Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers’ Day 2020

Today is Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers’ Day for 2020!

2020 has been a difficult and unprecedented year and has presented many challenges for people, both personally and professionally. It has been a year where social workers have been required to adapt and reimagine the way they deliver the incredible services they provide. ANZASW is extraordinarily proud of social workers and the work they carry out upholding the wellbeing of Aotearoa.

Please see the following statements from:

  • Sharyn Roberts – ANZASW President
  • Lucy Sandford-Reed – ANZASW CE
  • Rory Truell – IFSW Secretary-General
  • Rose Henderson – IFSW Global Vice-President, IFSW Asia Pacific Regional President


Sharyn Roberts, ANZASW President

2019 Board member: Sharyn RobertsE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā rau rangatira ma, tēnā koutou katoa.

Today as we celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers’ Day, I want to take this time to acknowledge all social workers in Aotearoa for the extraordinary work that is done every day. Social work influence and practice extends into every field of human interaction and is rarely acknowledged however, today is your day and your time, to pause, to reflect and to be proud of your effort and your profession.

The ANZASW Code of Ethics highlights the core value of Mātātoa stating that, “Social Workers act with moral courage in situations that are uncomfortable, challenging and uncertain. We use critical reflection and questioning to work through contradictions and complexity” which has been evident over the past 6 months as Aotearoa and the world has grappled with Covid-19. Social Workers, as essential service workers have persevered through challenging situations with variable guidelines, and have stoically prevailed.

The ANZASW whakataukī, a generous koha from Dr. Leland Ruwhiu and whānau underpins Mātātoa, Te mana whakaratarata te iwi whānui hei hāpai ngā mahi whakaharatau exploring, navigating and communicating about those powers, authority and prestige dynamics to know what is happening for people in the community, to live. The whakataukī encourages social workers to strive for perfection in your practice.

Thank you social workers for tirelessly working to uphold the welfare, justice and wellbeing of Aotearoa through these complex and extraordinary times. Let this day be one where you stand in your mana as valued members of a proud profession and Association, and are celebrated.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui – be strong, be brave, be steadfast.

Ngā mihi mahana

Sharyn Roberts


Lucy Sandford-Reed, ANZASW CE 

I wish every social worker in Aotearoa New Zealand a happy social workers day and invite you to take the time to celebrate the work you do for individuals, families, whānau and the community.

This year Covid-19 and the lockdown has seen the development of innovative approaches to practice to ensure that there was continuing support for people accessing services. Through the support webinars social workers willingly shared their experiences and revealed the richness of the profession.

Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers Day was established in 2004 for two reasons. Firstly, to celebrate the introduction of social work registration under the provisions of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. The first five registrations were completed in December 2004 and a further 383 the following year. Today there are over 8,000 on the SWRB register.

The second reason for establishing the day was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of ANZASW. Spring was chosen as the metaphor for renewal and regrowth.

There has been discussion about whether Aotearoa New Zealand needs to celebrate World Social Work Day which celebrates the profession of social work and Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Day which celebrates social workers. There will be further discussion on the topic. In the meantime, having dedicated time to celebrate the work that social workers do when people and or  communities face challenging times is a way of valuing the profession.

As Aotearoa New Zealand celebrates Social Workers Day 2020 it is just 5 months until social worker registration becomes mandatory and the title of “social worker” is protected. By the time Social Workers Day 2021 is celebrated mandatory registration will have been in place for 7 months.

It is truly time to celebrate the many members who have worked tirelessly to achieve mandatory registration and thank them for their persistence.

Lucy Sandford-Reed
Chief Executive


Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General

To the social workers of Aotearoa New Zealand,

The biggest of congratulations to social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand on your celebration of your 2020 Social Workers Day.

IFSW particularly wants to acknowledge your role in supporting vulnerable populations during the pandemic and the consequent saving of a significant amount of lives. Your brave and speedy actions were seen worldwide and set an example for others to learn from and follow. We thank you.

