The orchestra was formed to provide medical musicians an opportunity to play in a high quality national orchestra, to encourage collegiality and to enhance work-life balance.
There is a medical orchestra in Auckland and the Christchurch Doctors' Orchestra has given annual performances for over 20 years. There are doctors' orchestras in other parts of the world. The NZDO follows a similar formula to that of the Australian Doctors' Orchestra and the European Doctors' Orchestra. This On MAS article highlights the interest doctors have in music.
The orchestra meets annually over three days (Friday to Sunday) for intensive rehearsals and organised social events, culminating in a Sunday afternoon concert.
The participants pay their own expenses and an enrolment fee that covers venue hire, conductor's fee etc. All proceeds from ticket sales for the public concert are donated to charity
The orchestra is organised by Tim Wilkinson, Lynette Murdoch and Tom Wilkinson