Dr Marcia Paula Leenen-Young

BA, MA Hons. PhD (Auckland)


Marcia Leenen-Young is a Professional Teaching Fellow in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. She is of Samoan and Dutch descent and has a PhD in Ancient History. Her research interests include: Pacific pedagogy, Pacific innovation, Pacific history and using her Ancient History background to do inter-disciplinary research within a global context to form new ways of looking at the ancient world through a Pacific lens. She held a CLeaR Fellowship in 2018 and looked at the concept of learning to learn for undergraduate Pacific students. She has a background in Māori and Pacific student support, and has previous worked as part of Innovative Learning and Teaching at the Business School at the University of Auckland.


Research | Current

Marcia's current research project is Akongia Kia Ako: promoting learning to learn for Pasifika students. This research investigates learning patterns for Pacific students in Pacific Studies, and assesses their opinion of learning to learn. The objective of this project is to inform how we can enhance recognition of the importance of learning processes for success, and how we as teachers can foster this within the learning environment. The findings from this project will have practical applications for the Pacific Studies undergraduate academic support programme Vaka Moana. 

Marcia intends to focus on learning and Pacific pedagogy in future research. In particular, she wants to look at the learning transition between undergraduate and postgraduate study for Pacific students, and the cultural challenges of postgraduate research. Her research interests also include Pacific innovation and how Pacific peoples adapt and create opportunity for innovation through traditional Pacific connections and frameworks outside of the Pacific.

Teaching | Current

HISTORY 104 Pacific History: An Introduction

Postgraduate supervision

Master's Supervision 

2018 Co-supervisor: Pauline Rupeni - Cook Islands communities in New Zealand: Language and Youth, Masters of Arts, Pacific Studies, Faculty of Arts, The University of Auckland


2018 SEED Innovation in Teaching Grant

2018 CLeaR Fellowship for the project Akongia Kia Ako: promoting learning to learn for Pasifika students

2017 LIMElight (Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education) (Awarded with the MAPAS team Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences) Award for Excellence in Indigenous Student Recruitment, Support and Graduation

2016 International Central Networks Fund, The University of Auckland

2016 Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award: Customer Stakeholder Experience, The University of Auckland (Awarded with the MAPAS team, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences) 

2011 Māori and Pacific Leadership Grant from the Equity Office, The University of Auckland: To research and network in the United Kingdom and Edinburgh

2011 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship


Vaka - Pacific Postgraduate Programme

Areas of expertise

Curriculum and Resource Development

Pacific Pedagogy  

Pacific History

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Faculty Academic Committee Te Wānanga o Waipapa representative, Faculty of Arts (2018)
  • Ako Course advisor and development, Faculty of Arts (2018)
  • Vaka Coordinator, Pacific Studies, Faculty of Arts (2018)
  • Courses and Careers Day Coordinator for Pacific Studies, Faculty of Arts (2018)
  • Organising committee Māori and Pacific Induction, Business School (2018)
  • Learning Leader recruitment, Business School (2017-2018)
  • Equity Committee, Director of Learning and Teaching representative, Business School (2017- 2018)
  • Member of the Tuākana Network (2014-2017, 2018-current)


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Leenen-Young, M. (2014). Maintaining motivation when life gets in the way. In C. McMaster, C. Murphy (Eds.) Postgraduate study in Aotearoa New Zealand: Surviving and succeeding (pp. 143-150). Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press. Related URL.
  • Leenen, M. P. (2011). The Evolution of Roman Diplomatic Interaction with the Achaean League, 200-146 B.C.E. In A. Mackay (Ed.) ASCS 32 Selected Proceedings Auckland, New Zealand. Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 102L
New Zealand