NZ Social Workers’ Day 2021

Kei ngā ringa raupā o te whānau, kei ngā Tauwhiro o te whakaaronui

Kia ora mai rā koutou katoa!

On this New Zealand Social Workers’ Day, the SWRB would like to say ‘Ngā mihi’ to all social workers for the amazing mahi you do every day for tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and communities.

In what has been an exceptionally challenging year, it is important to take time to acknowledge and celebrate our essential workforce that does an incredible job on the frontline and behind the scenes to support clients and their whānau across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Offering a koha

The SWRB believes that the mahi of social workers deserves to be recognised whenever possible. Small gestures like morning tea, compliment boxes, meeting up for a paper bag lunch, every action that demonstrates manaakitanga, shows appreciation and can be done anytime, not just today.

In this spirit, the SWRB would like to make a koha available to support organisations to celebrate their social workers – this could be a morning or afternoon tea – or something else! More information about this will be found in our upcoming OnBoard newsletter. 

We will ask for social workers and/or organisations to nominate groups of social workers who demonstrate the values and principles of social work in the mahi they do every day.  We hope that this effort may encourage others to acknowledge their ongoing appreciation of our social workers across the motu.

Activities for the day – sharing what’s on

There are some activities happening today which social workers may be interested in attending.

  • ANZASW Virtual morning tea10am today

ANZASW is hosting a virtual morning tea for members. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in bright colours and/or crazy hat. There will be a quiz and competitions, with spot prizes.

Click here to register

  • Pay equity and fair funding webinar – 2-3pm today

SociaLink, Social Service Providers Aotearoa, ANZASW, and the PSA have partnered to launch a collective call for social worker pay equity and fair funding. This online event will include new videos presenting the perspectives of social workers and managers about pay equity, information about the current pay equity claim, and how we can work together to achieve pay equity and fair funding for community-based NGO and iwi social workers.

Click here to register

  • Social Service Providers Association – further information of pay equity

You will also find attached a letter from Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) for those in the sector (employers and social workers), along with some background Q & As, on what work is underway on the important topic of pay equity.  Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) is coordinating the employer response to the pay equity claim and working to represent the interests of the community social services sector. It is expected that a sector-wide solution will need to be agreed with the Government in order for pay equity to be addressed for all community social workers.

 If you would like to join the mailing list email with “Pay Equity Mailing List” in the subject line. You can also keep an eye on the SSPA website which has a dedicated Pay Equity page now live at

  • Additional Social Workers’ Day events

Some physical events such as morning teas are being held by various organisations around Aotearoa. These are open to social workers, and you can find more details about these here.

The SWRB whakataukī

In 2020, the SWRB developed a whakataukī for the organisation, to ensure that social work is at the heart of what we do as a regulator. To acknowledge National Social Workers Day and in acknowledgement of our commitment to Te Tiriti O Waitangi, we wanted to share this whakataukī with you all today.

This  whakataukī  was developed through the support of Danny Makamaka of Ngāi Tūhoe, a prominent teacher and kaumātua of Te Wānanga O Aotearoa. Pā Danny took the idea of a whakataukī for the SWRB, to his students to ‘wānanga’ this kaupapa as part of a class session. As a result, the following whakataukī was developed:

He ara pūkenga, he ara Tauwhiro, hei whakamana mātā waka
The many pathways of knowledge, the many pathways of social work, upholding the dignity of all

The whakataukī is now a critical part of forming and shaping the key business functions of the SWRB.

During the wānanga, Pā Danny also posed the following question to the class, what does the word Tauwhiro mean?  Some of the students described Tauwhiro as, ‘social worker/social work’.

In his own eloquent words, Pā Danny shared additional knowledge and wisdom into the space replying with, ‘kia tau ai te mahi ā Whiro’ – settle the presence of Whiro.

Tau is to settle, to subside. The atua Māori (Māori god), Whiro represents darkness and evil. In a secondary sense, Whiro is the personification of illness and afflictions. We all have our own experiences living with the presence of Whiro, and we know that many of our tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and communities we work with have their own experiences and challenges.

Our Tauwhiro help and support them to move from the dark and into the light; and when they can, from a place of struggle and challenge to an improved quality of life; from a place of vulnerability to a place where they are determining their own pathways to success and achievement. In essence, as enablers of wellbeing, Tauwhiro bring a sense of balance.

To our wonderful Social Workers, our amazing Tauwhiro…Ngā mihi!