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Timeline :: New Zealand social work education begins

Wellington, NZ
Formal education for social work did not begin until 1949 and it was, as Harington writes, 'contested from the start'. It was, he argues, 'plausible that community work could have been a compelling alternate paradigm to case work or some other pastoral care. Nash explains how social work education was contested by “community workers, Maori, Christians, humanists, anarchists and the social work profession itself” (1998: iv) each struggling with the complexity of the task they undertook knowing it involved significant levels of skills and clarity -of-self to work intimately with those in vulnerability or disruptive trauma.' (p119). The first appointment was of DC Marsh as the foundation professor at Victoria University College (later to become Victoria University) in Wellington, with the creation of a new Diploma in Social Science, which could be gained from an element of course work and from on-site learning in employment or practice settings. By the mid 1970s, new programmes had also begun at Massey, Canterbury and Auckland. Social work at Victoria ended in 1999; Harington locates the demise in a split between the institutional demands and the wishes of Maori practitioners to forefront indigenous models in students' learning.


Harington, P. (2016) 'Sociology and Social Work in New Zealand , New Zealand Sociology 31(3): 110-145.
Munford, R, & Nash, M. (eds) (1994) Social work in action, The Dunmore Press. Palmerston North.
Nash, M. (1998) People, policies and practice: social work education in Aotearoa/New Zealand
from 1949-1995. Doctoral Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North.