Diversional Therapist Kaihaumanu Rēhia

Diversional therapists plan and run recreation programmes that enhance the emotional, social and physical wellbeing of individuals.

Diversional therapists can choose to register with the New Zealand Society of Diversional Recreational Therapists.

Diversional therapists may do some or all of the following:

  • plan recreational programmes and events
  • encourage participation and enjoyment in activities and events
  • assess and document participants' progress
  • discuss participants' progress with medical and other professionals, and families.

Physical Requirements

Diversional therapists need to have a good level of fitness and must be reasonably strong, as they may need to help carry or move people.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for diversional therapists includes work with the elderly, people with disabilities and children.

Personal Qualities

Diversional therapists need to be:

  • patient
  • enthusiastic
  • caring and respectful
  • good communicators
  • practical
  • able to motivate others
  • able to work well in a team.


Diversional therapists need to have knowledge of:

  • how to plan and run recreational therapy activities for groups and individuals
  • art and craft techniques
  • sporting and cultural activities
  • first aid.


Diversional therapists:

  • do shift work, which can include evenings and weekends
  • may work in rest homes, community centres, schools, youth centres or early childhood centres.

Diversional Therapists can earn around $23-$26 per hour.

Pay for diversional therapists varies depending on experience, qualifications, registration and responsibilities.

  • New diversional therapists with relevant experience, such as community work, but no specific qualifications usually earn between $22.75 to $26 an hour.
  • Newly qualified diversional therapists usually earn $27.
  • Qualified and registered diversional therapists usually earn $28 to $30.
  • Diversional therapists in managerial roles can earn between $30 and $40 or more.

Source: NZ Society of Diversional Registered Therapists, 2021.

Diversional therapists may progress to managerial roles, including leading recreation teams at rest homes and hospitals.

With further training, they may become occupational therapists.

Diversional therapists may specialise in:

  • art therapy
  • music therapy
  • play.

Years Of Training

There are no specific entry requirements to become a diversional therapist. However, to become a registered diversional therapist you need to complete a New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing – Social and Community Services (Level 4).

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Diversional Therapist