Mentoring and teaching in academic settings: Professional and cultural identities from one Pākehā’s perspective
Sue Middleton


When invited to respond to the paper on “Mentoring Maori in a Pakeha framework” by Hook, Waaka and Raumati (2007), I hesitated. Mentoring was not a term I had previously used in my professional thinking or academic writing: unlike Barbara Grant (Ratima & Grant, 2007), I had not been involved in formal mentoring programmes or immersed myself in the mentoring literature. As a Pakeha, I was not qualified to evaluate the authors’ definition of a Maori framework. At first glance, the target paper’s focus seemed to be on mentoring in commercial, rather than academic workplaces. My experience had been as a teacher, the last 30 years having been in a university School of Education. I was persuaded to undertake this commentary on the grounds that academic work involves nurturing, advising and supporting younger or less experienced colleagues, as well as students – tasks identified as mentoring in the Hook et al. paper. The following comments are informed by my everyday practices as teacher, thesis supervisor and researcher, and by my former management roles as an assistant dean of graduate studies and head of department. My angle of vision and conceptual resources are those of a (Pakeha and feminist) sociologist of education.

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