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Charlotte Forster (4893416)

EDPROF741: An Examination of School A and B Communities through

Image One: Cultural Status Conflict in the Onehunga Community

The image above was obtained at the Onehunga Train Station, positioned at the corner of Onehunga Mall and Princes

The scene pictured above represents an attempt to recognise the diverse, multi-ethnic population of
present-day Onehunga,1 which, in actuality, constructs the Onehunga Community Space (the Space)
as a site of conflict between the Mori national ethnic minority, and immigrant ethnic minorities 2
(Kymlicka, 1989; Kymlicka, 1995).
The panels pictured above are installed as part of an exhibition which seeks to celebrate the
transportation history and present-day community of Onehunga. The panels situated to the left
narrativise the Mori exclusive occupation of the area, and the panels pictured centrally identify the
input of Pkeha settlers in developing the areas transportation and infrastructural capacities. The final

1 For a graphical representation of the ethnic diversity of the Onehunga Community, see
Appendix One.
2 All ethnic minorities that are not Mori (which include, for instance, Asian and Pasifika
ethnic groups).

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panel3 celebrates the present-day population of the Space; all quotes and images used depict Mori
and Pkeha residents of the space, barring one comment from a recent immigrant of Irish origin and
one image of a couple resident in the space (whose ethnicity is identified as Indian).
The consequentially established mosaic of the Onehunga Community almost singularly represents
only two ethnic identities. In this sense, the Space is positioned as bicultural, rather than multicultural.
The presumption implicit to this positioning is that either: such systems cannot co-exist, or that the
latter is merely considered undesirable.
For immigrant ethnic minorities, this positioning establishes a power relationship in which they are
subordinate to the Communitys dominant cultures. The Space symbolically carves out the area in
which they are permitted to manoeuvre (Huisjer, 2004, p. 396) they are deprived of a voice to claim
recognition for the force of their historical contributions to shaping the face of the Space, and their
voices are almost entirely maligned with regards to the imagining of the identity and future of the
Space (Thakur, 1995, pp. 271-272). As such, historically and presently, they are positioned as
secondary or additional to an existing cultural structure in the area (Bhabba, 1990, p. 305); the
implicit suggestion is that it is assimilation only that will grant their full community membership
(Huisjer, 2004, p. 397).
This construction is relevant to both the educational context and the community in that it replicates a
conflict that has pervaded both spaces historically. Multicultural models of education and governance,
for instance, have never been actively pursued in New Zealand due to the perception that such policies
would undermine or subvert prior bicultural commitments to Mori education or self-governance
(Irwin, 1989; Simon, 1989). The present-day significance of this conflict is still felt, since it leads to
disadvantages for both the Mori national minority and immigrant ethnic minority.
For the latter, the positing of bicultural models (to the exclusion of multicultural models)
problematizes their ability to meaningfully participate in the educational or wider community. The
perception of immigrant minority students that their culture or social position is lesser discourages
their contribution to collaborative classroom experiences, and thereby suppresses their chances of
academic success (Chu & Kim, 1999; Howard, Zoeller, & Pratt, 2006). In the wider community, the
task of assimilation to the dominant culture can leave immigrant ethnic minorities with a profound
sense of alienation, as they experience a fracture from their culture of origin, and struggle to perfectly
assimilate to another4 (Mao & Sundell, 2014, p. 16).

3 Not pictured.

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Further, the positioning of the national ethnic minority and immigrant ethnic minority in conflict
distracts the mobilisation of combined resources against the dominant cultural hegemony. Where
bicultural and multicultural models are situated as alternatives to (or preferentially against) one
another, the national and immigrant minorities necessarily conflict, since it appears that the
provision of rights and freedoms of the former has dictated marginalisation of the latter (Huisjer,
2004, p. 398). This conflict distracts both minorities from the realisation of their common, and more
important, mission the alleviation of Eurocentrism in the educational and broader community and
the dismantling of the ongoing hegemonic dominance of the Pkeha culture (Huisjer, 2004, p. 399).
This impact is significant for both minorities, since it is the dominant cultural hegemony that, in fact,
results in educational and societal disadvantage for both such groups (Sullivan, 1994, p. 192).

Image Two: Multiple, Conflicting and Intersecting Identities in Onehunga Mall

The image
above was
obtained at 184 Onehunga Mall in the central strip of the Onehunga Retail Area. The small red text in the right image
reads: A quiet space to refresh yourself through music, word and silence.

The sign pictured above attempts to recognise three diversities that exist across the Onehunga
Community. First, the particularisation of the Church Space as Anglican implicitly recognises a

4 The majority of immigrant cultural minorities find that their ethnic identity precludes
their full assimilation to the dominant culture, since they are never immediately recognised as
members of that culture (Tafarodi, Kang & Milne, 2002, p. 1131).

