Hello from New Zealand!


Hello, my name is Orquidea Tamayo Mortera. People call me Orchid (which is what my name translates in English) I was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico. I have a BD on International Relations & Human Rights, around other 10 different Certifications but my passion has always been Aged Care and People with disabilities. I have worked for NPO overseas in Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, etc. I speak Spanish & English fluently but I am also able to communicate in basic French, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. I arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago and I decided to change my career for a job where I could really make a difference on people’s lives.

I became a Diversional Therapist in New Zealand and I have worked for many organizations for the last 10 years. I am currently working as a Diversional Therapist for The Selwyn Foundation in Selwyn Village which is located in Pt. Chevalier, Auckland in New Zealand. I am the DT Leader and I have a beautiful team of 7 Activities Coordinators onsite (Annaleise, Alice, Claudia, Karina, Flo, Leata and Seola), 1 Psychologist Intern (Reagan) and many volunteers across the village. I have been to different conferences for Diversional Therapy in New Zealand and Australia for the last 5 years but I had the privilege to be invited by Japanese DT President Ms. Takako Serizawa (which has become a Role Model for me and a close friend) to deliver 3 lectures for Diversional Therapy Japan last year in Tokyo.

The Selwyn Foundation is one of New Zealand’s leading advocates for older people, providing homes, services and care for older people for over 60 years. We have a unique set of capabilities and services, based around our holistic sense of spirituality, wellness and caring about our older people. Selwyn Village, located on a 26 acre site, has a rich history as one of the first retirement villages in New Zealand.  It now offers those over 65 a unique lifestyle with modern apartments (Independent Living – 241), rentals (22), a dementia unit (16 beds), a hospital (82 beds), hospital/rest home (60 beds) and a rest home (52 beds).

The average age of our Independent Residents is 82 years and 8 months and 78 years and 11 months in rental cottages.  The youngest resident in Independent Living is in their mid 60’s; there are 55 residents aged 90 and over; and our oldest resident is 103 years old.  We have 338 Independent Living Residents including the rentals.  The average age of residential care residents is 87. We have 155 residents in residential care.  The youngest resident is in their late 60’s; there are 85 who are aged 90 and over and we have 8 residents who are aged 100 and over.

In Selwyn Village we have a huge range of recreational programs that go from as simple as body parts bingo, Zumba for the elderly, Tai Chi in wheelchairs, gardening club, men’s club, community outreach programs, long day trips, picnics, Art Therapy, choirs, Paro Therapy, Clown Doctors, Cyber-Seniors, Intergenerational Activities, theme days, dance therapy, massage for the elderly, inter-houses quizzes competitions, wellness & wellbeing programs, dancing therapy, music therapy, cognitive stimulation therapy, doll therapy, validation therapy, baby buddies all the way to Body Percussion.

One of the latest programs that I have introduced in the village has been Body Percussion. This program is very special and it was developed by Marcello Napoli an Italian Violinist that specializes in the connection between brain, music and movement. Some people misunderstood Body percussion with music or dancing therapy, but this program is completely different to both of them. While it is true that Body percussion includes movement and music, the music and movements chosen by Mr. Napoli are fully focus on peoples needs which has been very successful in the village with many residents joining the sessions and my team of activities coordinators have seen and recorded very positive changes in our residents lifestyles from doing Body Percussion. Our never ending quest for knowledge and research of ageing and spirituality, and our desire to enhance the lives of the elderly and allow them to continue to grow, leads us along many paths of exploration. Please feel free to contact me at any time or visit us and we will make sure to show you our Selwyn Way. I am passionate about Diversional Therapy and I truly believe that we are all connected one way or another. Just remember everything is possible, we do have a challenging role because many people misunderstand us, but as DT’s in these days not even the Sky is the limit any longer.

Kindest Regards from Aotearoa,

Orquidea Tamayo Mortera NZSDT

Registered Diversional Therapist

The Selwyn Foundation

Selwyn Village

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