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by Tammy Lenski
May 2016

Conflict Zen Blog by Tammy Lenski

Tammy Lenski

Whakawhanaungatanga is a Maori process for establishing relationships. In the following interview I explore the tradition, identity, trust-building, and conflict resolution with New Zealanders Hilary Unwin and Pereri Hathaway.

A few weeks ago I published a post about the value of shared experience for increasing empathy during conflict situations. After I published that post, New Zealand Human Rights Commission mediator Hilary Unwin wrote me about a Maori tradition called whakawhanaungatanga, which is a process for establishing relationships.

Whakawhanaungatanga is a way for Maori to discover connections between themselves and the people they’re talking to. Hilary told me that she uses it in some of her mediation work to establish a mood of trust and openness at the start of a mediation.

The result of that email exchange was a conversation with Hilary and Pereri Hathaway, senior administrator with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. Pereri, who is Maori, helps the Commission work with indigenous peoples in New Zealand and provides support for indigenous peoples there and around the world.

They were kind enough to let me record the interview to share with you here.


Dr. Tammy Lenski helps people resolve conflict in ongoing business and personal relationships and bring their "A" game to difficult conversations. Since founding her NH-based conflict resolution firm Myriaccord LLC in 1997, Tammy has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, and educator. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, she recently received the Association for Conflict Resolution’s prestigious Mary Parker Follett award for innovative and pioneering work in her field. Her second book, The Conflict Pivot, was released in 2014.


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