Onboard newsletter – September 2022

Kia pai te rā Tauwhiro

When I reflect on the past two years, I think of the significant contribution that social workers have made in communities, to different groups, supporting whānau and vulnerable members of our society. The collectivism effort of social workers made a positive difference to the day to day lives of whānau. 

From the start of the pandemic, our profession displayed its nimbleness. We mobilised as a collective to support others, and we used our discretion and creativity to find ways to do and make things happen for whānau and communities.

We became experts in digital working – learning to use zoom, teams, Facebook, sharing documents on-line. As we navigated restrictions, social workers worked tirelessly and quietly supporting whānau and supporting each other, despite the challenges and the exhaustion.

My hope for the next couple of years, is that the positive contributions of social workers become more visible to the public. That the value and commitment of social work is recognised.

Social work is a profession that underpins hope for positive change. Social workers invest their time and energy disrupting inequitable systems. Social workers combine hope with human rights, social justice, and advocacy. It is this activism that sets social work apart from other helping professionals.

On this Social Workers’ Day, I encourage you to celebrate the agent of change that is our profession.  Stand firm, supported by our values that guide us, advocate and debate for social justice, indigenous and human rights. Resilient and strong often in the face of challenge. Supporting our profession to influence and thrive.

Shannon Pakura
Board Chair

Message from Minister Carmel Sepuloni

“On this National Social Workers’ Day, I want to acknowledge the great work that our social workers do. You have always worked hard. You do an amazing job for our communities, for our whānau, for our children, for everyone. The last two and a half years have been particularly hard, and you have been working incredibly hard for our communities. Thank you for all that you do.”

– Minister Carmel Sepuloni

Greetings from Catherine Hughes – Chief Advisor Social Work

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

On this Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers’ Day, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, I would like to say ‘Ngā mihi’ to all social workers for the amazing mahi you do every day for tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and communities.

Kia ora mai rā koutou katoa!

I know it has been incredibly stressful and challenging for everyone, especially for those of you in the front line of service provision. I am always impressed by the dedication and commitment you show to supporting the individuals and whānau you work with.  

I am especially grateful, that despite these challenges, so many of you have engaged with the work of the SWRB this year. When we put out the call for social workers to engage with the education standards review, we had no idea so many social workers, educators, employers and tauira would take the time to support this mahi – whether part of the advisory rōpū, wānanga, caucus, NGO hui or through sending individual written responses. It was a new approach to engagement for the SWRB, underpinned by a Te Tititi framework, and it was heartening to see how this was embraced by those involved.  

The calls for kaiarotake to support the Experience Pathway: S13 registration process and for registered social worker members for Professional Conduct Committees have also had high response rates.  

Although we can see pressures in the workplace where organisations are struggling to fill their vacancies, we can be optimistic about those preparing to join the social worker workforce for the first time. With fifteen education reviews undertaken in a twelve month period we have valued the opportunity to meet many educators, students and community members in person. It is wonderful to hear directly from students of their experiences moving through education, starting to develop their practice skills and their aspirations for the future.  

There is a lot of turmoil in so many areas of practice at the moment – dealing with staff illness, vacancies, trauma in communities – as well as structural changes with health, Oranga Tamariki and education reforms. We have been hearing how hard it is for you to work with this level of uncertainty. It is so important that you keep looking after yourselves and supporting each other. 

As a small gesture of our appreciation of your efforts, we are running our koha scheme again this year. Details of how to nominate your colleagues for this form of recognition appear later in this edition of Onboard. 

Once again, I would just like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate all you do. I am blessed to work alongside such dedicated, caring and passionate professional colleagues.  

Ngā mihi nui.  

Pictured left to right: Sara Shepherd (Student Intern), Jordan Powell (Policy Advisor), Diane Garrett (Team Leader Policy), Andrea Nichols (Board Member), Rose Henderson (Board Member), Shannon Pakura (Board Chair), Dr Catherine Hughes (Chief Advisor Social Work), Paula Bold-Wilson (Senior Social Work Advisor Māori), Gisa Dr Moses Ma’alo Faleolo (Board Member).

