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Wednesday, December 4 • 3:30pm - 5:30pm
BREAKOUT SESSION FOUR: Social Futures (Panel)

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Chair: Avril Bell

Panel Presentations & Discussion

What are the responsibilities and possibilities for non-Māori to contribute to a decolonial future Aotearoa/New Zealand? In this Marsden-funded research programme we use the term ‘tāngata tiriti’ to identify all non-Māori New Zealanders and highlight our/their relationship and responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Treaty partnership work. We ask how tāngata tiriti are ‘learning the trick of standing upright here’? In this project, we are interviewing tāngata tiriti working across a range of professional spheres, exploring their engagements with Maori in support of decolonial futures and the significance of Te Tiriti to them in that work. These papers report on early data from this project.


Avril Bell: The dance of proximity and distance in negotiating Treaty partnership work

Pākehā relationships with, and orientations towards, Māori have been shaped by 180 years of colonial and racist dominating logics, which over time have become sedimented into Pākehā commonsense. In this paper, I explore some of the important counters to, or ways of undoing, this commonsense, beginning with Alison Jones and Kuni Jenkins’ (2008) argument that collaborations with Māori firstly, and most importantly, require care for the relationship itself rather than a primary focus on the goals of the collaboration. They use the metaphor of the hyphen – a spatial mark that both separates and connects – to point to the delicate dance of connection and distance required in collaborative/partnership work. Here, I expand on their argument to tease out the strands of relational dynamics involved. Using interview extracts from the Tangata Tiriti project and Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical philosophy, the paper will highlight how care for the hyphen involves maintaining epistemological distance and ethical connection or proximity.


Chris Woods: Learning the Trick of Standing upright here: appreciative inquiry in action

In this paper, I explore the use of an appreciative inquiry lens as a means to identify what facilitates successful relationships. Appreciative inquiry focuses on what works well in an organization, rather than the problems, challenges and issues (Cooperrider et al. 2000; Cooperrider and Srivestva 1987). It leaves a ‘deficit-oriented approach” to instead focus on understanding organisations by asking questions that explore positive engagement. That does not mean that negative experiences are denied – rather they are used to highlight where positive experiences have occurred (Leeson et al, 2016). Through an appreciate inquiry lens this paper offers stories of relationship, partnership and identity gathered from non-Māori New Zealanders working closely and constructively with Māori in a business context to provide accounts of those learning ‘the trick of standing upright here’. Consideration of the relationships between tāngata whenua and tāngata tiriti also serves the interests of the empowered Māori communities and organisations of this post-Treaty-settlement era who have become significant political and economic actors nationwide.


Billie Lythberg: Tuia – Encounters 250: ‘Binding’ conversations?

Non-Māori living in Aotearoa New Zealand have been denoted by various terms throughout history, and their relationship with Māori has been described by multiple metaphors. The former are present in the ways we describe ourselves and formalised in official documents; the latter in academic and popular media designed to interrogate, collapse or perpetuate difference. 2019 marks the 250-year commemoration of the first onshore encounters between Māori and the British and European crew of the Endeavour, under the command of Lieutenant James Cook and the guidance of Ra‘iātean navigator Tupaia. The associated programme of events supported by Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Tuia – Encounters 250, uses the metaphor of binding (tuia) to frame “an opportunity to hold honest conversations about the past, the present, and how we navigate our shared future together.” (https://mch.govt.nz/tuia250) In this paper I present perspectives offered by self-described ‘Pākehā’, ‘tauiwi’, ‘Pasifikan’ and other non-Māori who are contributing to these conversations via the Tuia – Encounters 250 arts and culture programmes supported by MCH.


Rose Yukich: Affect, activism and Pākehā history teachers


Māori historian Aroha Harris (2019) contends that teaching our own history in secondary schools “should be an ordinary step, not a bold one” and that the skills of historical literacy “can teach us to debate without debasing either ourselves or each other”. As Pākehā history teacher Michael Harcourt (2019) argues, “History is about the future. How we think, or don’t think about the past shapes the way we imagine the future and its possibilities”. Yet our NCEA history curriculum still allows schools to sidestep our country’s colonial past as a set topic for sustained study. The emphasis instead is on teacher autonomy and choice. Those who commit to teaching senior students about New Zealand history (including the Treaty) are indeed bold, some publicly taking an activist political stance to challenge the current curriculum policy. Through the Tāngata Tiriti project, I interviewed such extra-ordinary Pākehā teachers to explore what moved them to become open to learning and teaching our nation’s past. What sorts of affective connections and attachments (Ahmed, 2015) shaped their teacher identities and desires to help students develop into critical thinkers about 19th century Māori-settler entanglement and its ongoing effects?