Decolonising social work education in Aotearoa New Zealand


The Global Standards (2004) for social work education and related policy affirms the commitment of the social work profession to education that is based on social work values and principles including self-determination, equity, and indigenous rights. The regulator of social work education in Aotearoa NZ (ANZ) is the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) and has policies based on social work principles and values. Decolonisation has emerged as a growing theme within social work education internationally and in ANZ. Decolonisation in ANZ can be described as a set of themes: honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and the partnership between Maori and non-Maori, decolonising practices including conscientisation for Maori and non-Maori, self-determination for Maori and the use of a kaupapa Maori approach, and structural change in ANZ toward a more equitable bicultural society.

There has been limited research on how this commitment to decolonisation has been implemented within social work education and on what is planned for the future. This study aims to explore themes of decolonisation by (1) comparing the policies of the Global Standards, SWRB and the Australian Association of Social Workers, (2) undertaking an analysis of recent social work education programme reports from visits by the SWRB along with a case study of an individual programme and (3) interviewing Maori and non-Maori social work academics in ANZ about their views.



David McNabb. Supervisor, Professor Marie Connolly

The University of Melbourne

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