IFSW also acknowledges the enormous contributions you have made to the international profession. One of these was ANZASW and TWSWA proposing the formation of the IFSW permanent Indigenous Commission which was unanimously endorsed by IFSW member organisations last July during the General Assembly. Another recognition of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leadership was reflected in the successful election of past ANZASW president Rose Henderson as the Asia-Pacific Regional President, and shortly afterwards Rose was further elected to the position of Global Vice President. These outcomes demonstrate the international profession’s high regard for your work and recognition of your commitment to advancing social work both locally and globally.

As the 2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work now focuses to change the practice cultures of social services worldwide, so that they recognise the strengths and potential of communities and work inclusively with communities to meet their aspirations, IFSW again looks forward to our continued joint work and shared learning experiences.  But for now, we hope you take time to congratulate your social work colleagues and yourselves for this and the past years spectacular achievements.

With the deepest respect and in solidarity,

Rory Truell
IFSW Secretary-General


Rose Henderson, IFSW Global Vice-President, IFSW Asia Pacific Regional President 

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou. Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa.

Happy Social Workers’ Day 2020!

This time last year several of us had just returned home from our Asia Pacific Regional Conference in India with all the professional learnings and special memories from such an occasion. No one imagined that this would be the last face to face gathering for social work we would be having for the foreseeable future. Just a few short months later we learned from our colleagues in China of the devastation a new Corona virus was causing. The rest is a history we are still making and living!  Since the global pandemic was announced, social work across Asia Pacific has been deemed an ‘essential service’ in many countries, the profession has adapted to deliver social work services and education in the face of unprecedented challenges and we have participated in the most inclusive-ever IFSW General Meeting and International Conference.

The health, economic and other consequences will especially impact those we work with for years to come and we will need to continue to grow and adapt as a profession to meet the increasing demands for our services. Now more than ever we should pause, celebrate our role as a social worker, capture the personal and professional ‘silver linings’ of the pandemic experience and most importantly take care of ourselves and each other.

As a valued member of our region and the globe, I wish social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand a very special National Social Workers Day 2020!

Rose Henderson
IFSW Global Vice-President &  IFSW Asia Pacific Regional President.




  • Merlyn Espejo

    I am grateful for our social work profession being given that recognition by Aotearoa government internationally and locally. I am proud being a registered social worker upholding the welfare, justice and wellbeing of New Zealand. Thank you SWRB , ANZASW and IFSW ASIA PACIFIC. More successes to come. Mabuhay!

  • Robyn Corrigan

    Nga mihi nui i a koutou mo tou mihi ki a matou i te ra Mahi Tauwhiro Hapori. Uplifting messages for us all in our solidarity.

  • Dora Alefosio

    Thank you for the ongoing online support provided. It makes me realised the importance of my role as a Social Worker with families I work with to empower and encourage them to be agent of change wihin their own whanau.

    I am fortunate to be a member of the ANZASW who provides directions re: practice & ethics standards that guides my pracitce.

  • James Makowharemahihi JP

    Nga mihi ki nga hoa mahi
    Whakatauki: Ma tini ma mano ka rapua te whai….-
    Nga mihi ki nga Kaiarahi o tatou Roopu ANZASW i awhi mai kia matou e te Tumuaki me te Kaiwhakahaere me nga Kaiarahi o Te Ao Ko Rory Truell me Rose Henderson i mahi nga momo mahi i te ao.
    Nga manaaki kia koutou e nga mana e nga reo o te motu Aotearoa.
    Mauriora kia tatou katoa.
    James Mangai John Makowharemahihi JP MANZASW SWRB – Papaioea Manawatu

  • Shelley Kirk

    Thank you to all the social workers in Aotearoa NZ for their innovation, tenacity and endurance in a rapidly changing global space. To those at ANZASW and NZSWRB a thanks to all the hard work you continue to do behind the scenes to support the profile and profession of social work with our people, our communities and our country.