Diploma in Diversional and Recreational Therapy (Work-Integrated) (Level 5)

Programme Start Dates:  

  • Monday 12 August  2024 (applications close 2 August)
  • Monday 21 October 2024 (applications close 12 October)

Note: all intake dates are subject to change depending on number of enrolments

Tuition Fee:

  • New Zealand Citizens or Permanent Residents - $5952.00 (Kalandra Scholarships available)
  • Work Visa Holders -  $6550 (can be paid by instalments)

Note conditions apply to the following for nz citizens/permanent residents;

 Fees free maybe available please check the website https://www.feesfree.govt.nz/ 

Student loans and allowances maybe available please check the website https://www.studylink.govt.nz/


Additional Costs (may occur):  

Police Vetting $25

Device (see at the end of the page places in NZ you can purchase a tablet or computer from)


Programme Overview

NZQF:  Level 5

Total credits:  120

Delivery length: 52 weeks (including 4 holiday weeks).  This programme is delivered ONLINE with no time off work required.

Total learning hours: 1200

Directed online learning: 20 hours per week  

Work placement: Clinical hours in own place of work (as appropriate). A minimum of 8 hours per week.

Programme Purpose

This NZQA approved Diploma in Diversional and Recreational Therapy (Work-integrated) (Level 5) programme is designed for those working (or intending to work) in diversional and recreational therapy, who are seeking career advancement or professional growth. The health and wellbeing sector in New Zealand will benefit from having access to graduates with knowledge and skills in diversional and recreational therapy and  care planning for supporting clients and whanau to maximise health and wellbeing outcomes. Aged Care facilities and community organisations will benefit from having access to graduates who have undertaken studies that were integrated with practical workplace settings. 

Graduates of this programme will be able to work independently, planning and revising dementia care strategies, and applying culturally appropriate, responsive care in a diversional and recreational setting.

The types of theory covered in the programme include:

  • Diversional and Recreational Therapy
  • Healthcare Models
  • Evidenced-based Approaches
  • Person-centred Theory
  • Values-based and Authentic Leadership

At successful completion students will be awarded the New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Practice/Applied Practice), Level 5.

The Diploma in Diversional and Recreational Therapy (Work-Integrated) (Level 5) programme is taught in six modules:

Module 1 Factors influencing Diversional and Recreational Therapy (16 credits)

This module explores leadership and support practices used to develop positive health and wellbeing outcomes for clients and wh?nau while considering the social, cultural, economic and political factors that impact the health and wellbeing environment.

Module 2 - Collaboration in Diversional and Recreational Therapy (17 credits)

This module explores the development of diversional and recreational therapy strategies. The module introduces the concept of collaboration practice using recognised M?ori health models that provide a te ao M?ori perspective.

Module 3 - Diversional and Recreational Therapy Integrated Care Planning (25 credits)

This module explores the ideas of integrated care planning using reflective practices with a  focus on value-based leadership, workplace responsiveness and te ao M?ori perspectives.

Module 4 - Application of Health and Wellbeing Models (31 credits)

This module explores the development of diversional and recreational therapy plans and facilitates the enhancement of communication and behavioural strategies to meet the needs of the client.

Module 5 - Reflective Practice and Professional Development (14 credits)

This module explores the application of Healthcare models for the development of health and wellbeing outcomes and associated strategies.

Module 6 - Professional Competency (17 credits)

This module focuses on the demographic factors impacting the health and wellness of the client’s need for diversional and recreational therapy plans. Using analysis and comparison of M?ori and Pasifika health models it provides the opportunity to enhance professional competence in the delivery of diversional and recreational therapy.


Recommend joining the New Zealand Society of Diversional and Recreational Therapy as early as you are able to https://diversionaltherapy.net.nz/ - it takes 12 months to be recongised as a registered Diversional and Recreational Therapist from the time you become a member. 

Programme Outcomes

At the end of the programme, graduates are able to:

  • Integrate theory and knowledge of health and wellbeing to identify the health and wellbeing aspirations of people from diverse contexts. 
  • Critically select and apply a range of evidence-based practices to support people to meet their health and wellbeing aspirations.          
  • Maintain awareness of the socio-cultural, economic and political factors impacting the wider health and wellbeing environment to provide responsive and current support practices.         
  • Critically select and apply a range of evidence-based practices informed by knowledge of te ao M?ori to support the health and wellbeing aspirations of tangata whenua.              
  • Apply advanced strategies and practices to respond with sensitivity to people from diverse contexts.
  • Critically reflect on and evaluate own support practice to achieve continuous improvement.               

Programme Pathways

Education Pathways: 

This programme may lead to higher-level programmes including bachelor’s degrees in related subjects, including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational health and allied health professions. Graduates may also be able to apply for cross-credit or advanced standing into Healthcare related bachelor programmes.

Employment Pathways:

  • Team Leader or supervisor in aged residential care
  • Team leader or supervisor in home/community care
  • Team leader in community clubs / foundations
  • Team leader in private settings

Entry Criteria 

Domestic Students - New Zealand Citizens or Permanent Residents           

  • A minimum of 18 years of age.
  • Academic Criteria: All applicants must meet:
    • NCEA Level 2 OR
      • Provide evidence of achievement at an equivalent level or any approved qualification at Level 4 or above on the NZQF (New Zealand Qualifications Framework)

        with diversional and recreational therapy unit standards/papers.

      • Applicants over the age of 20 years who do not have the minimum entry requirements may be admitted.
  • Employment and Experience Criteria:
    • All applicants must show experience as a healthcare assistant level 4 or equivalent, and be employed as a healthcare assistant level 4 with diversional and recreational therapy experience and current clients, for admittance to the Work-Integrated pathway.
    • All applicants must supply a copy of their signed employment contract with dates coinciding with the programme duration and clear evidence that the 250 hours of work-integrated experience s likely and that the position description can facilitate the learning.
  • Fit and Proper Person Criteria:
    • Clean criminal record (an initial check will be completed through the New Zealand Police to ensure the learner is a fit and proper person to be working with vulnerable people, should the learner not have one)
    • Physically able to do the job
    • Willingness to work with older person
  • In Addition:
    • Interview: All applicants must attend an interview—the interview will determine academic capability, maturity level and the ability of the applicant to undertake studies at NZQF level 5.
    • Employer Endorsement: Applicants must supply either a letter of support from their employer or a copy of their employment contract.
    • Issues and Concerns: If an applicant identifies an issue or concern, that may impact on their ability to complete the programme, study or perform practical work, they must discuss this with the academic staff member at the interview stage.
    • Applicants must have access to the Internet and a device that will allow them to access the online portal and the content for each course to complete assessments.

Work Visa Holders (classed as International Students):

As outlined above for Domestic Students PLUS

  • English Language Competency: Evidenced by:
    • Academic IELTS overall 5.5 gained (with no band less than 5.0) or equivalent international test as per NZQA’s Table of Internationally Recognised English Language Proficiency Outcomes for International Students.  The test results must be no more than two years old.
  • Supporting Documentation: requirements
    • Academic /Healthcare sector qualifications. Evidence of achievement at an equivalent level to a qualification at NZQF Level 4 with diversional and recreational therapy units/papers, experience and current clients.
    • A signed letter of support from the Employer stating that the student will be supported in undertaking a minimum of 250 hours employment for the workplace experience.
    • Police Check: Clear Criminal Check – An initial check is to be provided from the country of last abode.

To Apply:

NZ Citizen/Permanent Residents/Resident Visa Holders:  Complete this Application Form and email along with supporting documentation to: training@kalandra.ac.nz


  • Current ID (including residency status if applicable) - we recommend a certified copy of your passport, birth certificate, or certificate of citizenship*
  • Copy of current employment contract


Work visa holders:  Complete this Application Form and email along with supporting documentation to:  training@kalandra.ac.nz


  • Certified copy of passport* and current work visa which must cover the duration of the programme
  • Copy of current employment contract
  • Evidence of English proficiency results 
  • Letter/email of support from employer stating they are aware you are enrolling in the programme
  • NZ Police Vetting Report: must be no more than two years old and should be obtained by employer. If a new one is required, we can request one for you and in this case the submission cost is $10 and must be paid to Kalandra prior to the request submission


*To be accepted as certified document(s), these now need to be signed and dated by a person authorised to take declarations. This could be a:

  • Justice of the Peace (JP) - find a JP
  • Lawyer
  • Barrister
  • Notary Public
  • Court Registrar or Deputy Registrar
  • Member of Parliament


Tuition is Online

It is required that you have internet and a device in order to complete your studies successfully.  You need to be able to access: Facebook and our online learning platform. You must also undertake research online and produce documents using Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.

Link to Mobile Compare which identifies internet providers and allows you to compare the options.
The following computer suppliers have competitively-priced example devices:

PB Tech - Off-lease computers

PB Tech - Home and study laptops

Warehouse Stationery

The Warehouse


Student Handbook: Click on this link to download the Student Handbook 2024.

Page updated: 11 July 2024

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