Dr Tanya Samu
PhD, MEd, BA, DipTchg
Tanya’s prior experiences include teaching and leadership in geography and social studies within secondary schools in Samoa and New Zealand; writing social studies textbooks, and national curriculum development.
Tanya has just over twenty years experience in under-graduate and graduate teaching, including course development and coordination. Prior to the establishment of the Faculty of Education in late 2004, Tanya’s experiences within the tertiary sector focused on teacher education and collaborative research projects in Pasifika education – beginning with the former School of Education of the University of Auckland (1996-2000; 2002-2003), and then with the former Auckland College of Education (2004).
In addition to her current research, teaching and service (as detailed in the profile below ), Tanya has contributed to international curriculum development and teacher capacity building education projects in Samoa, Tonga, Kyrgyzstan and Nauru.
Research | Current
- Transnational Pacific Education Research Initiative (TPERI) In collaboration with Dr 'Ema Wulfgramm-Foliaki. Its overall purpose is the establishment of a network that connects education initiatives around and across the Pacific Rim. Start up in 2017.
Nga Tau Tuangahuru: MPEI Longitudinal Study, funded by Foundation North. Pasifika education research advisor. The focus of this study is on what success looks like for Maori and Pacific students and their families, and what supports that success. Start up in 2017.
- The complexities of social studies/ social science curriculum development and implementation. In collaboration with Alexis Siteine, ongoing since 2006.
Current theoretical explorations
Tanya has been bringing together philosopher of education Jane Roland Martin’s ideas relating to education as encounter; Michel Foucault’s concept of discontinuity as both process and product in relation to the historical analysis of ideas; discourse theorising of a post-structualist nature; and autoethnography, in order to develop new insights about:
- Pasifika peoples in relation to the knowledge economy discourse that underlies national education policy
- Current knowledge and understandings about the inter-face between teachers and their Pasifika learners
- Pacific/Pasifika women and culture crossings experienced via education
- Pasifika communities of practice within the academe
- The notion of ‘Pasifika education’ and the concept of ‘oceanic agency’
Teaching | Current
Tanya contributes to courses and lectures that focus on Pasifika education, diversity, research methodologies and the politics of curriculum development for the Liberal Arts and Teacher Education programmes
- EDUC 322 Special Topic: Re-Thinking Pasifika Education
- EDCURRIC 310 – Pasifika Learners
- EDPROFST 612B – Te Whakaako in NZ Secondary Schools
- Lecture Contributions to: EDUC 207 Decolonising Education; EDUC 211 Schooling Ethnic Diversity; EDPROFST 754 Critical Research Methodologies in Education.
- Luke Sullivan (co-supervision). PhD. Working title: Kura Hourua: A means to increase school effectiveness for Pasifika students
- Sonia Fonua (co-supervision). PhD. Working title: Tongan students and science: Engagement, retention, achievement, enjoyment, and success.
- Siliva Gaugatao (co-supervision), EdD. Working title: The role of Samoan fathers in their children's education
- Jacoba Matapo (co-supervision). PhD. Working title: Reimagining leadership ( in higher education) in Pasifika education and research
- Charlotte Gipps, MProfSt: ‘Connecting Counts : Curriculum change for Pasifika learners’
- Sonia Pope, MA: ‘Exploring the intergenerational views of wellbeing among Tongan women’
- Koke Leleisiuao: ‘Pasifika students and the critical process of Year 10 subject choices for ‘Future Pathways’ : Examining the knowledge and understanding of students, their families and the school’ Completed 2015.
- NZARE Symposium for AERA, 2015 (Chicago). Selected via competitive process. Title: “Advancing Justice in Education for Pacific/Pasifika Peoples through Discourses of Success and Responsiveness”. Dr Tanya Samu (leader), Dr Rae Siilata, Alexis Siteine, and Dr 'Ala Toetuu-Tamihere, University of Auckland
- NZARE Pasifika Group Research Award, 2008
Centre of Innovation, Aoga FaaSamoa Research Group
- University of Canterbury College of Education doctoral fees scholarship (2009- 2011)
Associate Dean Pasifika, Faculty of Education
Overall purpose of this role is to provide strategic and external leadership that enables the Faculty to grow its capacity and capability to be effectively responsive to Pasifika priorities (as described in national education policy for all sectors)
Co-director, Research Unit in Pacific and International Education (with Asso.Prof. Eve Coxon)
RUPIE acts as a centre for the implementation, coordination, publication and dissemination of research in education and development in Oceania, and globally. It extends existing knowledge about education in the Pacific, and within New Zealand, as well as other national settings. It serves Pasifika communities, both in New Zealand and abroad, by providing expert advice and information about Pacific / Pasifika education issues.
Areas of expertise
- Discourse analysis, auto-ethnography
- Pasifika research methodologies
- NZ education policy-scapes: particularly in relation to the concepts of diversity, difference, and Pasifika education across all sectors
- Politics of curriculum development
- The nature and location of Pasifika/ Pacific knowledge and expertise within social studies/the social sciences school curricula
- National social studies curriculum development and education in New Zealand and non-westernised, developing contexts and settings
- The Research Unit in Pacific and International Education (RUPIE)
- Faculty: staff workload; post-graduate; staffing; Kainga Pasifika
Professional Groups and Associations
- New Zealand Association of Research in Education (NZARE)
- American Research in Education Association (AERA)
- Member, International Relations Committee, a standing committee of the American Education Research Association or AERA (April 2014- April 2017)
- Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Special Interest Group, AERA (April, 2017 - April 2019)
- Deputy Chair, Board of Trustees, Avondale College (Chair, of Education sub-committee)
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Siilata, R. K., Samu, T. W., & Siteine, A. (2017). The Va‘atele Framework: Redefining and transforming Pasifika Education. In E. McKinley, L. T. Smith (Eds.) The Handbook of indigenous education (pp. ). Singapore: Springer Nature. 10.1007/978-981-10-1839-8_34-1
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rae Siilata, Alexis Siteine
- Samu, T. (2016). Intrepid journeys in social studies curriculum development: Critical reflections and insights of a New Zealand educator. Curriculum Matters, 12, 132-153.
- Samu, T. L. (2015). The ‘Pasifika Umbrella’ and quality teaching: Understanding and responding to the diverse realities within. Waikato Journal of Education, 20 (Special 20th Anniversary Collection, 2015), 129-140. 10.15663/wje.v20i3.229
- Samu, T. L. (2014). Re-thinking Pacific Education: Reflections from the Pasifika Margins, Pacific Rim. In 'Otunuku M, U. Nabobo-Baba, S. F. Johansson-Fua (Eds.) Of Waves, Winds and Wonderful Things: A Decade of Rethinking Pacific Education. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific Press.
- Samu, T. L. (2014). Spirit, space and stewardship: A Collective approach to becoming Pacific women in the academe. In P. Fairburn-Dunlop, E. Coxon (Eds.) Talanoa: Building a Pasifika Research Culture. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
- Wendt Samu, T., Mara, D., & Siteine, A. (2013). Education for Pacific people for the twenty-first century. In O'Connor P, S. L. Sauni (Eds.) Within and beyond the reef of Pasifika education. Auckland, NZ: Pearson.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alexis Siteine
- Samu, T. L. (2013). Pasifika Education: Discourses of Difference in Aotearoa New Zealand University of Canterbury. University of Canterbury. Related URL.
- Samu, T. L. (2011). Tala Mai Fafo: (Re)Learning from the voices of Pacific women. Pacific-Asian Education, 23 (2), 11-22. Related URL.