Education and Social Work

Eileen Tupou says the Master of Social Work allowed her to fulfil her potential, while studying alongside people from completely different disciplines, all with the same vision.

My postgraduate experience

“After spending ten years in frontline statutory social work, I wanted to extend my knowledge and challenge myself. I enrolled in the Master of Social Work and it was the best thing I ever did for my personal and professional growth and development.

“The programme was structured in a way that accommodated my personal and professional life. I started studying as a mother of two while working fulltime, and I had two more children during my study journey. The University never made me feel like I had to choose between being a mother or having an education or career. I had the most amazing whānau-centred academic supervisors.

“The Master of Social Work taught me to always be critically reflective in social work practice. This means really questioning the tools and frameworks we are trained to use in frontline social work and being aware of policies and systems – how they’re set up, who benefits from them and my role in that transformative sustainable change. It’s also important to critique data – frameworks, methodologies, how data is gathered and presented. And those conversations can be uncomfortable and difficult but they are so important.”

“The University never made me feel like I had to choose between being a mother or having an education or career.”

My work

“For the last 18 months I have been a Wellness Advisor in primary healthcare. I am based in urgent care clinics across South Auckland. The clinic populations are highly Māori and Pasifika with significant complex social needs. We know that health isn’t just physical but also social, psychological, spiritual and emotional so my role in the clinic brings in a more holistic and integrated approach to health and wellbeing.

“I have recently been appointed by the Cause Collective as Practice Leader of the Family Violence Pacific Coalition, which is about raising practice quality and increasing capability of stakeholder workforces who are responding to family violence in Counties Manukau. I’m a part of an interdisciplinary team of changemakers who are focused on social change for Pacific communities. My heart is very embedded in improving outcomes for our Pacific communities and South Auckland communities.

“I love that I have the opportunity to give back to people and pay it forward. I’m grateful that every day I get to engage with some of our most vulnerable communities and support people in a health context, who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.”

Meet our students