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Excellence in Speech-language Therapy Practice Award

The Marion Saunders trustees invite applications for the Marion Saunders Excellence in Speech-language Therapy Practice Award.

This award is for an innovative project that clearly demonstrates clinical/practice application and impact within the  New Zealand context.

Your written abstract and presentation at the biennial professional development symposium would need to highlight how it meets these criteria.

Value of award: $1,000 


Background of Award

The Marion Saunders Award was instituted in 1973 after Marion Saunders and Mary Eileen Roberts set up a trust.  The trust was endowed with £200 with the intent that the same shall be dedicated in perpetuity as a prize fund for original writing or research into matters or problems related to speech therapy. 

Miss Marion E. Saunders was appointed to establish a speech class at the Normal School, Christchurch, as early as 1930.

The New Zealand Speech Therapy Association was formed in Christchurch in August, during the first refresher course for therapists to be held in New Zealand. 

Miss Marion Saunders was appointed as the first president of the Association. 

Application and Eligibility

This biennial award is open to all NZSTA members with a presentation accepted at the NZSTA biennial professional development symposium.  

Applicants must be willing to share their presentation in written format for Communication Matters - the quarterly magazine of the NZSTA.

The closing date is the deadline for abstract submission to the symposium.

When you submit your abstract for consideration for the symposium, you can indicate if you want to be considered for the Marion Saunders Trust Award.

  • This award is for an innovative, relevant, novel project demonstrating clinical/practice application and impact within the  New Zealand context. 
  • There needs to be explicit links of evidence/research recommendations for speech-language practice. 
  • Specifically, you will demonstrate reflection within the Aotearoa New Zealand context, e.g., impact on the New Zealand curriculum, normative data, NZ-specific data, and improving NZ health pathways ...
  • Your written abstract must be clearly written in the recommended format and word limit.  The abstract must reflect the presentation provided.
  • The delivery of the presentation is engaging and logically put together, with the appropriate use of visual materials for the context.


The award process is as follows:

Each year, the NZSTA will chair and convene a panel made up of*:

  • a representative from one of the accredited universities
  • a representative from the NZSTA Board (panel chair)
  • two practising speech-language therapists (ensuring representation from health. education, and private practice in rotation)
    * No panel member will also be a contender for the Marion Saunder's award.

The executive director will inform the trustees of the make-up of each panel and provide copies of each accepted abstract.

The panel will be responsible for reviewing the abstracts, listening to the oral presentations and scoring.  The panel chair will collate the score sheet from each of the judges, aggregate the scores between the judges, and provide the trustees with a written recommendation of the decision.

The trustees make the final decision with weighting given to the panel's recommendation, which will have considered the spirit and intent of the award.

Award Recipient from Previous Years

  • 2022 recipient: Megan Eustace - for Aspirations for speech-language therapy services to Māori following stroke.
  • 2017 recipients: Alayne McKee and Sally Kedge – for ‘Speech Language Therapists Human Rights Enablers’
  • 2014 recipients: Roz Young, Jannelle Irvine, Voon Pang and Sharne Lucas – for ‘The Pilot Mentoring Programme for PWS by PWS: Preliminary Evidence’.