Social work

Careers in social work

Social work promotes social change, social justice, social equality and human rights. The profession works with individuals, families, whānau and communities to enhance their wellbeing and to cope with the problems they’re facing.

Social workers work with all people, from the very young to the very old. As a qualified social worker, you could be working in the community, at a hospital or a district health board, be a policy expert working with government, or travel overseas to practice social work.


Meet our students


Social workers often see people at their darkest, lowest points. Bachelor of Social Work student Kaysha Whakarau, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ruanui, says she has always been drawn to people who need extra support, and in her job, she is doing just that.


New Zealand Social Workers Registration Board

Our professional programmes are accredited by the New Zealand Social Workers Registration Board. Students who complete the Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Applied Social Work can immediately apply for provisional registration as a registered social worker.


Strategy development for organisations

Researchers in the Practice Research and Professional Development Hub work alongside organisations to develop strategies for researching their practice and to document the interventions that are most effective in working with their client populations. A key focus is on building critically reflective organisations that are able to respond to the diversity of client populations and understand the local contexts of Aotearoa New Zealand and its global relationships.

Contact Robyn Munford


Defining Social Work in Aotearoa

Massey University was the first New Zealand university to offer a social work degree, 40 years ago. This book is published to mark that milestone. Relevant to all social workers today, its chapters highlight the political and social backdrop against which the profession has developed over the past four decades.

It also casts a critical eye over the key issues and trends that continue to preoccupy the profession, policy-makers, politicians, the media and, indeed, the general populace. Its detailed bibliography highlights the remarkable and influential body of work of Massey social work students, staff and alumni since 1976.

Defining Social Work in Aotearoa

Guidelines for Employers

Professor Jackie Sanders and Professor Robyn Munford from the School of Social Work have used their research findings to craft guidelines for businesses, to help support young people into employment. This 45-page document is based on two Massey research projects – the Pathways to Resilience and Youth Transitions studies. It will assist employers to better understand the experiences of vulnerable young people and to develop effective strategies for working with youth who are not involved in education or training.

Guidelines for Employers

Pacific Regional Resource Centre

The Pacific Regional Resource Centre is for social work educators, social service practitioners, researchers, policy makers, government bodies, NGOs and Pacific regional organisations who wish find out about or connect with Pacific social work. Formally launched in March 2017, the centre is run by a collaboration of five schools of social work across the Pacific, including Massey's School of Social Work.

Pacific Regional Resource Centre

Social Work Theories in Action

This wide-ranging collection of essays offers valuable insights into the cultural issues involved in the practical application of social work theories. Leading contributors explore the challenges faced by indigenous populations and ethnic minority groups, and offer valuable guidance on cross-cultural work.

Social Work Theories in Action

Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand

All social work students face decisions about where they will undertake the minimum 120 days of field placement required during their study, as well as which field of practice to work in upon graduation.

This helpful book introduces students to five fields of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Students can watch in-depth interviews with practitioners about their field of practice, read text and view photographs and graphics relating to each domain. Based on the current policy and legislative climate in which social workers operate, it gives inspirational, up-to-date and unique insights into social work environments, including working with youth, youth justice, women’s health, community faith-based work and adult mental health. Together, the book and the accompanying videos allow students to get a real feel for life as a social work graduate.

Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand

Working with whānau

Maori social work in schools covers the work of a group of kaimahi working as social workers in largely rural Maori communities. The focus of this text is on kaimahi who work for iwi Maori organisations. Five of these organisations supported the research for this book by enabling their social workers to tell the stories their work within their communities. They present the programmes that are offered in their communities; examples of the outcomes for whanau; and the role of the social worker.

Working with whānau

Departments and staff

Find out more about the departments and staff involved in study and research related to social work at Massey.

School of Social Work

College of Health


The Te Rau Puawai Workforce Programme provides bursaries and learning support for qualifications in the field of Māori mental health.

Te Rau Puawai

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