Ngā Aroro and Social Work Supervision


  • Eliza Wallace Ngā puhi, Te Rarawa, Violence prevention sector



Ng? aroro, M?ori concepts, supervision, culturally effective, indigenous


INTRODUCTION: This article explores the interconnectivity between Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) concepts and supervision.

METHOD: The main focus of the research was to highlight ngā aroro (key concepts) from Te Ao Māorii that influence critical reflection in supervision and the cultural effectiveness of supervision. The embedding of kaupapa Māori (Māori approaches) research principles and ethics meant that the methodology provided a supportive shelter for consciousness-raising, critical dialogue, reflection on supervision practice and for oral cultural narrative to be honoured. A unique part of the methodology was the inclusion of a Whakawhanaungatanga Research Advisory Roopu, which provided the necessary cultural oversight of the research.

FINDINGS: The research used a thematic analysis that brought to light six conceptual themes from Te Ao Māori to unlock heightened holistic learning and support in supervision practice. The findings revealed that customary knowledge, skills and methods were purposefully accessed
to enable the re-indigenising of social work supervision. The conceptual frameworks showed elements of co-design, an awakened spiritual awareness and a desire to explore one’s cultural sense of self.

IMPLICATIONS: The research challenges the conventions of social work supervision to review supervision theory and practice particularly in considering the strengths of supervision provided by non-registered social work supervisors and the cultural effectiveness of supervision being developed, measured and evaluated based on the supervision goals of the supervisee and indigenous aspirations.


Barlow, C. (1991). Tikanga whakaaro. Key concepts in Māori culture (1st ed.). Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press.

Bell, H. S. (2006). Exiting the matrix: Colonisation, decolonisation and social work in Aotearoa: Voices of Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga kaimahi whānau (Unpublished masters thesis). Massey University, Palmerston North.

Connolly, M., Crichton-Hill, Y., & Ward, T. (2005). Culture and child protection: Reflexive responses. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.

Cunningham, C. (1998). A framework for addressing Māori knowledge in research, science and technology. In Te Pumanawa Hauora (Ed.), Te Oru Rangahau: Māori Research and Development Conference (pp. 387-397). Palmerston North: Te Putahi A Toi, Massey University.

Davys, A., & Beddoe, L. (2010). Best practice in professional supervision: A handbook for the helping professions. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.

Davys, A., May, J., Burns, B., & O’Connell, M. (2017). Evaluating social work supervision. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 29(3), 108–121.

Durie, M. (1994). Whaiora: Māori health development (2nd ed.). Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press.

Durie, M. (1998). Te mana, te kāwanatanga: The politics of Māori self- determination. Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press.

Eketone, A. (2012). The purposes of cultural supervision. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 24(3&4), 20–30.

Elkington, J. (2014). A kaupapa Māori context. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 26(1), 65–73.

Eruera, M. (2005). He kōrero korari: Supervision for Māori weaving the past into the present for the future (Unpublished master’s thesis). Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Retrieved from

Eruera, M. (2007). He kōrero kōrari. In D. Wepa (Ed.), Clinical supervision in Aotearoa/New Zealand: A health perspective. Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson Education New Zealand.

Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. (2012). Supervision in the helping professions (4th ed.). New York, NY: Open University Press.

Hollis, A. (2006). Pūao-te-Ata-Tū and Māori social work methods (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Hollis-English, A. (2012). Māori social workers: Experiences within social service organisations (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Hohepa, P. (2011). Hokianga from Te Korekore to 1840: A resource document commissioned by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust on behalf of the Hokianga whānau, hapū, land and resources claims collective. Final report. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Kadushin, A. (1976). Supervision in Social Work. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Marsden, M., & Royal, T. (2003). The woven universe: Selected writings of Rev. Māori Marsden. Otaki, NZ: Estate of Rev. Māori Marsden.

Mead, H. (2003). Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori values. Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand: Huia.

Mead, H. (2016). Tikanga Māori living by Māori values (rev. ed.). Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand: Huia.

Mooney, H. (2012). Māori social work views and practices of rapport building with rangatahi Māori. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 24(3&4), 49–64.

Morrison, T. (2001). Staff supervision in social care: Making a real difference for staff and service users. Brighton, UK: Pavilion.

