LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2022

Background conceptual image with social connection lines on dark backdrop


by   Dr. Murray Fletcher

Whakamaua te pae tata kia tina

Take hold of your potential so it becomes your reality.

‘Being’ in leadership -a resurgence of humanity!

As a Leadership Coach I have appreciative inquiry at the centre of my practice. This means regardless of what is happening, and needs to happen, we explore what is working already and what needs celebrating. This seems really important to focus on during these unprecendented and challenging times.

We know that schools/centres are, and need to shift their focus to ensure both today’s and future learners are empowered in their learning. Schools are currently immersed in shifts in the curriculum, with pedagogy, with learning. There is a constant tension in the public domain that wishes to pull education back to what once was ( and what might have worked in a different time).

I use the term courageous to describe leaders who challenge the status quo and lead school teams to grow and sustain pedagogy and practices that look, sound and feel different from the past and, which have outcomes for learners that can be really celebrated.

It seems to be really important in these challenging times for leaders to not only explore what works for them in their context but also to focus on what really matters, for them too.

Leaders make a difference when they keep an eye on the horizon, see the whole and the parts and navigate in a this/and rather than an either/or, way. There is sometimes a temptation to focus on a singular aspect for growth to the detriment of the whole picture.

This requires leaders to be open-mineded, open-hearted and open-willed so as to think through (with others), the possibilities for growth in their context rather merely adopting practices from elsewhere. This is where leaders fully evidence - inform themselves through their viewing, talking with others, and reading rather than being at the mercy of so-called global and social media influencers.

This is where responding rather than reacting comes to the fore, sometimes easier said than accomplished! Reacting is that instinctive, emotional, generally unconsidered, often immediate response as opposed to responsiveness being a considered process where one takes a little more time to reflect on one’s feelings before moving to action.

Meg Wheatley encourages us to see clearly how we can contribute ( to life, to school, to education) in meaningful ways; to discover the work that makes a difference and which contributes meaningfully within our sphere of influence.

What we might consider is, bringing to life, the space in between, between each other, between words, actions, thoughts, between all life forms, all elements, all there is; to consider how to Be in that space.

Taking an indigenous perspective

What if we took on an indigenous perspective as well. What if we embraced several worldviews as we seek to create a humane and sustainable world in a more holistic way that places peoples' wellbeing at the heart? Callaghan (2022) mentions power sharing in a humble and respectful and loving way; with many right ways ; where success is measured by relationships with other people, land, sky and other living things

This edition of Leading Lights reflects on and celebrates the NZEALS Conference 2022 held in the Waikato in September. It was a time of provocation, contemplation, connection and reflection, as we focused on the theme Tūrangawaewae - A place to stand.

We were challenged both as individuals and as organisations, to consider how we create a place to stand for all our ākonga, kaiako and whānau.

Conferences do not organise themselves and we honour and thank those on the ground and in the background, who ensured we had a space to be in together, who guided us, kept us informed and nurtured; a space where connections could be made.

Participants said

“ The conference was the highlight of my year”

“ It was such a fabulous experience with such amazing speakers. I left with my head and heart filled with valuable knowledge”

“This is the best conference I have ever attended. The speakers were relevant to the current education context in N.Z.”

“ The conference was FANTASTIC, the fcus on connection and our place was certainly enhanced throughout the conference”

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Later in this edition we highlight the messages of our conference speakers. Rather than being a smorgasbord of far ranging ideas, they became a progression revealing aspects of theme, each adding their own colour to the theme.

In New Zealand our journey with cultural capability, cultural responsiveness and pedagogy is about understanding, valuing, and amplifying different world views, perspectives, experiences, and measures of success (Ministry of Education).

Those of us in education in New Zealand have a responsibility to locate knowledge that has been marginalised to legitimise this. We also need to be aware of practices that perpetuate discrimination, racism and inequity and explore ways to develop critical consciousness and value and sustain cultural identity.

In education, we should already be aware of, and be making efforts to better enact these considerations. Sometimes we need to be re-awakened to these notions as we seek inclusivity and diversity and realise where we as individuals and the organisations to which we belong, are sitting. This is not being woke, a term often misused thanks to social media. We need to be informed, up- to- date and take action to address inequity and issues in social justice

This is about taking a dual pathway that does not take away or devalue established Western knowledge but recognises and gives space to indigenous ways of knowing alongside; not replacing Western knowledge skills, rather it is exploring and applying Māori approaches to learning.

It is about pākeha, as Tiriti partners, taking responsibility to walk with and alongside mana whenua.

In this issue you will find

  • Highlighting the NZEALS 2022 Conference
    • The shared knowledge- speakers
      • Key points from each speaker
    • The experiences of participants at the conference
    • The learning taken by participants from the experience
      • A conference reflection from Emeritus Professor Ann Briggs
      • A conference reflection by Brigette Towle ( “we won a copier!”)
  • Articles from sessions presented at the conference
    • “Beyond the Magpie” - “Research informed approaches to teaching and leading at Long Bay College”. (James Heneghan and Lauren Wing)
    • Giving effect to relevant student rights (Ced Simpson)
    • Kaupapa Māori principles of leadership ( Dr. Peggy Burrows)
    • Leading in a Time of Crisis: Stories of Resilience from the Field (Dr. Jami Royal Berry and Dr. Karen C. Bryant)


  • The Dreaming Path Indigenous Thinking to change your life ( Paul Callaghan with Uncle Pau Gordon, 2022)
  • Haar, Roche and Brougham (2018) Indigenous Insights into Ethical Leadership: a study of Māori Leaders