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diversity of Christian denominational faiths across the community (see Appendix Two).5 Secondly,
the signs proffered Stillpoint session a service described in terminology seemingly deliberately
unloaded of Christian association acknowledges a diversity of faith across the community (in the
existence of irreligious [Nachowitz, 2007, p. 23] or secularised [Vaccarino, Kavan & Gendall, 2011,
p. 87] community members) and demonstrates respect for that contingent in providing a secular use of
Church space. Finally, the signs welcome to all coupled with the use of the rainbow flag 6 represents
an acknowledgment of the diverse sexual orientations and gender identities across the Onehunga
The image is relevant to both the educational context and the broader community in that it
microcosmically represents the potential for diversity conflicts (in which the value systems of two
groups intersect and are perceived to be incompatible with one another [Brown, 1983, pp. 4-5]) in
educational (Marin, 2000; Siandius et al., 2008) wider communities (Jehn, 1997, p. 92), and their
associated negative consequences, as well as the complexities of their resolution.
In providing an explicit invitation to members of the LGBTQA community into its space, the sign
implicitly recognises a diversity conflict that exists in its community between Christian-affiliated
and LGBTQA members, wherein LGBTQA values and lifestyles are posited as incompatible with
Christian ideologies (Benson, 2004; Levant, 2014). The existence of this conflict is significant for the
community as a whole: diversity conflict can result in the psychological, political or economic
injuring of either (or both groups), and consequently lessen the willingness of communities to act
together towards collective needs and goals (Jonas, 2007).
However, the sign also models the difficulties attendant in the resolution of diversity conflicts. The
sign attempts to resolve conflict by positing the Churchs space as a framework for practicing
inclusivity thereby propagating inclusion as the political salve for diversity conflict (Yip, 2002, p.
201). Yet, inclusion, in the signs terms, is problematic. By pronouncing LGBTQA community
members as welcome to the Church, the sign positions the LGBTQA group as acceptable (to the
broader community) by their attachment to Christian identities (in having Gods approval) rather

5 In recognising that Church is not a sufficiently descriptive term to demarcate the religious
practices of the site, the sign thereby concedes that ownership of the term Church is shared
across all Christian denominational spaces, of which there is a diverse range.
6 A symbol popularly and acknowledged to be associated with the
LesbianGayBixexualTransgenderQueerAsexualAlly community (Zorthian, 2015).
7 This diversity is presumed, rather than known figures which would particularise the
prevalence of this community in the Onehunga area are not available since Statistics New
Zealand has historically opted to, and continues to recommend, that Census Questionnaires
not request data from New Zealanders on this point (Saxton, 2015, p. 1).

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than by virtue of the inherent validity and value of the diversity they embody (Vaid, 1995, p. 245;
Warner, 1999, p. 164). In this sense, the voice of the LGBTQA group is marginalised in the discourse
regarding their own rights and freedoms, and a discourse as to the true value of LGBTQA diversity in
the community is precluded (McQueeney, 2009, p.170; Schwalbe & Mason-Schrock, 1996, p. 141).
Given that inclusion is often posited as the solution to diversity issues, in the classroom and wider
community, this image gives pause and compels actors in both communities to give further
consideration to complexities of its provision.

Image Three: Linguistic Diversity in the Epsom Community

The image above pictures the shopfronts of a restaurant and gift shop situated at 241 Ranfurly Road, Epsom. Both
shopfronts utilise Chinese Hanzi to frame their English signs. It is understood by this author that these Hanzi are
translations (albeit with inflated meaning) of the English signage. [Note that this fact is understood from queries, rather
than the authors own personal knowledge].

The image above is but one representation of the significant linguistic diversity that proliferates in the
Epsom Community. While the total range of languages spoken in the area is incalculable, 8 the area is
definitively not monolingual: a total of 10.8% of Epsom residents do not report a capacity to speak in
English (the dominant language of the area) (New Zealand Parliament, 2015, p. 12)9 and the

8 Statistics New Zealand only provides limited data on the number of languages spoken in
any given Electorate Area most languages are clumped into a singular Other category,
which gives no recognition to the range of language that comprise it (see Appendix Three
for the extent of information provided by Statistics New Zealand)
9 In comparison to a national proportion of 2.2% (Statistics New Zealand, 2013d).

