Kai & Kōrero

Chats about the future of New Zealand

Marielle Hawkes
Aug 14, 2017 · 3 min read

This post has been hard to write. I am writing at a time when white supremacists are marching to promote their hatred of people that are different from them. They are marching to promote ideals that millions upon millions of people died trying to stop. The time for meaningful dialogue seems to have passed there.

We in New Zealand are lucky. We have not lost the opportunity to productively engage with each other about our visions for the country, about shared values and about how we can create positive change.

Last week I brought together five friends and one brave stranger, and we discussed our vision for Aotearoa. We brought different perspectives — some from the North Island, some from the deep South Island, some dual citizens, some new citizens, and one non-citizen (me). But it’s important to acknowledge that we were all well educated, able bodied, employed and pākehā. So you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that all our worldviews were at least relatively liberal.

Kai & Kōrero is set out in three parts — the first about discussing values, the second about visiting typical challenges in NZ society and the third about imaging what the future may look like.

Action Station provided us with a number of ‘kiwi values’ and we had to choose one that each of us thought was most important for New Zealand. The ones we chose were:

- Māramatanga (understanding self and others) x 2

- Manaakitanga (showing hospitality, kindness, respect, generocity and care for others without expecting anything in return)

- Tradition (respect for elders, customs, culture)

- Whakapapa (a sense of belonging, respect for elders, a personal lineage connecting you to who you are)

- Kaitiakitanga (custodianship and guardian — the essence of what it means to express care and responsibility) x 2

These values shaped our discussion for the rest of the evening.

We were challenged to image that our values were at the centre of Government policy making and how that would affect their decisions, a fun activity for a room full of mostly public servants. In the final activity we wrote down our vision for Aotearoa New Zealand in 2040 and shared them with eachother.

I finished the evening with my mind, heart and stomach all full — full of ideas, optimism and so much food.

Kai & Kōrero is great way to bring out meaningful conversation about big important questions and the structure is very easy to follow. There were a few observations that came out from our discussions after the activity. It would have been interesting to have one person designated to play devil’s advocate, actively presenting the a more contrary or conservative view. Like I said before, everyone around the table had fairly similar world views — so there wasn’t much disagreement or challenging of each others ideas on a fundamental level.

There seems to be a biases towards the types of people that would be keen engage in an activity like this — idealist like me, those dedicated to social justice or generally progressive minded people. A really difficult question is: how do we get others, who are completely disengaged, disintersted or disallusioned to participate in these meaningful conversations about the future of the country?

I think the evening reminded us of the possibility to envision a better future but also reafirmed the need to go outside our bubble and engage with those with different viewpoints than our own. With that being said, to finish I would like to share with you one my favourite things that was shared during the evening — a friend of mine wrote:

MY VISION FOR AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND IN 2040

We accept diverse ways of thinking and we live in harmony

Beyond the Ballot

Through Beyond the Ballot I hope to demonstrate that civic…

Beyond the Ballot

Through Beyond the Ballot I hope to demonstrate that civic engagement is accessible and can easy to undertake in your everyday life. It highlights all the different ways that people can shape the direction of their communities and participate in the democratic process.

Marielle Hawkes

Written by

A democracy nerd trying to help make civic engagement part of everyday life.

Beyond the Ballot

Through Beyond the Ballot I hope to demonstrate that civic engagement is accessible and can easy to undertake in your everyday life. It highlights all the different ways that people can shape the direction of their communities and participate in the democratic process.