10 Questions with the editors of Tū Rangaranga


Q1: What is the meaning of Tū Rangaranga and what impact did that have on how the book was written?

In 2017 we (Rand Hazou, Margaret Forster and Sharon McLennan) were tasked with designing and delivering Tū Rangaranga: Global Encounters, a new compulsory course on global citizenship that was to be offered to students as part of Massey University’s redesigned Bachelor of Arts.  The name of the course, Tū Rangaranga, means ‘to weave together’ or establish connections, and the course explores citizenship from a global perspective with a particular focus on rights and responsibilities. Guided by Margaret Forster (Rongomaiwāhine, Ngāti Kahungunu) and working in consultation with Māori staff, the course design demonstrated a commitment to Māori perspectives and the integration of Māori knowledge into the curriculum. This is reflected in the name, the incorporation of a whakataukī (proverb), the use of the harakeke as a central design metaphor, and the ‘weaving’ together of indigenous and western epistemologies in the course content. It was important to us that this commitment be reflected in the book, and this can be seen in the harakeke structure, the inclusion of the Iho Atua, and the weaving of Māori content into chapters throughout the book.


Q2: How do you define global citizenship?

This is a great question. The book has over 30 different authors so there are a range of approaches to the concept of global citizenship. As editors we wanted to keep in mind that this is a very contested term and one which can be understood and used in ways that deepen historical injustices and inequities. In Western philosophy the idea of citizenship began as a series of privileges and responsibilities to the City State in Ancient Greece and then changed to reflect a series of rights and responsibilities to the Nation State. Given the increasing movement of people, ideas, culture and capital across borders, our provocation to students and readers is that perhaps our conception of citizenship needs to change in response to globalisation and the need to decolonise the ways in which we think about and practise citizenship. We use the term to encapsulate the identities, rights and responsibilities held by individuals and collectives on a global scale.


Q3: What will students get from this book?

Students will get a broad, but critical perspective on what global citizenship means in the context of contemporary Aotearoa. In addition to engaging with and untangling some of the big global issues we face, students and readers will get to ‘hear’ from a range of voices and perhaps start to see the world and the challenges we face through new eyes. We hope students and readers start to get a sense of how they fit in to global and local responses to the big challenges we face, and finish reading this book with a sense of hope through global connection and manaaki.


Q4: Are there more global issues now than before?

We are not sure that there are necessarily more global issues – clearly poverty and conflict are long-standing problems. The big change is that the greater interconnectedness of our world, and the many ways in which those interconnections manifest, have made global issues more visible (and, perhaps, less easy to ignore). You’d have to work very hard to not be aware of climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic — constantly ‘seeing’ issues makes them seem more real and more pressing.


Q5: Do you get the sense that your students operate at a global level?

We find that students are definitely globally connected, and have global outlooks in their everyday lives through social media and online spaces. However, they can feel quite baffled, and even hesitant about deeply engaging with the big global challenges. They may struggle to understand the roots of the problem or are unsure what information to trust. We think this course and the book provide a good opportunity to pause and think critically about the global context, to 'untangle' and think through the big issues — and build greater understanding and more of a sense of empowerment and hope.


Q6: As with the other books in this series, there is a great team of writers over a range of disciplines.

We are excited to have a range of perspectives and disciplines. The course and the book have been designed and taught privileging the notion of inclusion so having this range of voices was very important. We particularly wanted to privilege indigenous, non-white and female authors and voices. We also wanted to provide an opportunity for new and emerging academics, and many of the chapters are co-authored by our tutors and PhD students. Securing this range of voices was a challenge — sometimes it was difficult to find the right person or team, sometimes the person we wanted was too busy to write to our tight deadlines. We also had to balance this with the need to include established scholars who had made significant contributions to the course, and to have representation from across the College of Humanities and Social Science disciplines. While it would have been great to have even more diversity, I (Sharon) think we have achieved our aim and am very proud of the team of fantastic scholars and writers who contributed to the book.


Q7: The book includes some great case studies. What did you look for when choosing these?

We looked for cases studies that humanised and personalised the big issues – powerful stories that communicated urgency and, we think, hope. We looked for cases studies from across the globe. So alongside plenty of examples from Aotearoa, we have stories from Kiribati to Cochabamba, with an emphasis on indigenous experiences and creative responses to global challenges.


Q8: Was there anything that illuminated a particular aspect of global citizenship for you?

One thing that has come through strongly is the idea of global connectedness — that every case or issue we cover in the book has a ‘Kiwi’ connection. Sometimes the stories we see on the news or in our social media seem very distant — the war in Ukraine, flooded villages in Fiji, the wall separating Palestine and Israel. But we in Aotearoa are connected to all of these in myriad ways, from government level cooperation to the products we use on a daily basis. There has never been a more important time to pause and consider what these connections mean in terms of rights and responsibilities.


Q9: The book covers three main areas – climate change, conflict and poverty and inequality – were these obvious choices or are there other angles on global citizenship?

There are definitely many more angles on global citizenship! But these three main areas helped us to cover broadly the framework we set for global citizenship, in terms of environmental, socio/political and socio/economic spheres. Keeping that broad framework has enabled us to incorporate that great range of case studies, but also to focus on developing issues — like Ukraine currently — as they arise.


Q10: What are you reading/listening to/watching at the moment?

Teaching and writing about such heavy and complex issues as climate change, conflict, and poverty and inequality mean that I (Sharon) tend to lean towards lighter material to relax. Lately I have been watching and re-watching a few shows with my teen — Bridgerton, Schitt’s Creek, The
Umbrella Academy, and Our Flag Means Death. These are shows that deal with diversity in a creative way and yet are also just pure escapism.