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Tracie Mafile'O

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Work)
Study Completed: 2006
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Tongan social work models for practice.

Dr Mafile’o’s study explored Tongan approaches to social and community work practice. Tongan social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand were interviewed about their Tongan values, knowledge, skills and processes foundational to their practice. The thesis demonstrates that a Tongan world view provides a relevant framework for social and community work practice amongst Tongans in the diaspora. Key values of fetokoni’aki (mutual helpfulness), tauhi va (looking after relationships), faka’apa’apa (respect) and ‘ofa (love) are the basis of a Tongan system of welfare, based within kainga (extended family) and community. It is argued that if social and community work is to be transformative, it must itself be transformed and its very foundations reshaped by Tongan and non-western voices.

Associate Professor Andrew Trlin
Professor Robyn Munford

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