Developed nations providing aid and educational support for less wealthy countries, have frequently imposed their own ideas and practices in a top-down manner. A recent collaborative aid project between the New Zealand and Solomon Islands Governments, has been more equitable by developing the project as a 'Partnership'. As a New Zealander involved with this project, I found participation in the Partnership activities to be rewarding and enlightening. The metaphor of a 'hybrid mat' is used to weave together narratives from my pre-Partnership life and career events with narratives from my partnership experiences. Clandinin and Connelly's renowned concept of 'stories' is utilised throughout to illustrate how perceptions of events can vary from person to person. 'Cover' stories (the 'official' narrative of events for outsiders); 'secret' stories (narratives available only to insiders); and 're-storying' (placing a story within a context/place and negotiating the meanings of the story) are concepts used to illustrate the complexity and multiple explanations and understandings that come from narratives. It is through 're-storying' the combined 'cover' and 'secret' stories that a third space of understanding is revealed. This article traces the process and product of understanding and re-storying a particular 'hybrid mat' for the writer.
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