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SEED projects 2018 – He vaka moana: Navigating Māori and Pasifika student success

He waka eke noa – We are all in the same boat: Intercultural competence

Dr Kerry Lee

Dr Kerry Lee

Dr Kerry Lee, Svetlana Kostrykina, and Dr Angel Chan (Faculty of Education and Social Work)

This student-led project explored how postgraduate students co-construct intercultural competence by sharing their lived experiences at student-led workshops. It pursued a ‘students for students’ approach.

Cultural protocols (such as karakia, prayer, and food) became an essential part of the workshops, half of which took place at the Marae, as suggested by the attendees. The attendees engaged in discussions, collaborative tasks and challenging each other’s views. Despite the support of Te Puna and Pasifika Success, who generously volunteered their assistance with our planning, whakawhanaungatanga (relationship-building) remained a major challenge. We struggled to attract Māori and Pasifika attendees and facilitators, however we succeeded in maintaining students’ agency, and reciprocal learning. The workshops devoted to Te Whāriki (early childhood) and the Tapas cultural framework ( Cultural Competencies Framework for Teachers of Pacific Learners) were the highlights. The indigenous views on unpacking intercultural competence were particularly useful, and some attendees suggested there should be more such workshops, especially for the staff.

The participants generated the overarching themes for the workshops and written feedback and our workshop observations suggested that our project provided an alternative for intercultural exploration through indigenous worldviews, methodologies and cultural protocols. It also informed participants on the current use of the indigenous cultural frameworks in a New Zealand context and created a ‘not-threatening, non-judgmental, safe, non-conformed’ space for peer teaching and learning. Instead of being talked at, attendees could generate content, present and facilitate discussion, and challenge views. It also fostered participants’ awareness of the relevance of intercultural matters to daily lives and professional careers. We learnt about the value of the indigenous cultural frameworks for intercultural competence teaching and learning.

We are reaching out to the PGSA (Postgraduate Students Association) to include the intercultural competence workshops in their annual events calendar, starting at the Faculty of Education and Social Work. The resource resulting from the project will be made available via PGSA webpage.