The context behind the context: A research education tok stori



education, leadership, Pacific methodology, tok stori, Pacific


In this article we approach three matters through a layered, relational lens. First, we provide research findings about the relationships between Pacific community and school leaders’ understandings of leadership. This is an example of how the kastom and church domains intersect with the institutional domain in Pacific societies. Then we reflexively probe ideas of relationality, distance and closeness in leadership research by considering process. Finally, we show how Indigenous oracies such as tok stori can provide space and opportunity to rethink leadership as the ethical negotiation of positionality tensions. The data for this tri-partite exploration is drawn from a tok stori session within the 2021 OCIES Conference programme. The tok stori fed on research enabled by the Development Leadership Program and funded by DFAT. The contributors to the tok stori included investigators operating in the three Pacific contexts, other members of the research team, and sundry conference participants. The overall findings centre relationships as a key concern of practice, research and discussion of Pacific-origin ideas of leadership. All three are people-centred activities where the relational context behind the context is ignored at one’s peril.


Author Biographies

Kabini Sanga, VUW

Assoc Prof

Martyn Reynolds, Victoria University of Wellington University of the South Pacific

Pacific Research Post Doctoral Fellow,  Victoria University of Wellington

Teaching Fellow, USP

David Fa'avae

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