Public perception of social work and social workers in New Zealand

Barbara Staniforth, Christa Fouche and Liz Beddoe
School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work
University of Auckland

Social work in New Zealand has undergone significant and rapid change over the fifty years since its professional body, the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW), was founded.

In that time no large-scale studies have explored how people view social workers or the profession of social work in Aotearoa New Zealand. The project team at the University of Auckland undertook a telephone survey in 2013 in which 386 members of the public in Aotearoa New Zealand were asked about their beliefs and impressions about social work and social workers. Study findings demonstrate that members of the public surveyed appeared relatively well informed about what social workers do, and were generally positive in their views.

Staniforth, B., Fouche, C. B., & Beddoe, L. (2014). Public perception of social work and social workers in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work. Read here

Second study question
In a second online survey we asked NZ social workers “How do social workers think that they are perceived by the public of Aotearoa New Zealand?” and a few additional questions. Some preliminary findings were presented at the Social Work and Social Development Conference, Melbourne July 12th, 2014. You can see the presentation here:

Public Perceptions SWSD Conference powerpoint

Principal Investigator Barbara Staniforth


About socialworknz

I'm a social work researcher in Aotearoa New Zealand
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