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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Cosmic Waka: A Metaphor from the Pacific for Learning to Work with Differences

Dr Betsan Martin, Dr Maria Humphries.

We intend to conduct an interactive session. We will present our metaphor of a Cosmic Waka developing in our work with various groups where a difference of position needs resolution for a common good. Our experiences come from working with indigenous, gender, and theoretical differences but the metaphor is suitable for religious and political differences that must also find respectful co-existence. We speak from our experiences in working with the philosophies of Education and of Management in context ranging from our work with indigenous groups in New Zealand and the Pacific to the Graduate and Undergraduate business classes in Europe, USA and New Zealand


Dr Betsan Martin  (New Zealand)
School of Management Studies, University of Waikato Hamilton, New Zealand

Dr Betsan Martin and Assoc. Prof Maria Humphries are research colleagues who work in the interface of academic and community sectors, with speical experience in not-for profit/third sector research. They are presently engaged in a case study on building relationships with Maori in a sustainable environmental development. Dr Martin and Dr Humphries have developed the notion of a double-hulled waka as a model of relationality and respect for diversity, in collaboration with an indigenous group .
Their academic research and teaching is in Education and Management Studies respectively. Both researchers are involved in 'third sector' research, building partnerships as researchers with community and indigenous groups.

Dr Maria Humphries  (New Zealand)
Associate Professor
Waikato Management School
University of Waikato

Betsan and Maria are educators in the areas of cross cultural research and education, drawing on our various discipilinary areas to combine philosopies of education and of managem ent. The primary interest is in working with indigenous and gender differences towards patterns of mutual respect - but interests span all forms of differnces seeking mutual acknowledgement.

  • Respect-for-difference
  • Cosmic-waka-metaphor
  • Diversity

(60 min Workshop, English)