10 questions with Kathryn Hay, Michael Dale and Lareen Cooper


1. Now that it’s published, what pleases you most about Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Everything! The vibrancy of colour, the easy-to-read font and layout, the uniqueness of it as a student text and of course the videos of the social workers talking about themselves and their practice.


2. Why did you feel the need to write it?

Student requests for more information about the different fields of social work practice so they could feet better informed before they indicated to us where they wanted to go on placement.


3. What do you think is particularly helpful to readers about it?

All of it, really. The videos are bite-sized and can be easily accessed; there’s a lot of information about each field, but it’s written in a way that is engaging;  and the book looks like something you’d want to pick up and start reading (in contrast to a traditional black and white textbook).


4. Tell us about some of its special features.

The videos that can be accessed using QR codes or URLs; the selected transcripts in each chapter; and the photos of social workers in their organisations. It really is a unique text.


5. In the course of writing it, what did you learn that surprised you?

That we would become placement supervisors of a UCOL IT student who did a fantastic job editing the videos, took the photos and developed the graphics. We didn’t realise we would end up taking a student on placement ourselves, but were so pleased we did!


6. What did you take from the interviews with the five social workers featured in this book?

How amazing social workers are (well, we already knew that!). Many people don’t know what social workers actually do and this book helps demystify some of that.


7. How did you all work on this book together?

Marvellously and harmoniously.


8. How did you all find the time given that you are also teaching and researching?

Well, we didn’t always work on the book during our usual work hours, but we did enjoy the whole process so it didn’t really seem too arduous to make the time for it.


9. How did you keep the momentum going during those periods where the pressure started to get to you?

We all had the same vision for the book and were excited to work with Massey University Press on a new and different sort of initiative so that was very motivating.


10. What are you all reading at the moment?

Kath: Professionally, material on the role of social work in natural disasters; personally, Anita Shreve.
Lareen: Professionally, material on refugees; personally, Ruth Rendell.
Michael: Professionally, material on values and ethics; personally, The Desert War Trilogy (Alan Moorehead).