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- Polynesia - New Zealand
In June, 2006 I returned to Aotearoa New Zealand after being away for six-and-a-half years to participate in master's thesis research. Although I had previously walked this land as visitor, friend, and part of extended family now all my relationships were significantly challenged. Who is the researcher and the researched? What is knowledge and who is responsible for its care-who 'owns' it? How could I be sensitive to the needs of the community and the academy? Was it even possible for a non-Maori 'researcher' to function in an academic role in this land? The hope of finding a place of balance ... between learning and knowledge, between community and self, between unity and separation, and the need for respecting and honoring the entire process has driven this multidimensional inquiry into culture, nature, and spirituality-exploring natural, organic relationships with self and other. In some ways I consider Aotearoa New Zealand to be a second home, more home than home. I had no idea what to expect. An online news article implored its readers to constantly imagine the impossible-to imagine the possibilities in dreaming the impossible (Solnit, 2004). In the lore of this island, Aotearoa New Zealand, it is said that the only story you can tell is your own and all else is held as a confidence.