Department overview

Our teaching style is practice-based and we have a collaborative relationship with hundreds of agencies and active professionals. Our research is focused on working with individuals, families and communities to improve practice and address inequalities.

Our staff are active in their own communities and professions, often taking on leadership roles in local organisations. Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and bring new and interesting perspectives to classroom discussions. Our programmes reflect the importance of collaborative learning where diversity is celebrated.

Find out more about what the Department of Social Practice is up to by reading our latest newsletter.

Social Practice Newsletter Issue 6, June 2014 (PDF) »

Social Practice Newsletter Issue 5, May 2013 (PDF) »

Register of supervisors

Name Preferred methodologies Supervision areas
Dr Selina Akhter
Masters level supervision
 64 9 815 4321 ext  5176
Quantitative: correlational structural equation modelling, construct validity
Qualitative:  Auto-ethnography, critical reflexive method, narrative, story telling
Kaupapa Maori research methods 
Women and Domestic violence
Integration and identity issues of  immigrants
Spirituality and social work
Dr Irene Ayallo
Masters level supervision
Qualitative Research
Participatory Action Research (including Action-Based Research and Collaborative Inquiry)
Gender (empowerment of young women)
Politics (political theories, political participation, social justice, and human rights)
HIV/AIDS prevention
Political Theology
Research with marginalised groups
Dr Geoff Bridgman
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5071
Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research
Multi-methods Research
Mental health
Deaf culture 
Impacts of media on mental and general health
Cross-cultural research
Sustainability research
Dr Helene Connor
PhD and Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5010
Qualitative Research
Biographical research
Auto/biographical texts
Biographical texts of wahine Maori
Biography as research methodology 
Personal narratives
Aspects of Mothering
Exploring constructions of multiple identities
Cultural representations
Intersections between gender and ethnicity
Women’s herstories
Women and HIV
Women’s experiences of prison, prisonization
David McNabb
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext  5024
Qualitative Research The development of professional social work and the workplace context
Social work education
Social work and mental health services
Social work leadership
Clinical Governance and quality improvement in health services
Sue Elliot
Masters level supervision
Qualitative Research Refugee and Migration 
Human rights
Civil society and NGO practice and policy
David Epston
Masters level supervision
Qualitative Research
Clinical research
Topics related to narrative therapy and community work
Associate Prof Helen Gremillion
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5137
Qualitative Research
Ethnographic research
Critical approaches to psychology, psychiatry, and
Gender Studies, feminist theories, and
sexuality studies
Body image and consumer culture
Narrative Therapy and community work
David Haigh
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5055
Qualitative Research Civil society
Not for profit organisations
Community development organisation/programme evaluation
Dr Alexandra Hart
PhD and Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5092
Qualitative and quantitative approaches and multi-method research.
Clinical Research and reseach in the practice context.
Cross-cultural research.
Oral traditions, biographical and autobiographical methodologies.
Approaches: phenomenology, neuro-phenomenology, psychophenomenology, semiotics, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, feminist methodologies, mathematical modeling, data mining and clustering techniques, game-based education and health delivery.
Areas: professional supervision, counselling, reflective practice, critical reflection, Eugene Gendlin’s psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, narrative therapy, Jamesian psychology, gender studies, feminist studies, women’s studies, Maori health, women’s health, health science, psychosomatics and psychosomatic medicine, critical perspectives on biomedicine, philosophy of science, history of science, enactive cognitive science, social enaction, complex systems theory, Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, mindful awareness, Taoism, yoga.

Topics: creativity, developing therapeutic techniques, integrating theory into practice, practitioner resilence and sustainability, chronic fatigue syndrome, displacement, loss and grief and counselling gifted clients.
Dr Catherine Hughes
Masters level supervision

Qualitative research

Ethnographic research
Narrative analysis
Psychosocial care in the medical system
End of life care
Organ donation
Space and Place

David Kenkel
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 8283
Cooperative inquiry
Participatory action research
Child advocacy
Preventing violence
Human Rights
Peter Matthewson
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5217

Case studies
In-depth interviewing

Leadership in Mental health
Risk assessment and management in mental health
Professional supervision in social work

Gavin Rennie
Masters level supervision
+64 9 815 4321 ext 5070
Qualitative Research Political Activities of Social Workers
The links between Social Work Community Development
and Theology
The construct of Social Practice
three strands of three disciplines? 
Just Practice a new paradigm for Practice the
New Zealand experience

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
Bachelor of Social Practice 7 Full-time for four years or part-time options available Community worker, Case manager, Local government adviser, Maori community kaiawhina, Policy analyst, Probation officer, Social worker
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Practice (Social Practice) 8 Full-time for six months plus half-time for six months or part-time for one to four years Community development worker, Counsellor, Not-for-profit practitioner, Social practitioner working for a government agency, Social practitioner working for a non-government agency (NGO)
Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling 8 Part-time for 18 months Counsellor, Relationship counsellor, School counsellor
Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice) 9 Full-time for 18 months or part-time for two to six years Community development worker, Counsellor, Not-for-profit practitioner, Social practitioner working for a government agency, Social practitioner working for a non-government agency (NGO)