CHECK IT OUT! APASWE: No. 31 (2018)

Indigenous Worldviews for Social Work Education : Free Webinar Series Gets Started

By Dr Tracie Mafile’o, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work, College of Health, Massey University, New Zealand,

Indigenous worldviews for educating the next generation of social workers was demonstrated in the first Asia Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE) online webinar event on 26 July 2018, presented by Shirley Ikkala of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TwoA), an indigenous tertiary provider in New Zealand. Ikkala is the national curriculum mamanger for the Ngā Poutoko (social work practice and knowledge), Whakarara (biculturalism) Oranga (wellness): Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work, a programme with the largest enrolment numbers of the 17 social work education providers recognised by the Social Work Registration Board in New Zealand. An indigenous education provider, TwoA’s point of difference is the use of Māori knowledge as core to the social work curriculum. From New Zealand, India, Japan, Malaysia, Hawai’i and Australia, 16 participants participated in the webinar through the zoom link facilitated by Shokotuku University.

The Indigeneity in Asia and Pacific Social Work webinar series is a free professional development opportunity for educators or practitioners interested in how indigenous and non-western knowledge inform social work practice, theory, policy research and education in the region. The international definition of social work, since 2014, explicitly includes indigneous knowledge. Moreover, the Asia and Pacific amplification of the global definition notes the region has been shaped by its migrations and indigenous and colonising histories; and, further, that professional social work includes an emphasis on “affirming the region’s indigenous and local knowledges and practices alongside critical and research-based practice/practice-based research approaches to social work practice”. The webinar provides a mechanism for region-wide exchange to develop social work in the region.

Future webinars include presentations on Islamic based social work in Indonesia, changing social work curriculum at the Univeristy of the South Pacific in Fiji, and the Ainu indigenous peoples of Japan. See for more information about how to join a webinar. A pre-conference seminar, to complete the webinar series, is being planned before the regional conference in Bengaluru, India. For more information, contact Dr Tracie Mafile’o on