Onboard newsletter – October 2020

You may know that we are on a mission to get all social workers registered as the profession steps into mandatory registration early next year.  This will align the social work sector with that of teachers, doctors, nurses, and other regulated professions.   

We appreciate your commitment to  being a professional and becoming registered, and we’re hoping we can enlist your support to talk to any of your colleagues who are yet to register, to encourage them to start taking steps to do so.  We’re mindful that the deadline to become registered by 27th February 2021 is fast approaching.

We know there are some social workers who are facing hurdles in being able to become registered, either because of the cost or because they need assistance with the process.  

In recognition of this, the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki have been working with the SWRB Board, ANZASW, and social service membership/umbrella bodies to be able to offer some assistance to the organisations they hold contracts with.   This can include meeting the costs of registration and support in applying.  If an NGO would like to be able to pay for the registration of their social worker/s but is unable to do so, this may help.  If a social worker is paying for their registration and finding it difficult; through their employer, they also may be able to receive this assistance. To find out more, please contact your Oranga Tamariki advisor or relationship manager.

I’d also like to acknowledge the arrival of Hohepa Patea, our Chief Advisor – Māori Development, who has recently joined the SWRB to strengthen our commitment to working with Māori, and provide us with guidance on working in a way which is aligned with Te Ao Māori. 

Kia kaha,
Sarah Clark, Chief Executive

Digital Q&A zoom sessions

The SWRB is holding digital Q&A zoom sessions for social workers each week. We run these on a Thursday from 1pm where employers, students and social workers, whether they have a qualification or experience or are studying, are welcome to drop in and ask questions of the registration team: https://zoom.us/j/94949682098.

If you have a lot of practical social work experience in NZ (10-15 years or longer) but don’t have social work qualifications, we’ve set up digital Q&A zoom sessions as you may be eligible to register through the Experience pathway: S13. These are being hosted by Patsy Kainuku (Senior Māori Advisor, social work practice) and Andrew Thompson, (Principal Advisor Social Work).  They are both passionate about helping people to register.  They are planned for every couple of weeks and will be advertised on Facebook so please follow us – facebook.com/TheSWRB/.   There is also lots of information to explore on the SWRB website – swrb.govt.nz.

Hohepa Patea – Chief Advisor Māori Development

E rere kau mai I te awa tupua                               The Whanganui river flows 
Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa   From the clan of mountains to the sea
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au                      I am the river and the river is me 

The Whanganui river is my source of spiritual and physical wellbeing, a living entity that binds the people to the river, and the river to the people.

From the west, the healing fonts of my ancestral river; to my mother’s side in the east, the celestial tide churns at Tokomaru Bay, the first place to welcome the new day.

From the swift rapids of the Whanganui River to the ebb and flow at Tokomaru Bay, these natural elements continue to shape, inform and guide me on my professional journey.

I believe that the solutions to wellbeing are within our Māori models.  It is from the Māori world view that we extract benchmarks of best practice and excellence. This important contribution to the shared space strengthens us all.

With over 20 years’ experience providing Māori advice and perspectives to the social sector, I have worked across a broad range of organisations including SuPERU (The Social unit for Policy Research and Evaluation), Ministry of Social Development, Stats NZ, Treasury, Victoria University, Te Rau Ora, and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

In my role as Chief Advisor – Māori Development at SWRB, I will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of the SWRB Māori strategy and action plan that will utilise Māori ways of being, thinking and understanding to influence and guide our organisation into the future as a modern regulator.

Ka huri te kei o te waka ki te pae tawhiti
Kia hoe ngātahi ki te pae tata

Turn the prow of the vessel towards our distant horizon
Let us begin by paddling together as one

Scope of Practice

The Scope of Practice Working Group appreciates all the feedback from the sector on the draft Scope of Practice.  The group, which is made up of leaders from across the social work profession, is in the process of revising the Scope and will be presenting the final document to the SWRB Board at the beginning of December which is when the Board next meets.

The Scope of Practice will be a high-level description of social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Find out more here.


The new database My.SWRB.govt.nz is now live and can be used to apply for registration. We are continuing to learn what is working well and evolving to meet our users’ needs.

Morgan, Registration team manager

Kia ora, I’m Morgan, the Team Manager of the registration team at the SWRB.

I have been with the organisation for just on three months now. It has been a great time to join and with so much happening, I have had to learn fast! I’m grateful for the warm welcome from my new colleagues and how the registration officers have made me feel part of the team from day one.

I grew up in Napier but have called Wellington home for a long time now. My background is in customer service management within the public sector, and I am excited to bring my passion for customer service to the SWRB.

We know that the mahi social workers do is often challenging so we want to make sure that the registration process is as easy as possible. I have so much respect for the work social workers do every day with some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

There have already been many highlights through my time at the SWRB; any time we let a social worker know their application has been approved is always one. Another is being involved with our new database that has just gone live.  Although we’re expecting a few teething issues, as with any new system, we’re working our way through these and we hope this will make it easier for social workers to apply and for us to be able to process your applications faster.

I look forward to talking to more of you in the sector as we move towards mandatory registration and beyond.