Te Mahere Rautaki, ANZASW’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2025

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The ANZASW Board is excited to present the final version of Te Mahere Rautaki, our strategic plan for the period 2020-2025.

Te Mahere Rautaki will guide us through a significant period of change in the social work sector, with the introduction of mandatory registration in February 2021 and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent discourse about how social workers work with Māori has meant social work is under the microscope more than ever. This has meant increased scrutiny of our members and colleagues. The Association has also shifted from a regulatory role to one where we focus more on supporting and empowering members and being an advocate for social change and social justice.

Te Mahere Rautaki is built around three core pou: whakawhanaungatanga; whakamana; and rangatiratanga. The Board sees each of these pou as representing the core work of ANZASW. Pou whakawhanaungatana is about connecting social workers together. Pou whakamana is about supporting and encouraging social workers in their mahi. Finally, pou rangatiratanga speaks of leading the voice of social work and promoting social change, social justice and wellbeing.

This strategic plan is ambitious and sets out some key directions to allow for the achievement of this mission. Yet the Board is clear that the Association needs to be progressive, agile, and responsive to its members and the issues that affect them. It is a time of significant change for the ANZASW which provides an opportunity to refresh how we serve our members. We will need to consider our current way of doing things, taking forward those things that work and introducing new ways of doing things in order to better serve our membership.

We are clear that in 2025, the ANZASW will not look the same as it does now. We are excited to share this plan with you and hope you can capture the vision behind Te Mahere Rautaki. 

Ngā mihi nui, 


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Strategic Plan 2020-2025

He Awa Whiria Approach

Te Mahere Rautaki is structured on He Awa Whiria – a Braided Rivers approach by Angus Macfarlane (Ngāti Whakaue) whereby two streams (Tangata-ō te whenua[1] members and Tauiwi members) can converge and diverge, each maintaining their own mana motuhake. According to the metaphor, both Tangata-ō te whenua and tauiwi start from the same place and run alongside each other in equal strength. They come together at times and move away from each other as well. The idea is that we will meet the specific needs of both our Tangata-ō te whenua members and tauiwi members – strengthening both streams as they flow and grow together.


Te Mahere Rautaki draws on He Awa Whiria bringing all members together on certain components (in purple). For other aspects, the streams are separate (white). This strategic plan outlines our strategic intentions, what we need to do, and the impact we will see from our actions.

Te Mahere Rautaki 2020-2025 is made up of three core pou. These are:

  • Whakawhanaungatanga
  • Whakamana
  • Rangatiratanga

[1] ANZASW is choosing to use the term tangata-ō te whenua as this is the grammatically correct term. Tangata whenua is commonly used and is technically not grammatically correct. If it is to be shortened, it should read Tangatawhenua.

These pou represent the three key strategic areas of our work.



Tauiwi members Tangata-ō te whenua members
Tauiwi members Tangata-ō te whenua members
Tauiwi members Tangata-ō te whenua members





Professionally excellent social workers and leaders for social justice. To promote and support the social work profession, uphold ethical practice, advocate on matters of social policy, and advance social justice, human rights and human dignity.



Our Association’s Constitution recognises Te Tiriti ō Waitangi as the basis of our governance. At the organisational level, the Constitution envisages a collaboration of Tangata-ō te whenua and Tauiwi in formulating the structures, policies, practices and procedures of the Association, and a sharing of power and decision making to fulfil the aspirations of both. The commitment to Te Tiriti ō Waitangi is not optional and permeates everything we do.[1]


[1] ANZASW Code of Ethics, https://anzasw.nz/code-of-ethics-2019/

Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.[1]

[1] The Global Definition of Social Work developed by IFSW, IASSW and ICSW, adopted in July 2014



Kotahitanga: Whiria te tangata – weave the people together

We will actively engage and connect all social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand

Our strategic directions

For members, we will:

