Onboard newsletter – November 2023

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

Photo of Sarah Clark with Emma Webber-Dreadon

When I look back at some of our activity since our last newsletter, I wanted to share one of my highlights of my year – a wonderful celebration of social work, led by the professional body ANZASW in September. I was fortunate to able to attend with Andrew Thompson, Professional Lead Advisor, Social Work. The Social Work Awards 2023 provided an opportunity to acknowledge the inspiring, high-quality practice that happens around the motu, and shared stories of the difference that dedicated social workers are making for people, whānau and communities. You can read more about Okesene Faraimo, the winner of the Quality Practice award (sponsored by SWRB) in this newsletter. Next time we will share an interview with the winner of the Tangata Whenua Practice Award (which we jointly sponsored with AZNASW and Barnados).  

I was also very appreciative being able to attend the information exchange as part of the ANZASW Social Work conference.  Andrew and I were able to chat with attendees, including about the SWRB’s regulatory role and the work we are involved in as Lead Agency for Social Worker Workforce planning. We also loved the chance to meet social workers and learn about their mahi. Photo above: Sarah Clark with Emma Webber-Dreadon

Finally, as we near the end of the year, the next cohort of social work students will be graduating and preparing for registration. If you have students on placement/ are supervising, please remind those soon to graduate students that have a regular Zoom question and answer session on Thursdays open to all. We would welcome any drop in registration questions. Our registration team is there to help make the process as smooth as possible for them. Happy to answer other questions on other topics as well (such as what might be counted as CPD).

At the time of writing, the sun is shining. I hope it is a sign that summer is on its way and we can all get out and enjoy what the season has to offer.

Ngā mihi,

Sarah Clark
Chief Executive

Reminder: Continuing Professional Development Log

As we move closer to the end of 2023, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and developments of the year. A reminder that social workers can record their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity into the CPD page of their MySWRB account.

CPD is important because it’s about staying current, engaging in life-long learning that enhances your professional development and cultural competence. CPD supports you to achieve good outcomes for the people you work with.

Your CPD log should demonstrate:

  • you have completed at least 20 hours CPD over the course of the year and have critically reflected on your learning.
  • your CPD activities are linked to one or more of the ten core competencies
  • at least one of your CPD activities supports your competence to work with Māori (core competence 1)
  • your supervisor has seen and signed off your log.

You can update your online CPD log now at my.swrb.govt.nz/

Nau mai, haere mai Natasha Emery – our new Lead Professional Social Work Advisor, Māori

Photo of Natasha Emery

Ko Mauao me Makatiti ōku maunga
Ko Tauranga me Okataina ōku Moana
Ko Tākitimu Mātaatua me Te Arawa ōku Waka
Ko Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui me Te Arawa ōku Iwi
Ko Pirirākau me Ngāti Tarāwhai ōku Hapū
Ko Poutūtērangi me Waikōhatu ōku Marae
Kei Kihikihi ahau e noho ana

Ko Natasha Emery ahau

I am part of a blended Whānau of 7 tamariki, 19 mokopuna and 1 moko tuarua.  My husband and I live in Kihikihi, Te Awamutu and are surrounded by our Whānau which is our most privileged space.

As Māori bicultural Social Work Practitioner it is vitally important to ensure that my practice is tika and pono and upholds the mana of the profession.  Gaining my degree with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has led me to work in a range of spaces including disability, care and protection, Youth and most recently in the education space. I have also managed a number of teams within some of these roles. 

I love working with people to create great lives.  Never walking in front, nor behind but always alongside, ensuring all supports are in place in which to achieve positive outcomes.

In my role at the Social Workers Registration Board using my bicultural lens is important to ensure equity for Māori across the organisation.  I am humbled and privileged to be in a space where my voice counts, and I can be part of making a difference in a regulatory space.  My greatest achievement in this space is being a part of ensuring our great Social Workers are fit and proper to work with our Whānau.

When I am not working, I am with my children and mokopuna.  Watching them grow into ataahua human beings on paths towards great lives is the best reward I will ever have. They are my strength and carry me through all that I do. Ngā mihi

Nau mai, haere mai Liz Gourlay, Workforce Planning Lead Advisor – Health  

Photo of Liz Gourlay

Originally from South Wales, UK, I began in Social Work as a Probation Officer attached to a Magistrates Court in London in 1988. Working with people in the justice system led me into research and developing services for offenders with mental illness. As a result, I moved into roles with Mental Health Services, where I have spent most of my career.

