Pacific relationalities in a critical digital space: the wellington southerlies as a leadership experience
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-17, 21:56 authored by Kabini SangaKabini Sanga, Martyn Reynolds, Adreanne OrmondAdreanne Ormond, P Southon
Understanding, articulating and managing relationality, the state of being related, is a central feature of research, teaching and other people-centred matters in the Pacific. Although various groups in this diverse region, Indigenous and otherwise, bring their own concepts and protocols to relationships, physical, social and spiritual connection are salient. Connection is most visible between people but also extends to other entities, including land. Recent events have accelerated the significance of connections constructed in virtual space, such as through conference calls augmented to facilitate presentation and discussion. This phenomenon, relatively new in Pacific academic practice, re-draws attention to relationality in a novel context. In this article we look at one such initiative through the lens of relational leadership to understand the role of leadership in the deliberate curation of a virtual space. The setting is the inaugural Wellington southerlies virtual tok stori. This event, attended by over 90 students and academics from across the region, is discussed through the experiences of four of the events’ instigators who were also active during the session as co-presenters, chair and Hautohu Matua or advisor. The discussion examines how the experience of Pacific orality affected our (re)framing of leadership in a digital space. Our learning points to ways relationality may be invoked, enabled and shaped by dialogic, relational leadership in virtual spaces so as to mediate limitations and construct new possibilities in a world where technology is fast affecting the ways we gather information and communicate one with another.