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proportion of area residents capable of speaking more than one language is significantly higher than
the national level (see Appendix Three below).
Superficially, the shopfronts pictured attempt to construct the Epsom Community as a space where
linguistic diversity is recognised and accepted a language-friendly environment (Reding, 2004, p.
32). First, by rendering a minority language visible, the shopfronts symbolically circulate the notion
that the use of minority languages is appropriate in the public space (Philipson, 2003; Pennycook,
1993), rebelling against the idea that their use is singularly appropriate to a home or social space
(Reding, 2004, p. 32). Secondly, given the predominating function of signages is informational
(Landry & Bourhis, 1997, p. 25), the use of a second language on the signage suggests to the
addressee that the dominant language is deficient for the realisation of the signs informational
objective. As such, it constructs in the mind of the addressee a non-English speaking community, and
thereby positions the minority language as having importance, power and relevance beyond the
immediate needs of the dominant language-speaking group (Shohamy & Gorter, 2009, p. 110).
Nonetheless, despite these intentions, the shopfronts ultimately act to reinforce the power of a
dominant linguistic hegemony in the community, rather than dismantle it. The shopfronts visually
subjugate the minority language to the dominant language in their designs: the English language is
positioned centrally in both, and thus dominates the communicative space (while the minority
language is positioned almost decoratively at the edges, such that it need not be read at all). As such,
the signs visually communicate their consent to the linguistic hegemony they visually recognise and
accept the language of the dominant group as standard and paradigmatic, and the language of the
minority as peripheral (Wiley, 2000, p. 113). The fact that this consent is likely given on the basis of
social or financial incentives is irrelevant. 10
The impact of this self-subjugation to the dominant language is significant for the wider community.
A lessened sense of prestige of the minority language leaves linguistic minorities with psychological
feelings of inferiority or low self-esteem, which restricts their capability to meaningfully contribute to
the community (in a social or economic sense) (King, 2000, p. 174; Suarez, 2002, p. 514). In the longterm, it is likely to contribute to language loss (or death) maintenance of a language requires it to be
consistently used at a community level (Tse, 1997, p. 726; Mrak, 2011, p. 164). Indeed, this loss may
already be occurring in the community; 26% of Aucklands Asian population reported, in the most

10 In fact the hegemony functions effectively precisely because it provides incentives for the
use of the dominant language (Suarez, 2002, p. 515). In this case, the likely incentive for use
of the dominant language is increased patronage to each business; the English-speaking
market typically requires their language to be placed dominantly to be reassured they are
welcome in a cultural space (McCormick & Agnihotri, 2009, p. 14).

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recent Census, that they spoke English only (Statistics New Zealand, 2013d). This loss also entails
loss of culture the learning of any language is the learning of a new world order (Phillipson, 1992, p.
287), since text types that the new language will access and be practised in will represent a cultural
representation of social reality (Clay, 1991). In this sense, losing access to minority language entails
the loss of access to minority identities and values (Clark, 2013, p. 59).
The impact of linguistic hegemony is felt particularly in the educational sphere. For students of
linguistic minorities, the suppression of opportunities for use of their first language at school limits
their ability to successfully acquire the dominant language 11 and therefore their later educational
success (May, 2002, p. 7). For linguistic minorities, a decreased prestige in minority languages lessens
the impetus for second language learning, and thus deprives learners of its corresponding benefits,
which include: improved employment opportunities, cognitive flexibility and creatively, improved
capacity in the dominant language and improved capacity for cross-cultural empathy (Cavaluzzi,
2010, p. 3).

Image Four: Bringing Global Diversity to the Community

11 The process of second language learning relies on a well-developed first language

proficiency. Language acquisition is typically predicated on the translation and comparison of
the new language to ones native language. Where the first language is insufficiently
developed, this process cannot take place, thus problematizing learning of the second
language (Cummins, 2001, p. 74).

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The image above was taken on the grounds of Epsom Girls Grammar School. Pictured is a computer lab in the schools
library, made available for all students use 7.30am to 4.00pm on weekdays during the school term. Note that similar
facilities are provided at Epsoms Public Library, for community use.

It is an ongoing struggle for educational and social communities 12 to exempt themselves from the
political, economic and social hegemony of the dominant socio-cultural majority, and the
corresponding pervasive social system which perpetuates mono-cultural (Sullivan, 1994, p. 192),
middle-class (Thrupp, 2007, p. 77), heteronormative (Carpenter & Lee, 2010), able-normative
(McLean, 2010), mono-linguistic (Locke & May, 2004, p. 23), and cis-normative (Burford et al.,
2013) social and ideological frameworks as normative and paradigmatic.
The impact of a failure, hitherto, to achieve overthrow is significant. In an educational context,
student engagement is crucial to academic success. Yet, students whose socio-cultural norms,
behaviours or value systems fall outside those of the dominant majority feel themselves marginalised
by an educational context that fails to recognise or respect their identities, and consequently cannot
engage (Hanly, 2007, p. 150-170; Greenwood & Te Aka, 2009). Similarly, in a community context,
negative consequences are felt broadly. Those of minority typologies are placed at increased risk of

12 That are comprised of great diversity in socio-economic status, ethnicity and culture,
political views, religious belief, sexual orientation, able-ness, language, sexual orientations
and gender identities.

