What's in my kete? : An exploration of women and leadership in not-for-profit organisations in Aotearoa/New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education (Adult Education) at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This thesis listens to, and learns from, the perspectives of five women in leadership roles of not-­‐for-­‐profit organisations in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The key objective of this research was to examine the essence of leadership for these women. This qualitative study adopted an integrated research approach, which wove together Māori and Pākehā understandings of research, knowledge, and symbols. It privileged indigenous ways of knowing by centring the research on the concepts of the kete – as a material metaphor and a way of communicating Māori ways of knowing – and kōrero, which is meaningful conversation together with others, from which to gather data. The key question asked was “What is in your kete?” which asked what they brought with them to their understanding and role of leadership, and what continued to shape and sustain them as leaders. Participants were invited to reflect on the research question, over the period of a month, collecting material symbolic items in a kete if they desired, and then the five participants gathered for kōrero or focused group conversations – two participants in one kōrero and three participants in another, with myself as a facilitator. From this dual method qualitative research approach, three key themes emerged. The first theme was that the participants have a whole personal community in their kete, which has not only influenced the leader in the past, but continues to have an ongoing significance in shaping the heart of leadership for these women. The second theme, determined that there is a clear sense of purpose that is foundational to their work in the not-­‐for-­‐profit sector and that there are a whole web of beliefs that underpin the way these women understand their leadership. The final theme that emerged is the realisation that there is power in their kete.
Women in leadership, Non-profit organisations, New Zealand