  1. Work inclusively of Te Tiriti ō Waitangi and uphold the mana of Tangata-ō te whenua in everything we do.
  2. Enhance Tangata-ō te whenua connection to and participation in the Tangata-ō te whenua Takawaenga o Aotearoa activities.
  3. Engage Tangata-ō te whenua to be active members of the Association.
  4. Offer greater opportunities to connect, support and engage members through key networks and facilitation of relationships.
  5. Implement an IT strategy that increases the Association’s ability to respond effectively and efficiently with members.
  6. Hold symposia for members to bring them together, build connections, and engage them. This includes symposia for the purposes of promoting matauranga Māori.
  7. Be clear about what membership of the Association means, improve the perceived value of membership and provide professional advantage to members.
  8. Clearly differentiate between the Association and SWRB.
  9. Utilise effective and efficient communication methods to connect with members, including focused communication for Tangata-ō te whenua members.
  10. Develop and implement an approach to ensure younger members are connected and engaged with the Association.

Our impact

Over the next 5 years, we will demonstrate the following outcomes:

  1. Engage in robust conversations that demonstrates ANZASW’s commitment to Te Tiriti ō Waitangi.
  2. Tangata-ō te whenua members are engaged, promote the Association to others, and are empowered to share their views openly.
  3. Members will report high levels of satisfaction with and feel connected to the Association and feel membership adds value to their career, including professional development, indemnity insurance and professional advice. Members value membership over their registration.
  4. Have effective technology and other necessary structures in place to be able to support engagement and connection resulting in an active online community and resources that support members wellbeing and professional integrity.
  5. Social workers will understand the different roles between ANZASW and SWRB.
  6. Tangata-ō te whenua membership is promoted, strengthened, and valued.
  7. Growth in Tangata-ō te whenua roopū/whānau in membership and endorsed identity entities across Aotearoa.


Ahurutanga: Toitū he mana – Mana endures

We will support and encourage social workers to promote social change, social justice, and wellbeing for all

Our strategic directions

For members we will:

  1. Continue building our offerings of professional development to ensure it is timely, relevant, and includes Te Ao Māori perspectives, through using technology and face-to-face mechanisms.
  2. Work constructively with Tangata-ō te whenua membership to create a multifaceted bi-lingual Association to be proud of and be recognised for.
  3. Enable Tangata-ō te whenua members to lead and develop cultural frameworks to support and guide social work practitioners.
  4. Advocate on behalf of social workers to remove barriers that are affecting their ability to fulfil their work commitments.
  5. Work with employers and sector stakeholders to articulate the unique contribution of social workers to organisations and the value of employing members. Continue to actively promote what social workers do.
  6. Focus on the key policy focus areas in our professional development opportunities in order to support social workers to advocate for social change. Actively support Tangata-ō te whenua members to ‘voice’ social issues that impact on the unique rangatiratanga of whānau, hapū and iwi structures.
  7. Continue to partner with organisations who employ social workers to make them good employers of social workers.
  8. Support and encourage the publication of the ANZASW journal, along with te ao Māori and Aotearoa New Zealand based research and practice. Provide the platform for Tangata-ō te whenua members to contribute their pūrākau/pūkōrero/pakiwaitara.
  9. Provide support and advocacy for kaupapa Māori aspirations across fields of social work practice.



Our impact

Over the next 5 years, we will demonstrate the following outcomes:

  1. Celebrating the inclusion of a te ao Māori integrated framework within ANZASW, including examples of other indigenous publications.
  2. Tangata-ō te whenua members value and recognise indigenous Tangata-ō te whenua tikanga, knowledge and social work practice, and lead the Association as change agents for global practices with indigenous peoples.
  3. Tangata-ō te whenua members are recognised as indigenous social change agents.
  4. Kaupapa Māori services and resources are harnessed and/or co-designed to support Tangata-ō te whenua professional development.
  5. Bicultural and indigenous practice models are promoted and endorsed to support the Association and social work profession.
  6. Timely and relevant research and practice knowledge is accessible (including the journal) to social workers to support competent practice.
  7. Accessible services and resources that support professional development.
  8. Social workers have the capability to advocate for the key policy focus areas in their practice.
  9. Social workers (including non-members) come to ANZASW to identify appropriate professional development opportunities.


