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ABSTRACT. This narrative explores the interchange of two cultures and the development of intercultural dialogue through the building of a community garden in west Auckland. The identities of the two parties involved: the Auckland Environmental Protection Association (AEPA), aka Chinese Eco Elders (CEE), and the Auckland Council (AC), are reflected on through signifying moments and events. The narrative examines the steps taken towards attaining a robust intercultural dialogue and to what extent that has been achieved. It observes the power positions of the key players, how the relationship has developed to date and notes considerations for the way forward. The retrospective narrative is told from the perspective of AC Environmental Programmes Advisor, Author (A), who was charged to work with AEPA/CEE through the project development. The study shows that environmental programmes can provide an appropriate platform for intercultural dialogue to take place as long as there is a willingness and flexibility from both parties to understand the other and to build a hybrid project. The study also confirmed that the transfer of democracy and decision making skills are the foundations for quality dialogue (Jiang, 2005, p. 227). It is envisaged that the learnings from this qualitative research will increase the mutual understanding of both parties and improve the design, and implementation, of future environmental programmes with the ethnic communities in Auckland. pp. 29–46

Keywords: environmental programmes; intercultural dialogue; ethnic community

KAREN M. SUMMERHAYS
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