the development of Osteopathy in NZ, both the regulation of the profession and the development of a training programme.  She was part of the NZQA panel that accredited the Masters Degree in Osteopathy at Unitec, Auckland; and for four years acted as one of the two Monitors for the supply of the Degree.  Between 1997 and 2008 she was an elected member of the Osteopathic Society of New Zealand (OSNZ) and the New Zealand Register of Osteopaths (NZRO) Committee, initially organising the supply of post-graduate education in NZ, and for the last four years in the position of OSNZ President.  Since resigning from the position of President, Emma has consulted for the OSNZ and the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ).

Committees: Education Committee, Registration Assessment & Examination Committee, Scope of Practice Working Group 

 Janet Miller

Kia ora koutou

I am the lay person member on the Osteopathic Council and as such my role is to bring a patient’s perspective to the work of the Council.

My two boys and I started seeing an osteopath when my boys were babies, however these days our visits are usually related to sporting injuries as they are now aged 9 and 13.

Prior to having children I worked as a lawyer in the health sector so I have a good understanding of the legal environment in which the osteopathic profession operates. 

I am currently a Manager at a nationwide NGO that uses digital platforms to share research and evaluation resources with NGOs throughout Aotearoa.

Melinda Sweeney

Melinda started her career as an Osteopath on the other side of the ditch, graduating from RMIT University in Melbourne in 1998 before joining a large team of osteopaths based in Hobart then relocating to Christchurch in 2001 where she now works in private practice.

Melinda works with a variety of patients and has a special interest in the area of rehabilitation, having undertaken post-graduate study in the field at AUT University. In 2017, she joined the professional advisory committee at Ara to assist in establishing the new degree program there and worked with the CDHB on the Cantebury Back Pain Initiative whose aim was to guide GPs to make the appropriate referral for acute low back pain presentations. Melinda is keen to work with the profession on integrating osteopathy into the wider health commu

Richard Aston

I am the new lay member on the Osteopathic Council. My governance experience covers a wide range of boards, trusts and government panels, including being the former chair of Consumer NZ, the former CEO of a social service agency (Big Buddy) and a Ministry of Social Developement Benefit Review tribunal member.  I think including a lay member outside of the profession is a sign of robust governance, offering a different perspective, through fresh eyes. I hope to bring a people and client focussed perspective to the Council. 

Larissa Morgan

Larissa is a new practitioner member to the Council, who has been in private practice since graduating from Unitec in 2008 with Masters of Osteopathy (Hons.). Her areas of clinical interest are varied but focus more on disc injury, osteopathic care of infants, and women’s health.

Prior to practicing osteopathy, Larissa held various roles at Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at Auckland Airport, UDC Finance and overseas. Larissa is very pleased to serve the public and osteopathic profession with her appointment to the Council.

The Osteopathic Council operates under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act). The Act was passed on 18 September 2003. Most of the provisions of the Act came into effect on 18 September 2004. The HPCA Act replaces the profession-specific legislation that was in force before this date.

The purpose of the Act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.

The Act has regularised scopes of practice. Scopes of practice describe the contents of the profession. The scope of practice is required to be endorsed on each practitioner’s annual practising certificate. Every practitioner who practises must have a current practising certificate.

Section 7 is one of the key provisions of the Act. This section states that no person may claim to be practising a profession as a health practitioner of a particular kind or state or do anything that is calculated to suggest that the person practises or is willing to practise a profession as a health practitioner of that kind unless the person:

(a) is a health practitioner of that kind, and
(b) holds a current practising certificate as a health practitioner of that kind.

Health practitioners must not practise outside their authorised scope of practice. A copy of the Act can be viewed at www.legislation.govt.nz .

The Council's functions under the HPCA Act

Section 118 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 sets out the Council's functions:

  • To authorise the registration of health practitioners under the Act, and to maintain registers.
  • To consider applications for Annual Practising Certificates.
  • To review and promote the competence of health practitioners.
  • To recognise, accredit, and set programmes to ensure the ongoing competence of health practitioners.
  • To receive and act on information from health practitioners, employers, and the Health and Disability Commissioner about the competence of health practitioners.
  • To notify employers, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Director-General of Health, and the Health and Disability Commissioner that the practice of a health practitioner may pose a risk of harm to the public.
  • To consider the cases of health practitioners who may be unable to perform the functions required for the practice of the profession.
  • To set standards of clinical competence, cultural competence, and ethical conduct to be observed by health practitioners of the profession.
  • To liaise with other authorities appointed under the Act about matters of common interest.
  • To promote education and training in the profession.
  • To promote public awareness of the responsibilities of the authority.
  • To exercise and perform any other functions, powers and duties that are conferred or imposed on it by or under the Act or any other enactment.

Accountability to Ministry of Health

  • Each year the Council must give the Minister of Health an annual report, including the audited financial statements of the Council, to be presented to the House of Representatives by the Minister. Our most recent annual report can be viewed here.
  • The Minister may also appoint an auditor to audit the records of the Council to determine whether the Council is complying, or has complied, with the provisions of the HPCA Act. A copy of the auditor's report must be presented to the House of Representatives by the Minister.
  • The Minister may also ask the Council to supply statistical information relating the discharge of the functions of the authority.


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