Scan the QR code using the  NZ COVID Tracer app when you enter campus.

Lynsey Ellis

Lynsey Ellis staff profile picture

School of Social Work
College of Health


Thesis Title
Educating for our future: addressing the relevance of climate change impacts in New Zealand social work.

Research Description
Sustainable Social Work; addressing the relevance of climate change impacts to social work education in New Zealand. The purpose of this action research is to educate social worker participants (educators, students and practitioners) on the relevance of climate change impacts to social work practice and investigate the support requirements participants need to develop a sustainable practice response to climate change impacts in New Zealand. The impacts of climate change will be unequally distributed and those with minimal resources will be least able to cope (IPCC, 2014). Social workers are tasked to support vulnerable and marginal populations and therefore are well placed to take action on this issue. This research will fill the current gap in the literature which has a growing contribution from academia but there remains a space in its application to practice both internationally (Coates, 2003; Dominelli, 2011; Molyneux, 2010) and in New Zealand. The benefits of this project will be highlighting the current ecological crisis relevant to social work educators, practitioners and student; and identifying social work training needs on this issue; and will begin the conversation about adaptation and resilience building strategies that will be necessary in their future practice.

Research Importance
The health and social impacts of climate change are inevitable (IPCC, 2014b). This study will make a contribution from New Zealand social work, building upon interdisciplinary work locally and internationally to educate social workers on the adaptation and mitigation of the climate change challenges going forward.

Research Benefit
It is anticipated that the New Zealand social work community will benefit from this research through the workshops and publication of the results. They will be being better informed about the relevance of climate change impacts to social work practice in New Zealand and thus the necessity to practice sustainably.

Personal Description
Originally from Wolverhampton (UK), I completed my BA (Honours) Psychology and MA Social Work in London where I practiced for ten years in various social work roles working with National Health Service, Metropolitan Police and NGO organisations. I primarily focused on forensic and addictions work with homeless and transient populations, before moving into NGO management. I moved to Auckland in 2002 and worked for nine years with Mental Health for ADHB prior to my current role at Massey University where I now hold an academic position as a Professional Clinician within the School of Social Work, College of Health.

Associate Professor Kieran O'Donoghue
Associate Professor Ksenija Napan


Key outputs anticipated at this stage are:

·       The development and delivery of an education workshop influenced by international literature and in collaboration with social work educators, practitioners, managers and student using the action reflection cycle of action research.

·       An investigation of the training need for social workers on sustainability and climate change issues in New Zealand

·       Identification of education available on sustainability and climate change in the social work sector in New Zealand.

·       Highlight examples of international best practice in delivery of sustainability and climate change in social work education.

·        A completed PhD thesis.


Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey