Breakout Session 6 - 17th September at 2:00 - 2:40

Leadership Best Practice: The Nomad’s Journey

Presenter/s: Peggy Burrows
Type: Leadership story
Keywords: Equity, Disparities, Leadership, Indigenous Learners, Māori, Kaupapa
Room: Tautoru


As an educational leader in Aotearoa/New Zealand I have always been interested in the impact leadership, and the leadership decisions we make, have on the educational outcomes of the students we teach. My PhD research explored the impact of colonisation on indigenous Māori students within the Aotearoa/New Zealand education system. Of interest to me was the possibility that Kaupapa Māori principles of leadership, rather than Western-centric approaches, could mitigate the disparities that exist and have existed for Māori learners for over 100 years. Having completed my PhD in 2018 I made the decision to return to principalship to test my theories and interrogate my leadership practice. I had described myself as a Research Nomad and decided I wanted to continue my learning journey in the “real world of praxis.” I wanted to explore the new education landscape that had emerged from my work. Armed with new theory and thinking I was determined to put my theories into practice and to interrogate my findings. My challenge was to lead Haeata Community Campus using a te ao Māori /Māori world view framework, with a commitment to mātauranga Māori/Māori knowledge and kaupapa Māori principles of leadership as the default setting for principal leadership.

This paper explores a practitioner researcher’s approach to discovering new knowledge and then boldly interrogating, testing and applying new theories that challenge our thinking around equity. As a Research Nomad I did not want my PhD thesis to languish on a dusty shelf in a university library, I wanted it to be a living document, accessible to all and constantly evolving. This paper breaths life into theory.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. Frost (1915)


Peggy Burrows

Peggy Burrows has been an educator for over forty years and has taught new entrants to tertiary. She currently leads Haeata Community Campus, a large modern learning environment located in East Christchurch. Peggy is the current President of the Christchurch Business Club and is the Managing Director of Burrows Harness Racing Stables, a family business she owns in partnership with her husband, public trainer Donald Burrows. Peggy is an AMINZ Associate and has over three decades of governance, mediation and leadership experience at senior levels in Education, Law, Conservation and Animal Welfare. Peggy brings a professional clarity to her work in business, education, disputes resolution, mediation, advocacy and adjudication. Most importantly she is a leader who always acts with integrity, compassion and kindness. Peggy always puts people at the centre of everything she does. She has dedicated her life to service before self and affirms that all she has achieved has been for her whānau and her community.