Social Work in Schools in New Zealand: Indigenous Social Work Practice


  • Awhina Hollis-English
  • Rachael Selby


New Zealand Maori, social work in schools, Indigenous social work, school programs


Social workers have found a new professional presence in New Zealand schools since 2001 following a pilot program in a small cluster of schools in 1999. Schools that are in low socio-economic communities have been selected to engage the services of in-school social workers. These schools have a high proportion of Maori and Pacific Island children and families in a country where Maori make up 15% of the population and Pacific Island families now make up 7% of the population. Maori social service providers are keen to employ Maori social workers so that there is congruence with their clients. These workers must then manage the multiple relationships they encounter in small rural communities in New Zealand. School social work enables helping professionals to work in health and counselling teams with families, contributing to positive Maori development and empowering families.


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