Puawaitanga: Te amorangi ki mua – the leader at the front

We will build the value and voice of social work as a profession in Aotearoa in order to lead social change, social justice, and promote wellbeing

Our strategic directions

For members we will:

  1. In conjunction with Tangata-ō te whenua, support and actively grow the inclusion of iwi tikanga within ANZASW.
  2. Support Tangata-ō te whenua roopū/whānau to flourish through participation in wānanga/hui that outwork their own unique Tangata-ō te whenua issues.
  3. Actively promote Tangata-ō te whenua roopū/whānau leadership through roles that influence and support the direction of the Association.
  4. Promote and advocate for Tangata-ō te whenua social workers to be registered roopū/whānau (including s13 pathway).
  5. Maintain constructive relationships with sector stakeholders as the valued professional Association for social workers.
  6. To be highly visible and active in political and social policy areas, through a physical presence in Wellington.
  7. Support members to advocate for social change through influencing policy and legislation on behalf of the Association.
  8. Ensure professional guidance and pastoral care is available for social workers.
  9. Have key policy focus areas for advocacy to achieve social justice[1]. We will develop position statements and advocacy strategies (including engaging members) for each of these, including partnering with other sector partners to advocate jointly, where appropriate.
  10. Actively promote and support mātauranga Māori and indigenous approaches in social work practice in Aotearoa.
  11. Actively promote Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga across the social work profession and Association, in accordance with Te Tiriti ō Waitangi.



Our impact

Over the next 5 years, we will demonstrate the following outcomes:

  1. Be able to evidence the inclusion of Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga by producing articles in Te Reo Māori.
  2. Promote rangatiratanga within the Association through Tangata-ō te whenua roopū/whānau leadership.
  3. The Tangata-ō te whenua Takawaenga o Aotearoa represents the roopū/whānau and Association’s direction.
  4. Tangata-ō te whenua members are acknowledged as the indigenous leaders of Tangata-ō te whenua social work practices; locally, nationally and internationally
  5. Be front of mind when comments and solutions on complex social issues or social justice is required.
  6. Leader of influence in social policy and political networks.
  7. We will be the partner of choice in relation to the profession and the values, skills, and knowledge essential for social workers and their competent and ethical practice.
  8. Members are respected and valued for their professional skills and integrity.


Key policy focus areas

The Board has identified key policy focus areas as part of Te Mahere Rautaki 2020-2025. These areas will be the core areas of our advocacy work and are typically the areas where social workers are mostly working or are affected by. These areas are:

  • Supporting and promoting better outcomes for Māori
  • Wellbeing
  • Poverty and inequality (includes housing)
  • Family harm and sexual violence
  • Equity
  • Social worker wellbeing/workload/pay parity and equity
  • Achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as supported by the IFSW.


These areas broadly cover the key issues that social workers work with. We intend on developing position statements and advocacy strategies for each of these policy areas to bring about the desired social change.



Our definition of the pou


Whakawhanaungatanga is the process used to establish connections or relationships used to ‘get to know one another’. At the heart of whakawhanaungatanga is whānau which means ‘to be born’. The term whānau is commonly used to denote family. Whakawhanaungatanga means kinship however as a value, the meaning applied is the commitment and responsibilities that whānau have with one another that are translated as relationships.



Whakamana means to give authority or prestige to, to empower or to validate. Whakamana is the action of mana, which is commonly described as spiritual power, prestige, status and the untapped potential required to perform life’s activities.[2]



Rangatiratanga is the exhibition of chiefly attributes, authority or leadership. It is to be a rangatira and acknowledges leadership potential and encourages participation in decision-making. Rangatiratanga denotes notions of self-determination, autonomy and independence.


[1] Outlined in the next section.

[2] Mead, H.M. (2003). Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori values. Wellington, Aotearoa: Huia Publishers.