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Physios mourn passing of legend - Robin McKenzie

Media release: New Zealand physiotherapists mourn the death of Robin McKenzie.

The physiotherapy profession is mourning the loss of one of its legends after Robin McKenzie passed away yesterday. 

Robin died at his home in Raumati Beach, at the age of 82, he had been unwell with cancer for several months.

Physiotherapy New Zealand President Gill Stotter says Robin was a world renowned physiotherapist and spinal expert and has left a massive legacy for the profession.

Robin founded the McKenzie Institute International, a not-for-profit organization with headquarters in New Zealand and 27 branches throughout the world.

He also discovered ‘MDT’ the Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy, which has achieved world-wide recognition and is now taught all over the world via the Institute.

Miss Stotter says Robin’s work in the area of spinal disorders has been revolutionary.

“Robin has been a huge inspiration to both physios and patients alike. He has always been passionate about making a difference for patients all over the world and we will be forever in his debt for the amazing contributions he has made to the profession and to the understanding and treatment of musculoskeletal issues.”

“This is a huge loss for the physio profession in New Zealand and internationally and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

A funeral service for Robin will be held at Old St Paul’s, in Wellington on Monday 20 May at 11am.  A tribute page has been established at http://www.mckenziemdt.org/robin.cfm


  • Honorary Life Member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), "in recognition of distinguished and meritorious service to the art and science of physical therapy and to the welfare of mankind." (1982)
  • Member of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (1983)
  • Fellow of the American Back Society (1984)
  • Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (1985)
  • Honorary Life Member of the New Zealand Manipulative Therapists Association (1987)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists in the United Kingdom, and Queen's Birthday Honours was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. (1990)
  • Honorary Doctorate of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Russia. (1993)
  • Honorary Life Member of the New Zealand College of Physiotherapy (1998)
  • 2000 New Year's Honours - a Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit.
  • In 2004, a random sampling of physical therapists in the Orthopaedic Section of the APTA named him the number one most influential and distinguished physical therapist in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy.

Later tributes and stories

Tribute from Educata http://ptceu.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/with-our-appreciation/

Kapiti Independent story, with information about Rob McKenzie’s achievements and methods

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