Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

11 seconds ago

Merewhakaangi (Mere) Waihi, Graduate Bachelor of Social Work

A former EIT student has gone full circle and is now giving her knowledge and experience back through teaching at Bachelor of Social Work. 

Merewhakaangi (Mere) Waihi graduated from EIT Hawke’s Bay with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2009 and since then, she has worked in various front-line jobs in the North Island.  Mere returned to her turangawaewae in 2018, and this year has secured a new job with EIT Tairāwhiti as a lecturer in the Bachelor of Social Work team. 

Mere believes that a career in social work gives some huge rewards and there is a massive shortage of social workers in New Zealand. 

“There seems to be a stigma around social workers with a lot of negative spin in the media, but the work is rewarding. I have worked with some amazing families and had amazing outcomes.” 

A big help for Mere following the completion of her degree was landing full-time work at Hawke’s Bay Hospital where she started to “walk the talk” and put in place everything she had learnt during her time at EIT. 

“I had been at the hospital on a placement as part of my degree, during which I applied for a job as a social worker on the acute medical wards. It was hard, stressful, fast-paced work where I had to utilise my social work skills to build relationships with whānau in order to hear their voice, discuss options and organise supports before they were discharged.”  

Mere’s journey saw her moving around different DHB’s and building on her knowledge and experience before moving back to Gisborne in the middle of 2018 to help support her elderly grandparents. She began working for Hauora Tairāwhiti with a part-time position at the Gisborne East Coast Cancer Society and in 2019 she decided to take the plunge into mental health and joined the Infant Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (ICAMHS) as a crisis worker. 

Following the first Covid-19 lockdown and having to return to help at the hospital, Mere returned as an ICAMHS crisis worker but was ready for a change, and took a job with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) as a kaiarahi (Family Court Navigator). This role involved learning court processes and networking with internal kaimahi, judiciary, Iwi services, NGO’s and services contracted by MOJ in order to link people in with services they needed. 

“It was a great idea and an amazing role but with lockdown again, we had to work from home and I felt I needed more challenges.” 

Seeking a new challenge, the role as lecturer at EIT Tairāwhiti came up at just the right time. This was a chance for her to share her knowledge and experiences with the next generation of social workers. Mere is excited for the future and is looking forward to helping and giving back to students.