LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2022

Man and woman head silhouettes with colourful gear wheels flying around

Conference 2022: Participants’ experiences

Conveying the feeling of the conference experience

Conference reflection   

Conveying the feeling of the conference experience

  • The conference was intentionally developed with
    • Tūrangawaewae : A place to stand as the theme to be explored
    • Tamariki from the local Kura with the Mihi whakatau
    • Speakers with a cross -sector relevance
    • Kōrero time in cross sector groups
    • Dinner and restaurant time to talk and meet together
    • Youth music to begin the day
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Participants said:

“Really enjoyed the experience and knowledge of the people who attended- thought there was a great feel in the room”

“ I enjoyed the smaller numbers. I did not feel rushed and talked to many people there. Sometimes conferences can be large and feel a bit disconnected”

“The selection of breakout speakers was astounding; there wasn’t one speaker that I didn’t get something from”

“The conference was amazing. I loved the mix of speakers, break out sessions and chance to korero with others”

“ A superb, boutique experience”

Participants commented on the space to be together and meeting together as a family and in a community of collaboration. Manaakitanga was a feature with the welcome of the registration team creating a place of welcome. This meant that creating relationships and making connections mattered and that both the head and the heart were addressed.

People commented on enjoying the korero groups as a time to talk together. These were carefully crafted groups to ensure a range of sectors were present in the mix of people. Having early years, primary, secondary, tertiary, national and international participants made this a unique and valuable experience.

It was recognised that Te Ao Māori was at the forefront as we were immersed and challenged to grow our cultural understanding and competencies.

Participants who were able to come as centre/school teams really appreciated this time together.
The theme tūrangawaewae was seen as being carefully woven through the conference with each speaker. Speakers were seen to provoke and confront with their messages, share their passion, and create deep thinking. People, who may have heard some of the speakers previously commented on the benefit of hearing the next iteration of thinking by the speaker.

Participants commented on being challenged and confronted by what was presented: being critically conscious and developing culturally sustaining practice, were key messages.

Participants commented on there needing to be a rethink and a redefining of our education system, with a deep understanding of the legacy of prejudice and racism inherent in our society and the need for a decolonisation and deliberate emphasis on transformative practices. This may mean stepping to one side so Māori lead as Māori.

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