Recently, following initiatives from the local people, a leading college of education in New Zealand ran an outpost teacher training programme in a remote Maori community in the far north. Part of that programme involved workshops that used drama as a participatory process to explore students' understandings of their goals and their relationship to the socio-political context in which they worked. This paper reports on some of the understandings of cross-cultural negotiation that were made explicit through the workshops. It also asks what we mark as difference and what assumptions we make, through not marking, about what is normal. At the very least the programme as a whole was successful in providing a group of culturally appropriate teachers for the region. However, this paper suggests that there are further implications for teacher training within the experience. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.