Not pictured: Carina Jansen, Andrew Thompson, Dr David McNabb

Ngā mihi from the SWRB Social Worker whānau

Andrew Thompson, Senior Advisor Social Work:

I feel incredibly proud to be a Social Worker. For me, a big privilege of working at the SWRB is to be able to meet Social Workers across the motu. What’s always impressive is the individuals’ commitment to their communities and their incredible creative approaches. What I love about Social Workers is that we are disrupters, but we really want to see change for the better. A lot of social work is invisible. Listening to people’s stories – whether it is an hospital ward, their own home or elsewhere in the community – and making a positive different to people’s lives, is often not known about. Social Workers’ Day is an important celebration day for a wonderful profession.

Carina Jansen, Senior Advisor Social Work:

I’ve been working in the field of social work for around 35 years. One of my passions has always been to ensure that the voices of tamariki are heard and most of my career has been in care and protection. Now I am working for the SWRB in the complaints and notifications space, I see a great opportunity to be part of strengthening the profession. I am keen for us to see what we learn from complaints as a vehicle for continuous improvement.

Veel success op sociaal werkster day.

Paula Bold-Wilson, Senior Advisor Social Work Māori:

Kaua e mate wheke mate ururoa

Since joining the SWRB earlier in the year, it’s been a privilege to meet and connect with so many people through the education standards review, visits to education institutions, and events such as the Indigenous Voices in Social Work and the joint Symposium.

These connections reinforce the importance of social work and why we must constantly strive to make a difference and influence change. Te Tiriti, equity and social justice are at the heart of everything I do, and I am excited to see the calibre of students coming through who also see these as essential. Decolonising systems takes time, but we need to keep working for transformational change to create a better place for our mokopuna and future generations.

Dr David McNabb, Senior Advisor Social Work:

Kei ngā tauwhiro o te whakaaronui

This National Social Workers’ Day I was reflecting on how I got into social work. I grew up in a family environment where my parents were Salvation Army Officers (ministers of the church), and in that context I learned the importance of ‘loving your neighbour’. Given that background it’s probably no surprise that I found my way into social work as a young person and have had a lifelong career in the profession, both as a practitioner and as an educator. I have seen many people who have brought a faith or religious foundation to their social work practice.

Throughout my career I have been active in social work professional bodies – first with the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, and more recently with the Council for Social Work Education of Aotearoa New Zealand – important communities where members actively support each other, develop the profession, and pursue societal change. Returning to the beginning, I knew as a teenager that I wanted to work with people and was fortunate to bring a sense of vocation to my work. Years later I still find challenge and enjoyment being part of the social work profession.  

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui!

Diane Garrett, Team Leader Policy:

Happy Social Workers’ Day to all social workers. Lately I have been thinking about the many contexts within which social work is practised, and the range of skills we grow through our careers. Our foundational values of striving for social justice, equity of voice and access to resources are applied in such a variety of ways. Today I reflect on and thank all the social workers who give so generously, their experience, passion and commitment to grow our profession in Aotearoa and globally.

Jordan Powell, Policy Advisor:

Tēnā koutou katoa,
Ko Aoraki te maunga
Ko Okana te awa
Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Waikawa te marae
Ko Ira Kehu tōku hapū
Ko Te Atiawa, ko Ngāi Tahu ōku iwi
Ko Jordan Powell tōku ingoa

I am in my first year studying a Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) with the dual aim of extending my thinking as a Policy Advisor, and working towards becoming a registered social worker. Working in Policy, I saw and felt a lack of first-hand frontline experience that inspired me to undertake further study to improve my own understanding of social work and the whānau social workers support. Since then, my respect for social workers has grown immensely, particularly as I learn about the structural inequities the profession challenges. My ngākau is for people, my whānau, hapū and iwi, and how we centre Māori ways of knowing and being to support all to thrive. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou, mauri ora!

Sara Shepherd, Social Work Student Intern:

Tēnā koutou katoa, mānawatia ngā Kaimahi Tauwhiro – happy Social Workers’ Day!

I have felt inspired through conversation with many members of the SWRB team, listening to their stories and feeling the love and passion that they hold for the advancement, professionalism, and success of the sector. Social workers’ day is a fantastic opportunity to reflect and celebrate these notions and to acknowledge those who are working so hard throughout the sector to make it a reality!