Out on the town in London, I met a Kiwi backpacker from Dickeys Flat. We married and migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1996. Fast forward 27 years and we now have 2 sons, (24 & 21) both students, at Otago and Victoria. We’ve worked our way down Te Ika-a-Māui North Island, living in Auckland, Hamilton, and Waihi, and had a stint in Central Queensland before settling in Tauranga Moana in 2013.

In all those places I’ve practised as a Social Worker in DHB led Mental Health services, including Queensland, where I also delivered some modules of the CQ University (BSW) Social Work programme. Coming to Te Whatu Ora Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty led to a change of direction into physical health services and work in Cancer Care. I then became Professional Lead for Social Work, which has been my role for the past 7 years.

It’s been an absolute privilege to lead the profession in health at a time of immense pressure, and massive restructuring. COVID-19 meant we needed to adapt and be creative in how we do things, at the same time, ensuring support for our social worker workforce facing challenging times. In various forums I’ve had the opportunity to represent and advocate for health social workers at a national level, which has brought me to work alongside Sarah Clark and Liz Jones, and previously Catherine Hughes at the SWRB.

I’m passionate about Social Work and enhancing the profession and stoked to be joining  the Workforce Planning Team. What a great opportunity for cross sector collaboration. I’m excited to contribute and be part of building the sustainable workforce that our whānau and communities need.

Graduating students

This past month we have been fortunate to meet graduating students from Ara institute and Whitireia. It was fantastic to connect with some of the next generation of social workers and kōrero with them about the registration process and maintaining CPD. We thank the institutions for having us and we look forward to future interactions with their social work graduates.

Many social work students will also be in the process of completing their study/ final year placements. For those who are looking to become registered and have some questions about the process, we invite you to join our weekly digital information sessions.

The sessions are held weekly on Thursdays at 1pm and can be accessed via this link: https://bit.ly/31H8XEq.

Congratulations to Okesene Faraimo – winner of the Quality Practice Award 2023

Okesene speaking at the ANZASW Social Work awards

Huge congratulations to Okesene Faraimo who recently won the Quality Practice Award at the ANZASW Social Work Awards 2023. The SWRB sponsored the award as a valuable opportunity to celebrate and highlight quality professional practice.

Okesene delivers a social work in schools service as part of the Family and Community Services Team at Taeaomanino Trust. We asked him about the award and the nomination which highlighted his creative and innovative approach and advocacy for the profession. He said:

“It was a shock to receive the email saying I’d been nominated. I cracked up! I thought it was some sort of practical joke to begin with – someone messing with my emails! It was such a nice surprise.

“In terms of my approach to my work, I am based in a diverse community and there is no one size fits all way of doing things. You need flexibility in your approach and focus on the family’s journey as you journey with them. It’s important to understand their cultures, protocols and language and I remind myself that I don’t have all the answers. Collaboration and networking are a big help in the role.

“I have a respect for all the individuals in our diverse community and like to build meaningful and good relationships. When it comes to the children, I bring myself to their level. I become a bit of a kid with them.

“I would like to thank my grandparents who raised me, my family and wife, the tutors I have had throughout my education who have impacted my thinking in this role, and everyone at the Taeaomanino Trust for their support in my work.”

We interviewed Okesene to find out more about his social work journey and the work which led to his being nominated for the Social Work Award – from his early years learning about respect and service in the Pacific Islands, through to building an extensive network where he now lives in Cannons Creek, Porirua. You can read the full article online.

Photo: Andrew Thompson (SWRB), Rose Henderson (SWRB Board), Okesene Faraimo, Sarah Clark (SWRB CE) & Nathan Chong-Nee (ANZASW CE)

Photo: Andrew Thompson (SWRB), Rose Henderson (SWRB Board), Okesene Faraimo, Sarah Clark (SWRB CE) & Nathan Chong-Nee (ANZASW CE)

Experiences of distress and tension during field education placements: Inviting 2018-2022 Graduates

Dr. Raewyn Tudor (University of Canterbury), Dr. Kathryn Hay (Massey University) and Dr. Dominic Chilvers (Te Pūkenga) are undertaking research to investigate sources of distress and tension students experience as part of field education placements.
Phase 1 involves a 10-minute anonymous online survey of social work graduates who completed their social work qualification between 2018 and 2022.
The research has ethical approval from the University of Canterbury. The results of this project will help education providers prepare students for placements and graduate employment. If you are interested in participating, please follow this link or use the QR Code.