Professor Alison Jones

PhD, MPhil, BSc


I work in the general field of sociology of education. My books and articles have focused on a diverse range of social and political sites including feminist theory, an ethnography of Pacific Islands girls’ schooling, and social anxiety about touching children. My most recent work is on the complexities of Māori-Pakeha educational relationships, in their origins in the early 19th century and in their present configurations. The ontological work in ‘post humanism’ and ‘new materialism’ stimulates my writing and thinking. I teach research methodologies, and I offer academic writing workshops for staff and graduate students.

Inaugural Professorial Lecture 24 October 2007
pdf 'Ka whawhai tonu matou: The interminable problem of knowing others' (203 KB PDF)

Research | Current

My research focuses on relationships between Māori and Pākehā. With Kuni Kaa Jenkins, I have written two books and a number of articles on the Māori-Pākehā engagements that established the first school in New Zealand in 1816: He kōrero: Words between us: First Māori-Pākehā​ conversations on paper (2011) and Tuai: A traveller in two worlds (2017). Tuai, from Ngare Raumati in the Bay of Islands, taught the first New Zealand school teacher Thomas Kendall the Māori language, travelled to England in 1818 where he witnessed the Industrial Revolution. My latest book is This Pākehā life: An unsettled memoir (2020)


Teaching | Current

  • Monthly academic writing workshops for postgraduate students and staff in Te Puna Wānanga. Email for current timetable.
  • With a Māoril colleague, I lead Te Akoranga Kairangi, a cohort-based 'cultural training' programme for non-Maori academic leaders in the university, offering introductory Maori language teaching, New Zealand histories, as well as discussion of the relevance of Te Tiriti and the complexities of Māori-Pākehā relations in the workplace today. Email for current timetable.
  • I offer lectures at the University of Auckland in a range of courses on 'The first school in New Zealand' and 'The period before the Treaty'.

Postgraduate supervision

Current doctoral thesis students

  • Whetuu Nathan - Māori and Pacific educational scholars theorising relationality, EdD
  • Andrew Madjar - Teachers' lived experience of 'moral distress' in pedagogical situations PhD
  • Rewa Paewai - Thinking and being Māori: Ontological struggles and education. PhD
  • Rowan Tautari - Maori ontologies and the Foreshore and Seabed struggles, PhD
  • Riripeti Haretuku - SIDS as mate ohorere pēpi: a kaupapa Maori analysis, EdD
  • Priya Gain - Teaching and Māori-Pākehā relations, PhD

Completed doctoral students

  • The Art of Walking Upright in our Classrooms: Learning to Teach "as Pākehā" by Revealing Freire in Cultural Policy / Lindsay Fish, 2020
  • A story of entanglement: The Curriculum Review report (1987) and the Treaty of Waitangi / Rose Yukich, 2018
  • Becoming just, doing justice: The ethics and politics of Māori-Pākehā relations / Frances Hancock, 2018
  • Whatuora - Whatu kākahu and living as Māori women / Hinekura Lisa Smith, 2017
  • Tatala 'a e koloa 'o e to'utangata Tonga i Aotearoa mo Tonga: The intergenerational educational experiences of Tongan males in New Zealand and Tonga / David Fa'avae, 2016
  • Illusory Convergence: Indigenous self-determination in education policy / Marra Neilson, 2014
  •  Hei oranga Māori i te ao hurihuri nei: Living as Māori in the world today – An account of kura kaupapa Māori / Kimai Tocker (Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa, ko Ngāti Raukawa, ko Ngāti Maniapoto, ko Waikato ōku iwi i te taha o tōku māmā. Nō tōku pāpā ngā hononga ki te iwi Pākehā me te iwi Hurae), 2014
  • Governing childhood through stories: A Havelian analysis of childhood subjectivities / Marek Tesar, 2013
  • The production of a teacher: how the “resource teacher learning and behaviour” is made / Sally Eveline Scott, 2011
  • Māori and Levinas: kanohi ki te kanohi for an ethical politics / Te Kawehau Clea Hoskins, 2010
  • The pedagogy of the clinic: health professionals and women with viral sexually transmitted infections / Catherine Cook, 2009
  • Matauranga Tuhoe: the centrality of matauranga-a-iwi to Maori education / William Doherty, 2009
  • Ako: Purakau of teachers’ work in secondary schools / Jenny Bol Jun Lee, 2008
  • ‘Dancing to the Music of your Heart: Home schooling the school-resistant child: A constructionist account of school refusal’ / Emma Stroobant, 2008
  • "Real Teachers, real classrooms and real experiences": The work of associate teachers on practicum / Ngaire Hoben, 2007
  • Cartographies of childhood: Mapping the modern/global child / Iris Duhn, 2006
  • Le Matuamoepo: competing ’spirits of governing’ and the management of New Zealand-based Samoan youth offender cases / Tamasailau M. Suaalii-Sauni, 2006
  • The pedagogy of graduate supervision: Figuring the relations between supervisor and student / Barbara Grant, 2005
  • O le a'oa'oina o le gagana, faitautusi ma le tusitusi i le a'oga a le faifeau: Literacy education, language, reading and writing in the pastor's school: Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) / Lonise Sera Tanielu, 2004
  • The discursive production of truancy in 1990's New Zealand / Susan Frances Brodie Jacka, 2003
  • Out for the count : the last alternative state high school in New Zealand / Karen Vaughan, 2001
  • Haere tahi taua : an account of aitanga in Maori struggle for schooling / Kuni Elaine Hineatauira Kaa Jenkins, 2000
  • Pedagogical possibilities for Tongan students in New Zealand secondary schooling: Tuli ke ma'u hono ngaahi malie / Linita Manu'atu, 2000
  • All the better to see you with my dear: the discursive production of body image in psychological and popular texts / Sylvia Kathleen Blood, 1998
  • Safe Sexual Freedoms: A New Narrative for an Age of Risk / Allanah Ryan, 1997



