Peer Sharing Process

Peer sharing process – using a “wagon wheel”

by Dale Hunter July 2018


Here is a description of one of the facilitation processes used at a Saturday morning (4 hour) session for a community gathering as part of a longer Friday night to Sunday afternoon winter / Matariki gathering.

The purpose of the morning: to grow and deepen our community/neighbourhood.

Participants: 50 people, all ages. A supervised painting/ craft table was set up for children and those who chose not to take part in large group activity.

The morning was in four parts.

  1. Whakawhanaunga / Welcome and introductions (in Te Reo Maori and English) (45 mins)
    Break                                   (15 mins)
  2. Peer Sharing Process.    (60 mins)
    Break                                   (20 mins)
  3. Whole circle sharing.       (1 – ½ hours)
  4. Completion                         (5-10 mins).

Here is the process used for the Peer Sharing Process. 

A double circle of chairs was set up, with the chairs in inner circle facing outwards and the chairs in outer circle facing inwards. (Sometimes this layout is described as a wagon wheel). Participants were invited to take a seat in the double circle and form a pair.

Instructions were given:

Questions / topics will be suggested. (Can be changed by participants if they want).

Participants to choose an A and a B. Person A speaks for 3 mins while B listens. Swap roles when indicated by bell. (Time was kept using a pair of small tingsha cymbal bells). This process involves listening and sharing and is ‘not a conversation’. Powerful listening is encouraged. The outer circle participant in each pair moves one seat to the left after each paired sharing.

There were 8 questions for pairs to address. There were short (3 mins) movement/ stretch breaks as needed including music. After the breaks people were encouraged to change / swap chairs.


Topics or questions need to be designed for the occasion. The one’s I used for this occasion (mid-winter /Matariki in New Zealand / Aotearoa)  were:

  1. How am I today? What I need to say to be present is…
  2. Matariki is about remembering and acknowledging those who have passed on (died). Are there people you would like to acknowledge?
  3. Matariki is also about leaving one year behind and moving into the new year. What would you like to acknowledge and let go of?
  4. To understand me more I would like to share ……
  5. In my life, I am inspired by ….
  6. What this community means or provides for me ….
  7. This next year I will contribute / share with the community …….
  8. This year I will contribute /share with the wider community / place ………

Reasons influencing the design of this process.

  1. The purpose of the morning was to deepen and grow the community / neighbourhood.
  2. Session 1 provided depth and growth through bi-cultural sharing.
  3. Session 3 provided depth through sharing in large circle.
  4. Session 2 needed to provide a high level of participation through actively involving each person in the community.
  5. Note: A painting and craft table was provided for anyone who preferred a less verbal activity.

The first session (Welcome) included singing, welcoming and some people (6) new to the community sharing their pepeha (ancestry). The 3rd session was a full group circle with spontaneous sharing by those who felt moved and confident to do so.

Given the number of people involved (50), and the time envisaged (about 1 – 1 ½) it was anticipated that about 10 -15 people would share in the whole group. This meant that about 30 people would not share in this session.

In contrast, the double circle sharing provided each person the opportunity to share 8 times.

Feedback from Participants

Feedback included many comments about feeling more involved, getting to know people better, and deepening.

My notes as Facilitator:

My attention was on the questions that I developed for the group. I felt into the group consciousness over several preceding weeks, especially in the last week. Based on my reading of the group consciousness (my felt experience), I honed the questions so that they took each person through the process associated with  matariki – death, acknowledgment and letting going – and moving forward into and claiming the new.

The questions were worked on during this time and I changed one of the questions during the process itself on the basis of the feeling I had for the group. The questions were the “brew” – the ingredients of the recipe.

The sharing/ listening process helped to move the group consciousness into a heartful and more open (less defensive) place. This was the sense I had of the possibility of the purpose “to grow and deepen our community/neighbourhood”.

The purpose “to grow” and “deepen” was an opening to be a group “gardener”.

I also observed a more relaxed and open atmosphere over the next weeks.

The group comments and feedback for this session were all very positive.

by Dale Hunter

Synchronicity: Leap day Penguin Adventure

I hope you enjoy this strange but true story about an adventure I had on Monday 29 February, leap day. I sent the story in this form to my neighbours at Earthsong Eco neighborhood.

Have you seen the penguins in my garden? Some of you know that they are pottery artworks made by the Auckland artist Tony Johnston.  I have a number of his artworks in my house as well.

On Monday, I travelled out to Tony’s place with my friend, Thelma who lives at Maraetai. I drove out to her place and then we travelled in her car from there to Whakatiwai near Miranda, on the Firth of Thames – a 2 1/2 hour journey in total.  Tony put on lunch for us, a mince pie and an apple pie freshly baked.  He showed us around his studio and I bought two more penguins.    One penguin, I left with Tony to finish painting, and the other I took with me when we left about 3:30pm.

On the way back from Whakatiwai it began to rain, and although Thelma was not driving fast, about 70kms, the road was a bit wet and possibly we hit a greasy patch.  We began to skid across the road and then it is a bit blurry but it seems we hit a fence, did a 360 roll and ended up in a paddock, the right way up. The car was munted, most of the glass fell out
of the windows, the passenger door was impassable. Thelma turned off the car key, and we took a few minutes in which to absorb the situation. We checked for blood and missing limbs but found none. We managed to ease our way out of the car through the driver’s door. We then checked again to see if we were really alive and upstanding (though rather shocked),  gathered up our belongings (including my penguin) and clambered through the very long grass over what was left of the fence, and up to the road.

As I got to the road, a car pulled up. The driver wound down the window. He said, “Hello Dale, what’s up” (or words to that effect). I explained the situation, all the time clutching my penguin.  He invited us into his car and I did my best to recall who he was. We made a few connections, e.g. Co-counselling and the Wavy group. He then said, ” You
must have been out to visit Tony Johnston and got that penguin. I’ve have got 3 of those myself.”  I laughed and said “This is my 3rd penguin here”.

It was a bizarre king of “snap”.  (Tony has only made about 30 penguins so far).

This guy, Francis J, was on his way to his home at Orere Point, but kindly turned around his car and drove us to my friend’s place at Maraetai.  Once there, Thelma and I regrouped and gave ourselves several dosed of arnica. Eventually I drove back home in my still intact car, getting here about 7:15pm.


The new penguin has now joined its two mates in my garden.  Please do pop by and admire (him/her/it), now named Abaddon – the reddish one in the middle.  There is one more to come, a bright red one with yellow markings.



Penguin Studio with Tony Johnston