E rua taha o te awa: There are two sides to the river… Navigating ‘social justice’ as an indigenous educator in non-indigenous tertiary education


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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education


ISSN: 1178-8690





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VOLUME 30 , ISSUE 1 (June 2015) > List of articles

E rua taha o te awa: There are two sides to the river… Navigating ‘social justice’ as an indigenous educator in non-indigenous tertiary education

David McLeod

Keywords : Māori worldview; cultural diversity; inclusion; teacher preparation; educational leadership; biculturalism

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 30, Issue 1, Pages 17-24, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/jelpp-2015-003

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 21-April-2019



Providing a very different perspective on social justice, this narrative explores and discusses the inherent social justice tensions of being a Māori educator (indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand) within a mainstream nonindigenous higher education institution in New Zealand. Here the social justice tension is not so much about how to help others but how to correlate widely accepted professional standards and practices with competing personal cultural sensitivities and insights. Specifically, this article describes four of my inner tensions as associated with issues around the Treaty of Waitangi, the principle of cultural diversity, the moral purpose of New Zealand education, and the inherent cultural dilemmas within leadership as a Māori educator. A key outcome of this discussion is the perception of tokenism and resistance in the bicultural preparation of our future New Zealand primary school teachers. Hence, this article seeks to provide my Māori worldview perspective for achieving a more socially just New Zealand society by better preparing our future teachers to meet this challenge.

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