  • 2004 - Jean Herbison Award, New Zealand Association for Research in Education, November
  • 2007 - Voted the Leading Symposium at British Educational Association (BERA) Conference, September
  • 2011 - McKenzie Award for significant contribution to New Zealand education research, New Zealand Association for Research in Education, November
  • 2012 - Faculty of Education Postgraduate Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2012 - University of Auckland Teaching Excellence Award for Postgraduate Research Supervision
  • 2012 - Winner (with Kuni Jenkins), Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Award for Best Non-Fiction book for Words Between Us
  • 2012 - Winner (with Kuni Jenkins), PANZ Book Design Award, Pearson Award for Best Educational Book for Words Between Us
  • 2012 - Winner (with Kuni Jenkins), CLNZ (Copyright Licensing New Zealand) Educational Publishing Awards: Best Book in Higher Education Publishing for Words Between Us
  • 2013 - National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award  
  • 2014 - Dame Joan Metge Medal, New Zealand Royal Society
  • 2017 - Shortlisted New Zealand Heritage Book Award for Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds
  • 2018 - Winner, Ockham New Zealand Book Award (Illustrated Non-fiction) for Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds (with Kuni Kaa Jenkins)
  • 2018 - Dame Joan Metge Medal Committee, Royal Society of New Zealand
  • 2018 - Awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), for services to education and sociology research
  • 2018 - Finalist, W.H. Oliver Prize (Best Book) on New Zealand History for Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds


Coordinator, Te Puna Wānanga doctoral academic writing programme

Leader: Te Akoranga Kairangi programme (cultural training for senior leaders)

Cohort leader group member: EdD (2021) Indigenous Methodologies


Areas of expertise

  • Maori-Pakeha educational relationships
  • Cross-cultural pedagogies
  • Post-structuralist theory and schooling
  • Indigenous studies in education
  • ‘New materialisms’ and education
  • Academic writing

Committees/Professional groups/Services


2020 JONES, A. This Pākehā Life: An Unsettled Memoir. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 240pp.

2017 HOSKINS, TK., & JONES, A. (Eds.) Critical Conversations in Kaupapa Māori. Wellington: Huia Publishers. 228pp.

2017 JONES, A. JENKINS, K.  Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 288pp.  

2011 JONES, A., JENKINS, K. Words Between Us: He korero – First Māori-Pākehā Conversations on Paper. Huia Publishers, Wellington, New Zealand 247pp.

2009 JONES, A., MIDDLETON, S. (Eds.) The Kiss and the Ghost: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand. Rotterdam: Sense Publications; Wellington: NZCER Press 138 pp.

2001 JONES, A. (Ed.) Touchy Subject: Teachers Touching Children. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 128 pp.

2000 JONES, A., HERDA, P., SUAALII, T. (Eds.) Bitter Sweet: Indigenous Women in the Pacific. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 159 pp.

2000 MARSHALL, J., COXON, E., JENKINS, K., JONES, A. Politics, Policy, Pedagogy: Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 219 pp.

1995 JONES, A., MORRIS MATTHEWS, K., MARSHALL, J., SMITH, L., SMITH, G. Myths and Realities: Schooling in New Zealand. Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, revised second edition, 237 pp.

1992 MIDDLETON, S., JONES, A. (Eds.) Women and Education in Aotearoa Vol. 2. Wellington, Bridget Williams Books (reprinted Auckland University Press, 1997), 249 pp.

1992 JONES, A., MC CULLOCH, G., MARSHALL, J., SMITH, L., SMITH, G. Myths and Realities: Schooling in New Zealand. Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 179 pp.

1991 JONES, A. “At School I’ve got a Chance” Culture/Privilege: Pacific Islands and Pakeha Girls at School. Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 189 pp.

1990 MIDDLETON, S., CODD, J., & JONES, A. (Eds.) New Zealand Education Policy Today: Critical Perspectives. Wellington, Allen and Unwin, 244 pp.

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.
  • Various authors (2012). He aha te kaupapa? Critical conversations in Kaupapa Māori. New Zealand Journal of Educational StudiesLower Hutt, New Zealand.
  • Jones, A., & Jenkins, K. (2011). Words Between Us: He Korero - First Maori-Pakeha Conversations on Paper. Wellington, New Zealand: Huia Publishers. Pages: 246.
  • Jones, A., & Middleton, S (Eds.) (2009). The Kiss and the Ghost: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Pages: 139.
  • Jones, A., & with Jenkins, K. (2008). Rethinking collaboration: Working the indigene-colonizer hyphen. In N. Denzin, Y. Lincoln, L. T. Smith (Eds.) Handbook of Critical Indigenous Methodologies (pp. 471-486). New York: Sage Publications.
  • Jones, A. (2006). Sex, fear and pedagogy: Sylvia Ashton-Warner's infant room. In J. P. Robertson, C. McConaghy (Eds.) Provocations: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and Excitability in Education (pp. 15-32). New York: Peter Lang.


Contact details

Alternative contact

Mobile: 0211390957


Office hours

Feel free to email me for availability:


Primary office location

Level G, Room G04
New Zealand

Web links