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Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

Our behaviour is guided by our ethics and our ethics are based in our values. 

The Code of Ethics provides an agreed set of guidelines for youth work in Aotearoa to ensure that youth work is carried out in a safe, skilled, ethical manner.

The Code is designed for youth workers but is relevant to all individuals working with young people and provides guidance to keep workers and the young people they work with safe.


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The Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa New Zealand

The Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa New Zealand defines key values and standards for youth workers in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It was developed to ensure that youth work is carried out in a safe, skilled and ethical manner. It was written by youth workers for youth workers and intended to be a regularly reviewed, living document.

The Code provides guidance for youth workers and others working with young people on how to keep themselves and the young people they work with safe, acts as a means for youth workers to hold each other accountable, protects the credibility of youth work and is a reference point for youth workers to develop ethical awareness.

Developed around the six principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa, the Code is comprised of 27 clauses critical to effective, ethical youth work practice and practical examples of how they might apply in youth work. It’s intended to be consistent with the responsibilities of Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti, agreed to in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We ask Ara Taiohi members who are youth workers or who employ youth workers to use the Code as a framework for their practice including supporting youth workers to familiarise and train themselves in the full Code of ethics.

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It’s useful for anyone who is working with young people.

Ara Taiohi members are asked to formally recognise the Code; and any paid youth worker, particularly those with overall responsibility for youth work programmes, needs to be familiar with and trained in the full Code. 

At the back of the Code of Ethics publication there is an ‘At a Glance’ section, which is great for volunteers or as a quick reference for youth workers.

The Code of Ethics was developed by youth worker for youth workers. It is intended to be a living document and is reviewed every two years to maintain its relevance.

Discussions about the need for a national youth work code of ethics started in 1995 among youth worker networks and between youth workers and Government in 2002.

But it wasn’t until 2007 that the National Youth Workers Network Aotearoa initiated consultation with youth workers around the country with their ‘Let’s Not Be Uncode’ roadshow.

From there, a Code of Ethics working group was set up, made up of people who represented the diversity of youth work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

At the same time a Māori representative group, Te Rōpū, was set up under the National Youth Workers Network Aotearoa, and together with the working group they developed the first edition of Code of Ethics.

The first edition was launched at the 2008 Involve Youth Development Conference, and following feedback and consultation, the second edition was released in February 2011.

We encourage all youth workers and people working with young people to use the biennial submission process to give their thoughts on the code.

Put this poster up in your service to help young people understand what they can expect from a youth worker using the Code of Ethics.

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