I would also like to thank and acknowledge those who are facilitating the learning experience for us social work students, educators and practitioners walking along side, guiding us through practical mahi – our fieldwork placements. You are shaping our practice, views of the sector and understanding of social issues and we are grateful for your time, patience, and dedication!

Social Worker Koha 2022

Last year to help celebrate Social Workers’ Day, the SWRB offered a koha with the goal of recognising those that demonstrate the values and principles of social work in the mahi they do. We asked people to nominate a social worker (or group of social workers) that they felt best encompassed these values.

It was fantastic seeing all these amazing examples of exceptional practice in the sector. Due to the success of last year, we are accepting koha nominations once again. This koha is a small gesture to help support organisations to celebrate their social workers and the valuable work done by the sector.

Please send your nominations to koha@swrb.govt.nz with a brief description of the inspiring mahi they do. Nominations will be shared with and selected by our social work team. We will then be back in touch to let everyone know the outcome – for those selected this could mean a morning or afternoon tea – or something else. We would love the opportunity to share the mahi in future communications if they are happy to share their celebration. 

We hope that this effort may encourage others to acknowledge their ongoing appreciation of our social workers across Aotearoa.

Nau mai, haere mai! Afio mai Gisa Dr Moses Ma’alo Faleolo!

The Social Workers Registration Board is delighted to welcome new Board member Gisa Dr Moses Faleolo.

Gisa Dr Moses Ma’alo Faleolo or Moses is a Sāmoan born in Aotearoa and the son of Leaula (Falelima & Sāleaula) and Pepe (Luatuānu’u-Leusoali’i). His paramount chief title, Gisa, is bestowed on him by the village of Falelima in Savai’I, Sāmoa.

His social work career spans over three decades and includes being a case manager specialising in Youth benefits for Work and Income New Zealand, a residential and youth justice social worker for Child Youth and Family Service, a youth worker specialist for Youth Horizons Trust and Pasifika Healthcare (now trading as The Fono), and a senior social work lecturer for Manukau Institute of Technology and Massey University – Albany campus, where he was also an Associate Dean – Pasifika for the College of Health. Moses took up a new role in 2021 with Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute of Criminology. He continues to be a registered social worker.

He maintains a keen interest in social work education and recently supported the SWRB’s education standards review as a member of the Advisory rōpū until his appointment to the Board.

The Social Workers Registration Board welcomed him to his first Board meeting on 16 September.

You can read more about Moses in the news item welcoming him to the Board.

Introducing our social work intern Sara

Kō Ingarangi me Magyaroraszag (Hungary) te whakapaparanga mai, ēngari
Kō Aotearoa te whenua I tipu mai e au
Kō Veszprem te kainga
Kei Whitby au e noho ana
Kō taku turanga mahi he Purapura Taura ahau
Kō Sara Shepherd ahau

Tēnā koutou katoa, mānawatia ngā Kaimahi Tauwhiro – happy Social Workers’ Day!

It is a very exciting time to be a social work student as many of us fourth year students are completing our final fieldwork placement and looking towards work within the sector! When I began my journey to social work I was initially prompted by a strong sense of social justice and social responsibility. I started work at community and youth agency, Challenge2000 in 2018 and was soon introduced to the quintessence of grassroots social services; I began my studies shortly after.

As a student coming from a background in community services, a fieldwork placement opportunity at the SWRB has been an exciting and unique learning opportunity for me. It is a great introduction to the world of social work policy – giving deep insight behind the scenes of what a regulatory body does and how the social work sector is regulated. 

I am with the SWRB until November during which I will be undertaking a project that looks at the types of complaints that SWRB has received and emerging trends and insights relating to these. I see it as a great opportunity to understand and learn about some of the challenges currently facing the sector.

Te Kāhui Kāhu – What is their role?

Did you know that the SWRB is not able to respond to complaints and concerns about anyone who may be practising as a social worker without being registered? 

If you believe that an organisation or individual may be holding a worker out as a social worker but without that person being registered, then you can raise your concern with Te Kāhui Kāhu who provide oversight functions on behalf of New Zealand government agencies. Concerns about a person not registered can be emailed to socialworkerclaims@msd.govt.nz.

We will share more about their public safety role and how their work complements ours in a future Onboard.

Public Holiday on 26 September

The SWRB offices will be closed on Monday 26 September as we observe the public holiday to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.