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Democracy meets rangatiratanga: Playcentre's bicultural journey 1989‐2011

Democracy meets rangatiratanga: Playcentre's bicultural journey 1989‐2011 Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to trace the implementation of biculturalism in the New Zealand Playcentre Federation between 1989, when a public commitment to The Treaty of Waitangi was made, and 2011, when Tiriti‐based co‐presidents were elected. Design/methodology/approach – The data were drawn from the Playcentre Journal and papers from Playcentre National meetings, as well as from the author's experience as a Pākehā participating in Playcentre. The events are analysed using democratic theory. Findings – Despite a willingness to encompass biculturalism, the processes of democracy as originally enacted by Playcentre hindered changes that allowed meaningful rangatiratanga (self‐determination) by the Māori people within Playcentre. The factors that enabled rangatiratanga to gain acceptance were: changing to consensus decision making, allowing sub groups control over some decisions, and the adult education programme. These changes were made only after periods of open conflict. The structural changes that occurred in 2011 were the result of two decades of persistence and experimentation to find a way of honouring Te Tiriti within a democratic organisation. Social implications – The findings suggest that cultural pluralism within a liberal democratic organisation is best supported with an agonistic approach, where an underlying consensus of world view is not assumed but instead relies on a commitment by the different cultures to retaining the political association within the structure of the organisation. Originality/value – Many organisations in New Zealand, especially in education, struggle to implement biculturalism, and the findings of this study could be useful for informing policy in such organisations. This history of Playcentre continues from where previous histories finished. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Democracy meets rangatiratanga: Playcentre's bicultural journey 1989‐2011

History of Education Review , Volume 43 (1): 15 – May 27, 2014

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/HER-10-2012-0033
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to trace the implementation of biculturalism in the New Zealand Playcentre Federation between 1989, when a public commitment to The Treaty of Waitangi was made, and 2011, when Tiriti‐based co‐presidents were elected. Design/methodology/approach – The data were drawn from the Playcentre Journal and papers from Playcentre National meetings, as well as from the author's experience as a Pākehā participating in Playcentre. The events are analysed using democratic theory. Findings – Despite a willingness to encompass biculturalism, the processes of democracy as originally enacted by Playcentre hindered changes that allowed meaningful rangatiratanga (self‐determination) by the Māori people within Playcentre. The factors that enabled rangatiratanga to gain acceptance were: changing to consensus decision making, allowing sub groups control over some decisions, and the adult education programme. These changes were made only after periods of open conflict. The structural changes that occurred in 2011 were the result of two decades of persistence and experimentation to find a way of honouring Te Tiriti within a democratic organisation. Social implications – The findings suggest that cultural pluralism within a liberal democratic organisation is best supported with an agonistic approach, where an underlying consensus of world view is not assumed but instead relies on a commitment by the different cultures to retaining the political association within the structure of the organisation. Originality/value – Many organisations in New Zealand, especially in education, struggle to implement biculturalism, and the findings of this study could be useful for informing policy in such organisations. This history of Playcentre continues from where previous histories finished.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: May 27, 2014

Keywords: Education; New Zealand; Democracy; Biculturalism; Agonistic democracy; Aotearoa; Playcentre; Treaty of Waitangi

References