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 Pakeha. I have written (with Kuni Kaa Jenkins) two books and a number of articles on the relationships that established the first school in New Zealand (the whakapapa of the first school). My previous writing project was about Tuai, from Ngare Raumati, who taught the first New Zealand school teacher Thomas Kendall the Māori language, and who travelled to England in 1818 and witnessed the Industrial Revolution. I am currently writing an autoethnography that traces Māori-Pākehā relations in New Zealand over the last 65 years, using my own life as the main storyline.


Teaching | Current

  • Monthly academic writing workshops for postgraduate students and staff in Te Puna Wānanga. Email for current timetable.
  • Regular 'cultural training' programmes for non-Maori, offering introductory Maori language teaching and discussion of the relevance of the Treaty today, as well as a focus on the complexities of Māori-Pākehā relations. Email for current timetable.
  • I offer lectures in a range of Faculty courses on: 'The first school in New Zealand'; 'The period before the Treaty'.

Postgraduate supervision

Current doctoral thesis students

  • Lindsay Fish  - Critical theory / Critical practice: Teachers reflecting to make space. PhD
  • Whetuu Nathan - Māori and Pacific educational scholars theorising relationality, EdD
  • Andrew Madjar - Teachers' lived experience of 'moral distress' in pedagogical situations PhD
  • Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu - Connecting Cultural Intelligence with Gifted Pasifika Students PhD
  • Rewa Paewai - Thinking and being Māori: Ontological struggles and education. PhD

Completed doctoral students

  • 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 - Winner, National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award  
  • 2014 - Dame Joan Metge Medal, New Zealand Royal Society
  • 2018 - Winner, Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds (with Kuni Kaa Jenkins)


Cohort coordinator, Te Puna Wānanga Doctoral Cohort


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

Reviewer for:

  • AlterNative
  • Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
  • British Educational Research Journal
  • Critical Studies in Education
  • Curriculum Inquiry
  • Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 
  • Education Theory
  • Gender and Education 
  • History of Education Review
  • International Journal of Qualitative Studies
  • Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online. 
  • MAI Review
  • National Women’s Studies Association Journal 
  • New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies
  • Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies 
  • Teaching Education

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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