Archived Seminars

Education for Survival, Resilience and Continuance: M?tauranga Taiao, M?ori and Indigeneity
Presenter: David McKay
November 29, 4-5pm
Centre for Sustainability,


The literature suggests that philosophies, worldviews and approaches of indigenous cultures may be key to an urgent shift in paradigm towards holistic ethics, attitudes, values and behaviours, essential for an ecologically sustainable future, if not humanity?s survival. This research explores how ?environmental education? (EE) or ?education for sustainability? (EfS) or its M?ori equivalent, is conceptualised, understood and practiced amongst M?ori. It seeks to identify ways in which M?ori and/or other indigenous cultures? perspectives, understandings and practices may contribute to education and learning that facilitate human survival, well-being, ecological sustainability and continuance. Sixteen questions were posed during face-to-face (konahi ki te konahi) interviews with 14 tangata whenua participants, 7 male and 7 female, representative of hapu and iwi throughout Aotearoa-New Zealand. The approach drew upon discourse analysis (Ruiz Ruiz, 2009), followed grounded theory (Glaser & Straus, 1967), and utilised spiralling methodology (Berg, 2007). Results indicate that the ultimate goals of Western perspectives of ?EE? or 'EfS? are the foundation of M?ori learning, worldview, attitudes, values and interactions. An intrinsic, holistic M?ori epistemology for ?EE? emerges. A framework is described for transformative holistic education, with potential to equip people, communities and societies to live together in harmony with the Earth on an ecologically sustainable basis.


About the speaker:

David is a PhD student at the Centre for Sustainability and Te Tumu, School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago. He is a specialist generalist (Orr, 1992) and educator. His academic background spans Environmental Education, Antarctic Studies, Wildlife Conservation Management, Parks, Recreation and Amenity Design, and Education. David?s career in applied education includes formal teaching roles in pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary settings (Lincoln and Otago Universities), as well non-formal roles in environmental education, life-skills and outdoor pursuits. He is an experienced horticulturalist, agriculturalist, professional hunter and guide, wildlife conservation manager, designer, builder, planner, project manager. David's mission is to contribute in a meaningful way to the development of individual and collective awareness, knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and committed planning and actions needed for humankind to live in harmony with the Earth on an ecologically (genuinely) sustainable basis. 

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