Skip to main content

History of The Paediatric Society of New Zealand

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) was founded in 1946 in Auckland by a group of General Practitioners and Paediatricians led by Dr S L Ludbrook who became the inaugural President of the Society. The first AGM held 14 May 1947 and attended by 32 members.

The aims and objects were

"to stimulate interest in and to promote the scientific study of child health and Paediatrics in New Zealand, and to engage in all activities, clinical and educational, which in the opinion of the Society, may be necessary from time to time in the interest of child health".

Annual scientific meetings commenced and these meetings remain a significant feature in the today's PSNZ calendar. The meetings featured New Zealand and overseas experts in child health, papers on current topics of interest were presented and positive relationships were established with various agencies, including relevant Government Departments. The PSNZ has always striven to promote undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Paediatrics and played a significant role in persuading Government and the University of Otago to establish the first Chair in Paediatrics in NZ to which Professor J W Watt was appointed in 1967.


Initially the majority of PSNZ members were paediatricians. In 2000 the Constitution was amended, and membership of the Society is now "open to people who are eligible for inclusion on the Medical Council Specialist Register as Paediatricians or Paediatric Surgeons or are nurses, medical practitioners, or allied health professionals who hold current registration with their regulatory body and who have achieved a post-graduate qualification recognized by the society and who have specialized in the field of child health for a minimum of 5 years". This has enabled the Annual Scientific Meetings to be multi-disciplinary, reflects today's paediatric practices, provides a stronger community voice, has credibility with Government agencies and is a world leader in multidisciplinary membership of a professional organisation.

In 2007 PSNZ began formal discussions with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to initiate the development of a "Strategic approach to the development of national clinical networks for child and youth health services". Successive Ministers of Health acknowledged the value of MOH and PSNZ working in partnership and in 2010 the first contract with signed with MOH. This has enabled the development a range of New Zealand Child and Youth Clinical Networks (NZCYCN Programme). PSNZ has subsequently renewed contracts with MOH and the current NZCYCN Programme can be viewed at

A number of other initiatives have been promoted and supported by PSNZ including the KidsHealth website -, NZ Telemedicine (formally Telepaediatrics), NZ Paediatric Surveillance Unit - and NZ Child & Youth Epidemiology Service

The PSNZ multidisciplinary membership remains reasonably stable at approximately 520 - 530.