The Traditional Knowledge Conference 2008 focused on traditional knowledge and gateways to balanced relationships. The conference title, Te Tatau Pounamu: The Greenstone Door, referred in a figurative sense to how, in times of trouble, peace could be secured and warfare ended through a political marriage and the exchange of greenstone. The peace thus established was often likened to a greenstone door as both were seen as being durable, strong and highly valuable. In line with the title, the conference provided the occasion for discussion of indigenous strategies for sustaining relationships between collectives and over generations, for resolving conflict, for peacemaking, reconciliation and restorative justice.
While some speakers spoke directly on issues of peacemaking and restorative justice, the broader theme allowed for consideration of traditional indigenous concepts, values, ideals, models and strategies for sustaining balanced and healthy relationships within and across families, communities, nations, nation-states, local, regional and global borders, territories and environments. There was also the opportunity to share what had been learned from diverse contexts around the world about how indigenous models, values, concepts and processes have been incorporated into state or government initiatives and with what impact for indigenous peoples.
The papers in this Proceedings reflect the diversity of ways in which the theme was approached at the conference, because of the many academic disciplines represented and because community engagement and input was included. Videos of the presentations by the Invited Speakers can be viewed by going to Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga's website: www.maramatanga.co.nz.
The Proceedings are made up of two parts. Part A comprises presentations to the full conference by Invited Speakers. The Invited Speakers made oral presentations, which were videoed and later transcribed. Edited versions of these transcriptions appear here, apart from the presentation by Irene Watson who supplied a fully referenced version of her paper, "A Journey Away from Violence to a Place of Law-fullness". Part B of the Proceedings has the written papers submitted by those who gave talks in the parallel sessions.