A quick catch-up: All our Conversations That Count so far

With the Conversations That Count – Ngā Kōrero Whai Take podcast midway through its second season, take some time to get acquainted with its engrossing back catalogue.

Launched in mid-2020, as a partnership between Massey University and The Spinoff, Conversations That Count – Ngā Kōrero Whai Take has covered substantial informational ground over the past year. Designed to offer useful, digestible introductions and insight into some of the more pertinent issues facing Aotearoa and te ao whānui, the series has seen host Stacey Morrison joined by Massey academics and independent subject matter experts for engaging kōrero on everything from equity in education to inclusivity in language.

With the series now in its second season – and the third episode of this year to be released soon – we felt it was an ideal time to offer a primer on what we’ve covered so far. Read on for primers on the kōrero so far, and click here to subscribe on Spotify or here on Apple Podcasts.

Equity vs equality

For our first episode, Stacey was joined by Massey University professor Christoph Schumacher and The Spinoff’s local democracy reporter Justin Latif to discuss the differences between social equality and social equity, which of the two we should be trying to achieve, and how education can help us get there. From government interventions and reshaped curriculums to kaupapa Māori educational approaches, this thoughtful kōrero suggests a range of potential solutions to one of our largest and most important societal challenges.

The cannabis question

In this second episode, recorded in the lead-up to 2020’s general election and the cannabis legalisation referendum, guest host Leonie Hayden was joined by Massey University associate professor Chris Wilkins and Selah Hart, CEO of Hāpai te Hauora. Together they took a deep dive into the detail of the referendum, covering not only the particulars of what we were being asked to vote on, but also the way that our current medicinal and recreational cannabis laws function – looking at legal, social and health perspectives.

What motivates misinformation?

As misinfo and disinfo raged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lead-up to the American elections, Massey professor Richard Shaw was joined by academic researcher and science communication specialist Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw. Their kōrero spanned everything from the surprising history of misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa to how we as individuals can act in stopping its spread, and remains a potent blueprint for navigating and combatting this still extremely relevant issue.

How can mātauranga Māori shape our future?

On this episode, Stacey was joined by Massey University professor Dr Krushil Watene and Alex Hawea of Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative for a warm, wide-ranging and insightful discussion about how Aotearoa could (and should) look to mātauranga Māori for guidance going forward. We’ve made great strides towards biculturalism over the last few decades, but does the change we’ve seen really represent a genuine incorporation of principles, or are we still looking at something closer to glorified lip service? And what can the modern workplace learn from the marae kitchen? The fourth episode of our series sought to find out.

Rewriting our approach to mental health

In the final episode of our first season, Massey’s Dr Kirsty Ross and writer and award-winning journalist Jehan Casinader joined us to discuss and dissect the way that Aotearoa talks about mental wellbeing – it goes without saying that New Zealand’s approach to mental health has evolved significantly over the past few decades, but have we yet moved far enough? This episode takes a deep dive into mental health in this country, looking at where the system’s succeeding, where it’s failing, and what we could collectively gain from refocusing our efforts.

What does an inclusive language sound like?

For the show’s 2021 return, the first episode of our second season saw Stacey joined by Julia de Bres (senior lecturer in linguistics, Massey University) and Te Ahi Wi-Hongi (Gender Minorities Aotearoa), for a thoughtful and sensitive kōrero about the role that our language can play in fostering a more inclusive society. The three discussed shifting attitudes towards inclusivity, how a more thoughtful approach could help us move past colonial ideals, and whether they believe the future of our language is in good hands.

Can local knowledge lead our climate action?

In the show’s most recent episode, Stacey was joined by Dr Libby Liggins (senior lecturer in ecology, Massey University) and Kera Sherwood O’Regan for a kōrero around climate change. Together the three discussed how climate change is affecting our oceans, and how better incorporating local and indigenous perspectives can help us to mitigate its impacts today, tomorrow and deep into the future.

To stay up to date with Conversations That Count – Ngā Kōrero Whai Take, subscribe now via Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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