Admission to the IFSW, 1964.

The newly formed New Zealand Association of Social Workers wasted no time in making its entrance to the international scene.  The quarterly bulletin of the International Federation of Social Workers issued at the end of 1964 noted the admission of the NZASW to the IFSW.


The historical document we are releasing today is another archival gem.  It is a beautifully written (and carefully typed) account of John McCreary’s participation in the twelfth international conference of the IFSW as the first NZASW representative. The event was held in Athens from September 13th to the 19th, 1964.

John McCreary
John McCreary
The Athens conference
Report on the Athens IFSW conference, 1964

This enthusiastic engagement with the IFSW was to be a continuing feature of the association throughout its history. Sending his greetings to the 50 anniversary celebration Dr Rory Truell (IFSW Secretary General) commented that:

ANZASW is prized member of the International Federation of Social Workers and has made significant contributions to international social work.  In recent years Aotearoa / New Zealand has had an extraordinary high input at the IFSW leadership level with Buster Curson, Fiona Robertson and most recently Rose Henderson all having worked or working as regionally or globally elected Officers of the international Executive Committee.

And of course earlier this year at the AGM in Melbourne, Fiona Robertson was awarded the highest IFSW honour: the Andrew Mouravieff-Apostol medal.

This strong commitment of the association to international social work, and to the mission of the IFSW, has its roots in John McCreary’s first contribution. In his account of the Athens conference McCreary reports that:

It was there I met most of the sixteen strong Australian delegation. I had been asked to join their party and went looking for them. From the depth of a crowd aroud a barrel I heard a voice saying,  “Grab a bottle of plonk mate and follow me”. The Australians were found.

Click the extract above or the title below to download McCreary’s report on the Athens conference.


McCreary, J. (1964). The Twelfth International Conference of Social Work, Athens, 13th- 19th September.