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

  • Pennie Togiatama-Otto. The successful narratives of Niuean scholars. (UoA)
  • Patricia Anne Bevins. Climate change education: Empowering young people to take informed and intentional action to become agents of change. (UoW)
  • Jerielyn Teleni. Pragmatic linguistics in the cultural and historical contexts of Nauru. (UoW)
  • Dassia Watkins-Matavalea. Applicability of Pacific pedagogies and concepts of health and wellbeing in multicultural tertiary learning contexts. (UoW)
  • Siosaia Sisitoutai. Lotu as a site for exploring educational leadership for Tongan parents. (UoW)

Research Interests

David's research interests are primarily within post-qualitative research; Indigenous Pasifika/Moana/Pacific research; Intergenerational cultural knowledge transmission; trans-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research praxis; philosophies of education; gender and indigenous masculinities; family cultural capital; critical pedagogies.

His teaching interests are in Pasifika/Moana/Pacific education, Pacific studies, indigenous Pasifika/Moana/Pacific research methodologies and methods, Sociology of education, Initial teacher education, and Educational leadership.

Recent Publications

  • Fa’avae, D. T. M., Hemi, K. V., & Aporosa, S. A. (2021). Grounding our collective Talanoa: Enabling open conversations. Waikato Journal of Education, 26, 5-10. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1.849 Open Access version:

  • 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

  • Leenen-Young, M., Naepi, S., Thomsen, P. S., Fa'avae, D. T. M., Keil, M., & Matapo, J. (2021). Pillars of the colonial institution are like a knowledge prison: the significance of decolonizing knowledge and pedagogical practice for Pacific early career academics in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-16. doi:10.1080/13562517.2021.1928062

  • Fa’avae, D. (2021). Grounding Spirit. Waikato Journal of Education, 26, 1. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1.850

Find more research publications by David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae


Indigenous Education; Schools (Primary/Secondary); Sociology and Education; Teacher Education; Teacher Professional Learning/Development

Pasifika/Moana/Pacific education, Philosophy of education