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low self-esteem, self-confidence, and social isolation (Burton & Kagan, 2003, p. 5), and have poorer
health and enjoy a lower standard of living than their majority counterparts (Sagric et al., 2016, p. 50).
As a consequence, the community suffers for increased dependence on institutions (Sagric et al.,
2016, p. 50), decreased innovation and lessened economic productivity (Burton & Kagan, 2003, p. 8),
and an increase in violence in the community (Kjaerum, 2007, p. 50). 13
In recognition of these disastrous impacts, the proliferation of the Internet and associated technologies
into classrooms and communities represents an attempt to remove education and the broader
community, from the grips of this detrimental hegemonic influence. Habermasian visions of the
Internet imagine it as a democratically-constructed space that permits the mobilisation of minority
voices (Weber et al., 2003; Wellman et al., 2001). Unconstrained by geographical limits of
association, users are theoretically permitted to access global social and information networks, which
present novel perspectives, information and educational opportunities that act to undermine the
hegemonic narrative that the norms of the dominant majority are paradigmatic (Mesch, 2009, p. 55).
In this sense, the image above represents an attempt to recognise all oppressed diversities inherent in
the educational and communal space, and to posit diversity (in the form of a global information
society) as a solution to a hegemonic context (Tapscott, 1998; Prensky, 2001).
However, the image contemporaneously represents the difficulties of extricating a community
educational or otherwise from hegemonic influence. The mere provision of diversity is an
insufficient tool. The Internet, like any social structure, relies on human activity for its design, content
and form (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 473), and human action in a hegemonic context is informed by an
inculcated habitus which seeks to reproduce class and social structures of the dominant culture
(Kvansy & Truex III, 2000, p. 281; Swartz, 1997). In this sense, the Internet as a crowd-funded
platform of information acts to disseminate the same culture which it was imagined to combat
(Kraidy, 2001, p. 1). English, for instance, remains the dominant language of the Internet, and as such,
maligns the voices of non-English speakers (Norris, 2001). Search engine algorithms (which remain
in the hands of the West) typically bias results which are of interest to westerners, regardless of the
individuals search location or intentions otherwise (Digital Commons Brasil, 2016). Even where
minority voices infiltrate the Internet Space, they are incentivised (and actually do) sanitise and
globalise their product to ensure its appeal to a Western audience (Sowards, 2003, p. 240).

In this sense the image acts as a call, to both educational and wider communities, to seek
beyond diversity as a solution to hegemony.
13 Note that such impacts are a mere cursory summary only (obliged by the limitations of
this commentary), and represent only a small selection of the individual and societal effects
of marginalisation.

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Appendix One
Graph One: Ethnic composition of Onehunga Areas (by percentage) in comparison to ethnic
composition of the Auckland Region


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Axis Title




Middle Eastern, Latin American, African


(Statistics New Zealand, 2013e, p. 4; Statistics New Zealand, 2013f; Statistics New Zealand, 2013g;
Statistics New Zealand 2013h).

Appendix Two
Note: Census Data does not make available the proportions of religious affiliations declared by area
results are only presented by Local Board Area (Maungakiekie).


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Graph Two: Diversity of Christian Belief in the Maungakiekie Local Board Area

Diversity of 'Christian' Religion In Maungakiekie Local Board Are

Salvation Army Seventh Day Adventist

Latter Day Saints


Jehovahs Witnesses
Congregational/Reformed Christian (not further defined)


(New Zealand Parliament, 2012c, p. 12).

Appendix Three
Graph Three: Languages Spoken in the Epsom Electorate Area


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None; 1%
Other; 24%
Samoan; 0%
NZ Sign Language; 0%
Maori; 1%
English; 74%

Appendix Four


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Table One: Percentage of Bilingual or Multilingual Residents (Comparison Between Epsom Areas
and Auckland Region)
Percentage of Residents Capable of Speaking More Than
One Language
Epsom North
Epsom South
Epsom Central
Auckland Region
(Statistics New Zealand, 2013a, p. 4; Statistics New Zealand, 2013b, p. 4; Statistics New Zealand,
2013c, p.4; Statistics New Zealand, 2013d).

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