John Fry Memorial Supreme Award for Quality and Innovation in Social Work: 2019 Winner and Information

The family of the late John Fry (ANZASW Life Member) have agreed to fund the Supreme Award for the years 2019, 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. The funding will cover the Supreme Trophy and $500 cash to be used for some professional purpose. The Award will be know as the John Fry Memorial Supreme Award for Quality and Innovation in Social Work. The family, Rachel, Juliet and David are thanked for their generosity in making this memorial for John possible.

“John Fry was a founding member of ANZASW, served as President in 1972-1973 and was made a Life Member in 1988. His social work career over the period 1956 -1984 spanned child welfare, faith based social services, and Local Authority community services in Wellington, Auckland, Whakatane, Timaru and Christchurch. He was deeply committed to the profession of social work and both valued and demonstrated quality and innovation in his work.”

ANZASW is pleased to announce that Neil Ballantyne is the inaugural winner of the John Fry Memorial Supreme Award for Quality and Innovation in Social Work for his human rights work.

The Awards was assessed by a Panel of three members, Dr Nicki Weld, Kerri Cleaver and Vaughan Milner, and the decision of the Panel was:

We recommend that the Certificate of Excellence in Human Rights and the John Fry Memorial Supreme Award for Quality and Innovation is Social Work to be awarded to Neil Ballantyne.

The Panel’s decision was unanimous and based on the following observations from the panel members:

Neil’s work alongside the Palestinian community in Wellington and far reaching nationwide is really inspiring and completely follows our standards and code of ethics of what excellent practice looks like. 

It is clear that he has contributed in excess of any employment role and I personally believe that this is important to recognise. I understand that we can never expect social workers to work outside of their jobs but as a Kāi Tahu Social Worker it is actually always the expectation on us in our community so when I see tauiwi also demonstrating the dedication to community and human rights that Neil has demonstrated it really is worth celebrating. 

I think Neil’s work is an example of working systemically (locally, nationally, and internationally) on an international issue, and also engaging with a grass roots group reflects the best traditions of social work. The point of difference was that the activity occurred outside of a set structure with few resources. 

 Neil has made a powerful contribution to the area of human rights. He has contributed website development and support for the website Wellington Palestine, an article, campaigning activities including writing Shannon’s Pakura’s speech, support of an on-line petition, a blog post, and has exemplified the ‘careful and unglamorous work of building relationships between various ethnic and racial communities and challenging social injustice where they see it ‘ (Nadia Abu-Shanab). His work in bringing the plight of child protesters in Palestine and the detention of Munther Amira, a Palestine Social Worker, to the attention of Aotearoa New Zealand has raised awareness of the human rights and social injustice issues in Israel. 

What I also appreciate about Neil’s work is the voluntary nature of it, done on top of his usual role. This shows committed dedication and determination to reach out to our local Palestine community and across borders to our international colleagues and fellow human beings.