11th Jul 2016, 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Working for social equity and genuine engagement with Indigenous peoples in higher education organisations: A Pākehā insider’s view

Presented by Associate Professor Richard Smith, School of Indigenous Graduate Studies, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatāne, Aotearoa/New Zealand

How does one engage in meaningful and substantive ways with one’s Indigenous communities in higher education? What are the roles and responsibilities of higher education leaders and academic staff? How do we ensure that social equity occurs for both our Indigenous students and our colleagues? What are our obligations and accountabilities in higher education to the people of the land which we inhabit as the Caucasian colonisers and the majority population? Are the current arrangements sufficient, or purely cosmetic? Do our lofty higher education Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP’s) actually work for Indigenous peoples, or are we ticking an accountability box to make ourselves feel like genuine progress is being made in terms of social equity and restitutions? These deep philosophical questions are presented here to be unpacked and discussed as part of this workshop/seminar.

This presentation outlines the nature of protocols and considerations which higher education agencies and their leaders should practice with respect to working with Indigenous peoples. In the case of Aotearoa, biculturalism is embedded within a multi-cultural landscape, but in Australia, as you will all know, there are many, many Aboriginal peoples. Most are linguistically, culturally and geographically diverse in many ways. Hence, the Aotearoa New Zealand Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) provisions which enshrine and mandate partnership, participation and protection (which includes access to higher education) is not readily replicable in Australia. There are, nevertheless, important lessons which might be learnt by tertiary leaders and university teachers. This seminar shares key considerations I have discovered with respect to encouraging affirmative leadership within higher education. I provide an ‘insider’s’ view of being a Pākehā academic working in an Indigenous Māori higher education institution.

Watch the video of this seminar:




Dr Richard Smith is an Associate Professor in the School of Indigenous Graduate Studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne where he has worked since July 2013. Prior to this he was employed in the Work, Learning and Leadership area of the Faculty of Education at Monash University in Australia. Richard has formerly taught in universities and higher education institutions in Singapore (The National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University) and at the Universities of Canterbury and AUT and also Unitec, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has participated in consultancies in for the Ministry of Education in New Zealand and also the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Richard conducts research on educational leadership, educational policy, adult education and the sociology of higher education and academic identities. He has conducted research in collaboration with educational leaders (in schools) and also been involved in a trans-national study with colleagues in New Zealand and Australia. In 2010, Richard was made a Fellow of the New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society (NZEALS). He has been on the national councils of two national professional organisations in Aotearoa (NZEALS and NZARE, and was a former Vice President of NZARE), and is currently back on the NZARE Council (2013 onwards). Richard also sits on the editorial boards of a number of international and nationally-based journals and regularly reviews for these and others and acts as a referee for national and international conferences and journals. In 2005 he co-edited a book with Dr Joce Jesson called Punishing the discipline - the PBRF regime: Evaluating the position of education - where to from here?


Event Details
Staff Only Event open only to UNSW Staff
50 Seats available


Room 1025, Level 10, Library (back entrance)

Key Contact
Christina Kingen