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Waitangi Associates 

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Comments from Workshop Participants

All workshop participants are asked to complete an evaluation form. The questions asked in the workshop evaluation are:

  • ‘What I learnt in the workshop is’
  • ‘What I still need to learn more about is’
  • ‘My overall feelings about the workshop are’
  • ‘If I were asked by a close friend how I saw this workshop I would say’
Key themes identified from the responses to these questions and the individual comments referred to here capture the essence of what many other participants are saying. They confirm what Treaty workshops are aiming to achieve.

Treaty Workshops: enjoyable, positive, safe and participatory

  • ‘Very good indeed. Relaxed, non-threatening. Good opportunities for participation without fear of being ‘shot down’. The number of laughs we had surprised and pleased me.’
  • ‘Very informative ... and balanced. I enjoyed it and liked the chance to debate the issues without feeling Pakeha guilt.’
  • ‘My past experiences of Treaty workshops (early ‘80s) was confrontational, unpleasant for everyone Maori and non-Maori. This was like a breath of fresh air.’
  • ‘I enjoyed the level of input, positive but realistic. No pious notions or prescriptions for solutions.’

Currency of knowledge, credibility of sources, tools and techniques used by facilitator makes information accessible

  • ‘Excellent, worthwhile, very well facilitated. Wealth of knowledge, expertise in facilitating "workshop".’
  • ‘The open approach with a mixture of participatory techniques is ideal.’
  • ‘All was explained in a language I could understand! With so many aids to help, like videos.’
  • ‘Role playing aids in increasing awareness of the "other side’s" point of view.’

The impact of understanding the Treaty of Waitangi

  • I never knew how greatly the Maori translation [of the Treaty of Waitangi] differed from the English version, especially with respect to sovereignty verses Governance.’
  • ‘That issues relating to the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori-Pakeha relations are far more complex than I had previously realized. I now have some appreciation of the historical perspective and also of the issues of today and the importance these have for New Zealand’s future.’
  • ‘A more balanced view of the events surrounding the Treaty, more details which put the Maori claims into perspective.’
  • ‘An opportunity to begin to understand what the Treaty means to us all as individuals and as a nation.’
  • ‘Essential to all New Zealanders if we are to explore and come to grips with Treaty issues and living in this land.’

Why didn’t we learn this at school?

  • ‘That the issues were a lot more complicated than I had presumed. That my education, at least at primary and secondary level was woefully inadequate regarding New Zealand history and its implications.’
  • ‘I learned many facts about New Zealand history that I didn’t learn in school. This information is critical to enable understanding of Maori/Pakeha issues in NZ today, especially Treaty issues and to gain a perspective on changes happening in law, health and education.’
  • I realized: ‘How little of the early history of colonization I knew and how much I want to revisit my "early history" - lessons this time with the truth.’
  • ‘I have finally had an opportunity to learn the stuff I should’ve been taught about in school – and without the negative stuff that has often been associated with Pakeha learning about our racist structures - i.e. personal challenges and anger.’

Treaty workshops facilitate changing attitudes

  • I learned ‘to appreciate what actually happened from when the European settlers first arrived in New Zealand. Prior to the workshop my opinions on the Treaty were influenced by my parents/peers/and media coverage on current events. I now realize how ignorant I was of the history behind it all, and the reasons for Maori people seeking ‘justice’ today.’
  • ‘The workshop was great. I would like to see all staff completing it. The more that we have an understanding, the easier it is to accept and implement any change/and or to promote change.’
  • ‘It was a valuable exercise in consciousness raising - thought provoking and ideas changing.’
  • ‘This workshop should be compulsory for every New Zealander. It changed the way I thought about relationships between Maori and Pakeha and [the] Treaty of Waitangi itself.’
  • ‘It is a ‘must’ for every New Zealander. We have been ignorant for too long.’

Appreciate being able to hold different views

  • ‘Excellent workshop. Open to all views and allows people to look at and address their own views and issues.’
  • ‘Appreciated no coercion and letting us move at our own pace. Appreciated an atmosphere in which it was easy to honestly address the issues.’
  • An ‘opportunity to think, evaluate and check out my own knowledge base ... in a very non-judgmen tal ... way.’
  • ‘The way the workshop is structured (via open debate over issues) is very stimulating and I found the two days quite enthralling.’

Empowered to speak and actively work towards change

  • ‘I’m very pleased to have participated in this workshop. I feel more confident to speak to others about these matters raised.’
  • ‘This will definitely be an issue, which I follow with greater interest and confidence. I feel I can now contribute to discussion about the future of this country.’
  • ‘The workshop was very valuable, empowering and worthwhile. I would recommend that everyone participates for the betterment of Pakeha knowledge on a thing that they fear so much and then maybe we can get some action.’
  • ‘One of the most valuable things I have ever done. The methods used to make many concepts clear were the most successful I have ever experienced. I feel it has led me to a new and clearer understanding and enthusiasm to do something about the situation rather than apathy.’
  • ‘A rekindled energy to work for change in myself and those closest to me in the hope that more Pakeha will choose to share responsibility for the injustices of the past and seek greater justice in the future.’

Self-growth: Evaluate personal beliefs, attitudes and values

  • ‘The material I have covered in other workshops, but for me, what was new (and significant) was thinking about my own ancestors and journey. That added a new dimension to my approach and clarified some issues for me personally.’
  • ‘This was a wonderful opportunity for self realization and development and awareness…I truly valued the opportunity to work with colleagues I normally wouldn’t interact with at this level.’
  • ‘I gained personally as I now have a greater understanding and respect of being aware of values and needs of others and that they don’t have to fit into my Pakeha perspective of life.’
  • ‘It challenged and inspired me to continue my ‘journey’ and keep examining my thoughts and knowledge.’

Attend a Treaty workshop!

  • ‘I would recommend their attendance - I was here somewhat reluctantly on the basis "I should attend" - now I would say "I want to attend".’
  • ‘Grab your chance. You will value it. Wonderful impartial way of presenting it. It was fun.’
  • ‘Excellent. If you get the opportunity to attend the workshop - go - you won’t regret it.’
  • ‘Great, go do it, and really discover what is happening in this country and why it is happening.’
  • ‘Enlightening, educational. Extremely well presented. Attend one yourself.’
  • ‘Do a Treaty workshop - no matter what your profession is - it is fundamental all New Zealanders learn their history.’

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Waitangi Associates 

Waitangi Associates