Moyle, P. (2014). A model for Māori research for Māori practitioners. Te Komako: Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 16(1), 29–38.

Murray, V. (2012). Hoki ki tōu maunga kia purea ai e koe ki ngaāhau o Tāwhirimatea—A supervision model. Te Kamako: Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 24(3&4), 3–11.

Patton, M. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Pere, R. (1982). Ako: Concepts and learning in the Maori tradition. Wellington, New Zealand: Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board.

Pere, R. (1991). Te wheke a celebration of infinite wisdom. Gisborne, New Zealand: Ao Ako Global Learning NZ.

Pohatu, T. (2004). Āta: Growing respectful relationships. Retrieved from load?doi= p1&type=pdf

Rewita, T., Swann, H., Swann, B., & Crocket, K. (2017). Where supervision and culture meet: Kawenga whakarurutanga. In K. Crocket, E. Davis, E. Kotzé, B. Swann, & H. Swann (Eds.). Māori counselling journeys (pp. 215–227). Auckland, New Zealand: Dunmore Publishing.

Ruwhiu, L., Ashby, W., Erueti, H., Halliday, A., Horne, H., & Paikea, P. (2009). A mana tane echo of hope: Dispelling the illusion of whānau violence—Taitokerau tāne Māori speak out. Aotearoa: Amokura Family Violence Prevention Consortium.

Ruwhiu, T. O. & Ruwhiu, L. (2005). Ko te pae o te atua mai inga whakaaro hohonu nei, hei oranga mo te ora tangata. Te Kamako: Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 27(2), 4–19.

Scerra, N. (2012). Models of supervision: Providing effective support to aboriginal staff. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 46(1), 77–85.

Shohet, R. (Ed.). (2011). Supervision as transformation: A passion for learning. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.

Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (2nd ed.). London, UK: Zed Books.

Social Workers Registration Board. (2017). Retrieved from assessment/

Su’a-Hawkins, A., & Mafile’o, T. (2004). What is cultural supervision. Social Work Now, 29,10–16. Wellington: New Zealand: Department of Child Youth and Family. Retrieved from whats-new/social-work-now/news/2000-2005/swn29.pdf

Swann, H. (2017). Receiving referrals and beginning counselling. In K. Crocket, E. Davis, E. Kotzé, B. Swann, & H. Swann (Eds.), Māori counselling journeys (pp. 121–130). Auckland, New Zealand: Dunmore Publishing.

Swann, H., Swann, B., Davis, E., Te Wiata, J., Smith, R., Crocket, K., & Kotzé, E. (2017). Coming together apart. In K. Crocket, E. Davis, E. Kotzé, B. Swann, & H. Swann. (Eds.), Māori counselling journeys (pp. 21–31). Auckland, New Zealand: Dunmore Publishing.

Tate, H. (2012). He puna iti i te ao mārama: A little spring in the world of light. Auckland, New Zealand: Libro International.

Thematic Analysis. (n.d.). University of Auckland. Retrieved from our-research/research-groups/thematic-analysis/about- thematic-analysis.html

Thomas, C., & Davis, S. (2005). Bicultural strengths-based supervision. In M. Nash, R. Munford, & K. O’Donoghue (Eds.), Social work theories in action (pp. 189–204). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Tsui, M. (2004). Social work supervision: Contexts and concepts. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Tsui, M., & Ho, W. (1997). In search of a comprehensive model of social work supervision. Clinical Supervisor, 16(2), 181–205.

Wallace, E. (2018). Manawanui: Illuminating contemporary meanings of culturally effective social work supervision practice in Te Taitokerau, Northland (Unpublished master’s thesis). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved from

Webber-Dreadon, E. (1999). He taonga mo o matou Tipuna (A gift handed down by our ancestors): An indigenous approach to social work supervision. Aotearoa

New Zealand Association of Social Work, Social Work Review, Te Komako, 11(4), 7–12.

Wepa, D. (2015). Cultural safety in Aotearoa New Zealand (2nd ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press.

Wonnacott, J. (2011). Mastering social work supervision. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.




How to Cite

Wallace, E. (2019). Ngā Aroro and Social Work Supervision. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 31(3), 20–31.



Original Articles