I am a New Zealand registered Social Worker and a member of Aotearoa NZ Association of Social Workers (ANZASW). I have been registered since 2010 and completed my Post-Graduate Diploma for management at Te Wananga O Raukawa in 2011. I have had over 25 years of working with vulnerable families from infant to elderly age groups who have been mildly to seriously affected by traumatic events. It has been an honour to work with these families over the years and I have had the privilege of getting to witness many of these families recover from such events through the use of a “Whanau Ora” model of care.
I developed a “whanau ora psychosocial assessment tool” in 2009 and piloted this tool when I managed whanau ora services within primary care setting in the South Auckland region. The model is designed to support whanau engagement from a safe and simplistic perspective. I worked alongside GPs, nurses and psychologists at the time and they were very impressed how we were able to provide a clinical/cultural integrated approach to service delivery to all whanau registered with the clinic. It was quickly realised among many clinicians at the time, the importance of having such a model of practice as it fundamentally opened opportunities to engage with complex whanau who had previously disengaged! It now became easier for all clinicians to access whanau and identify key needs. I then went on to manage Mental Health & Addiction services with 55 staff under my wing and the model of care was introduced and utilised throughout all my services.
I am very passionate about whanau ora practises as I strongly believe it is a great way to engage with whanau of all cultures. It also supports building rapport with whanau and assist with the development of safe relationships. This is paramount when working with vulnerable whanau as they have already experienced trauma which potentially impinges on them not trusting others, especially strangers! One of the key issues I’ve had for many years is carrying the title “social worker” because of the stigma it carries when engaging with whanau! I have found it a lot more effective to engage with whanau without the title and to carry a Maori title which is a lot more conducive for the role.