The teaching of Māori social work practice and theory to a predominantly Pākehā audience

Shayne Walker


This article will explore the practices of teaching social work students in Aotearoa New Zealand to equip them for bicultural practice. This includes te reo Māori (the Māori language) and tikanga (culture) papers as well as specific teaching on the Treaty of Waitangi provisions. It will discuss some of the results, which suggest students know about Treaty provisions but are less able to translate this knowledge into practices, which are bicultural. It then suggests some strategies for moving this teaching forward so that students start to feel accustomed to and confident in practices which are suited to a bicultural setting. In this, it is suggested that it might be necessary to take a cross-cultural position and take aspects from diversity or cross-cultural training to enhance students’ understanding and ability in working with Māori in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. One of the difficulties with taking this approach is that most of these models emerge from a western rather than an indigenous framework of understanding and practice. In using this work, it is attempted to integrate indigenous methods and worldviews. 


social work education; bicultural practice; te reo Māori; tikanga; cross-cultural training; indigenous framework;

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