Dr Daphne Rickson

Read about the research of Dr Daphne Rickson at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music.

Dr Daphne Rickson, ONZM

Daphne is an adjunct professor at the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī. She has extensive experience as a music therapy practitioner, teacher, and researcher and is particularly renowned for her work with children and adolescents who have learning support needs. During her seventeen-year teaching career Daphne has taught and examined over 100 postgraduate students and has given many international lectures.

Daphne maintains a sustained platform of internationally recognised research which focuses on music therapy to maximise the participation, inclusion, and well-being of diverse learners in schools and tertiary institutions, and the well-being of school communities generally.

Her research has focused on:

  • music therapy school consultation
  • participatory action research with young people who have an intellectual disability
  • an exploration of the relationship between singing and well-being in a school severely affected by earthquakes
  • songwriting with young people who have life-shortening illnesses
  • music therapy with Takiwātanga (autistic children).

Her work has attracted external grants, led to invitations to speak at international conferences and to serve on scientific committees, and resulted in extensive publication record including 36 journal articles. She is author of the text ‘Music therapy with autistic children in New Zealand: Haumanu ā-puoro mā ngā tamariki takiwātanga i Aotearoa’ (2022) and co-author, with Katrina McFerran, of 'Creating Music Cultures in the Schools: A perspective from community music therapy' (2014).

Daphne is the current Australasian Regional Liaison on the World Federation of Music Therapy Council, and President Emeritus, and a Life Member, of Music Therapy New Zealand. In 2022 she was named Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to music therapy.


  • PhD in Music, Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington, 2010
  • Master of Music Therapy, Massey University, 2005
  • Master of Health Science, Mental Health, Otago University, 2002
  • LTCL (Pianoforte and Theory), 1976