Dr David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae

David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae


Qualifications: PhD, MProfEd (First Class Hons), PGCTT, PGDipEdLead, GradDipTeach (Sec), BA

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

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" in-between/within/amongst diverse contexts in education and 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 - both theoretical and philosophical, as well as the spatial and temporal.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


2020 - Dassia Watkins-Matavalea


2021 - Siosaia Sisitoutai

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

  • 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

  • Fa’avae, D. T. M., Tecun, A., & Siu’ulua, S. (2021). Talanoa vā: indigenous masculinities and the intersections of indigeneity, race, and gender within higher education. Higher Education Research and Development. doi:10.1080/07294360.2021.1882402 Open Access version:

  • Fa'avae, D. T. M., Wetere, J., Kamenarac, O., & Rubin, J. C. (2020). What does it mean to be non-Māori? Unpacking the complexities and specificities in tertiary education spaces. In LearnFest20 Te Puna Arei. University of Waikato, Hamilton, NZ.. Retrieved from

  • Fa'avae, D. T. M. (2020). Critical autoethnographic encounters in the moana: Wayfinding the intersections of to’utangata Tonga and indigenous masculinities. In F. Iosefo, S. Holman Jones, & A. Harris (Eds.), Wayfinding and Critical Autoethnography (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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