Dr David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae

David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae


Qualifications: PhD, MEd (Hons), PGCTT, PGDipEdLead, GDipTeach (Sec), BA (Psychology, Pacific Studies)

Iwi: Ma'ufanga (Tongatapu), Niuafo'ou, Angahaa ('Eua), Satalo (Upolu, Samoa), Taunga (Vava'u), Pukotala (Ha'apai)

About David Taufui Mikato

David's doctoral thesis focused on inter-generational cultural capital and he drew-from Pierre Bourdieu's early theory of cultural capital to foreground an Indigenous approach - Tatala 'a e koloa 'o e to'utangata Tonga i Aotearoa mo Tonga - linked to the conceptualization, transmission, mobilization, and capitalization of inter-generational cultural knowledge and practices in education.

David's writing focuses on the tensions, contradictions, complexities, and nuances associated with the implementation of Indigenous methodologies and methods in dominant research contexts. His paper published with his doctoral supervisors in 2016 highlighted the dilemmas and complexities involved when utilizing talanoa as a method of gathering data across generations of people (based on age, gender, social class) in New Zealand and in the diaspora. Often, he utilizes critical autoethnography as an approach to delve-into and interrogate the place of self and inter-subjectivities in-between/within/amongst diverse contexts in education and the wider society. Moreover, David has utilized and veitapui as theoretical ideas to understand "wayfinding mobilities" and what it means to navigate and mediate diverse spaces - the geographical, theoretical, and philosophical, as well as the spatial and temporal.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised



  • Patricia Anne Bevins. Climate change education: Empowering young people to take informed and intentional action to become agents of change.
  • Jerielyn Teleni. Pragmatic linguistics in the cultural and historical contexts of Nauru.


  • Dassia Watkins-Matavalea. Applicability of Pacific pedagogies and concepts of health and wellbeing in multicultural tertiary learning contexts.


  • Siosaia Sisitoutai. Lotu as a site for exploring educational leadership for Tongan parents.

Research Interests

David's research interests are primarily within Indigenous research methodologies and methods, Critical autoethnography, Gender and Indigenous masculinities, Inter-generational cultural capital, Pacific studies, Pacific/Pasifika education, Teacher education, Critical pedagogy, Global as well as comparative and international education, and Education for sustainability.

Recent Publications

  • Fa'avae, D. T. M., Aporosa, S. A., & Hemi, K. (Eds.) (2021). Waikato Journal of Education. Special Issue: Talanoa Vā: Honouring Pacific Research and Online Engagement. Waikato Journal of Education, (26), 209 pages. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1

  • Fa'avae, D. T. M., Hemi, K. V., & Aporosa, A. (2021). Grounding our collective Talanoa, Enabling open conversations. Waikato Journal of Education. Special Issue: Talanoa Vā: Honouring Pacific Research and Online Engagement, 26, 5-10. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1.839

  • Baice, T., Lealaiauloto, B., Meiklejohn-Whiu, S., Fonua, S. M., Allen, J. M., Matapo, J., . . . Fa’avae, D. (2021). Responding to the call: talanoa, va-vā, early career network and enabling academic pathways at a university in New Zealand. Higher Education Research & Development, 40(1), 75-89. doi:10.1080/07294360.2020.1852187

  • Hemi, K. V., Bulisala, S. N., Aporosa, A., & Fa'avae, D. T. M. (2021). Imua: reflections on imua, talanoa-vā and leadership in the ongoing strategic journey of a New Zealand university.. Waikato Journal of Education. Special Issue: Talanoa Vā: Honouring Pacific Research and Online Engagement, 26, 11-34. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1.855

Find more research publications by David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae


Sociology and Education; Teacher Education

Pacific/Pasifika education, Education philosophy, Tongan thought, Pacific studies, Critical autoethnography (CAE), Indigenous research methodologies and methods, Indigenous masculinities, Postqualitative research, Critical pedagogies