New Zealand ABA

By Katrina Phillips and Nathalie Boutros

Currently the New Zealand ABA chapter (NZABA, formerly NZBAG) has 113 names on its list. Membership primarily consists of staff and students from the seven major universities in New Zealand. The strong academic presence within NZABA is apparent at our annual conference with high numbers of quality student presentations year after year. In 2008 our conference was hosted by The University of Otago in Dunedin with Dr. Louis Leland (The University of Otago) as chair. Thirteen of the 22 presentations were given by student members. A wide variety of research interests were presented including the experimental analysis of choice behavior, stimulus control, conditioned reinforcement, memory research, behavioral pharmacology, timing, the experimental analysis of human operant behavior, behavioral dynamics, applied behavior analysis, teaching adolescent job skills, evidence based practice, and animal welfare. Along with a strong academic representation a number of talks were given by non-academics with interests in behavior analysis. Non-academic members presented on such diverse topics as horse training, behavioral therapy, and business consultation. We hope that this wide variety of topics continues at the 6th Annual conference, which will be hosted by the Department of Psychology at The University of Auckland from the 28th-30th of August 2009. The call for presentations and posters is currently open until mid July. Those interested should contact either Nathalie Boutros (n.boutros@auckland.ac.nz) or Katrina Phillips (kj.phillips@aukland.ac.nz) for more information.

At the 2008 conference Katrina Phillips and Nathalie Boutros (The University of Auckland) were appointed joint-chairs of NZABA for the 2008-2009 period. Douglas Elliffe (The University of Auckland) is now treasurer and Celia Lie (University of Otago) was appointed Secretary.

NZABA would also like to acknowledge recent awards that have been given to its members. We are proud to have the work of a number of our current and former members recognized with The University of Auckland’s Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Research Unit receiving the award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) at this year’s ABA convention. In the last 40 years this lab has produced nearly 40 PhDs, a number of Masters and honors dissertations, and nearly 150 well-cited publications. We look forward to more presentations and posters from the staff and students currently in this lab as well as the lab’s many alumni still active within NZABA at our conference in August. We would also like to acknowledge that one of our long-time NZABA members Prof. Geoff White from The University of Otago, was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the New Year’s honours list.

People interested in joining NZABA should note that there is no formal application process or fee. Active membership is achieved by attending the annual conference and paying any necessary fees (note that there is no fee for student presenters). Once again, any interested individuals should contact Nathalie Boutros or Katrina Phillips to be put on our email list.

NZABA Continuing Education report for 2008

We currently have eight BCBAs in New Zealand. In 2008, in addition to attending conferences, there was one special event organized for BCBAs to receive CEUs. The University of Auckland hosted presentations by Dr. Wayne Fisher and Dr. Cathleen Piazza over two days. These presentations on internationally accepted best practice included talks on ABA, functional analysis, function-based treatment, effective service delivery, early intervention in autism, and feeding. BCBAs were able to earn up to 12 CEU’s from these presentations