Dr David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae

David Taufui Mikato Fa'avae

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: PhD, MProfEd (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 Pacific 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 Pacific methodologies and methods in dominant Euro-American-centric research contexts. His joint paper, 'Talanoa'i 'a e talanoa - talking about talanoa: dilemmas of a novice researcher', was published in 2016 and highlighted the dilemmas and challenges associated with talanoa as a method of gathering data across generations of people (shaped by age, gender, resilience, social class, privilege, mobilities, oppression) in Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga. Often, David utilizes critical autoethnography (CAE) 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 relational and ethical theoretical ideas and ideals to understanding 'wayfinding mobilities' and what it means to navigate and mediate diverse spaces/places - the geographical, theoretical, spiritual, 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., Fehoko, E., & Vaka, S. (2022). Fakakoloa as embodied mana moana and agency: Postcolonial sociology within Oceania. New Zealand Sociology, 37(1), 93-119. Retrieved from

  • Karamercan, O., Matapo, J., Kamenarac, O., Fa’avae, D. T. M., Arndt, S., Irwine, R., . . . Del Monte, P. (2022). Engaging and developing community in digital spaces: Approaches from the Editorial Development Group. Educational Philosophy and Theory. doi:10.1080/00131857.2022.2041412

  • Rubin, J., & Fa'avae, D. (2022). Tapasā: An invitation to decolonize literacy teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand. In AERA Annual Meeting: Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century.

  • Rubin, J., & Fa'avae, D. (2022). Navigating literacy teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand through the lens of Tapasā. In National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research (NCTEAR): Reimagining Literacy Research for Social Change. Virtual.

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