Dr Esther Mary Fitzpatrick

Diploma of Teaching (Primary) - Waikato Teachers College B.Ed (Education and Geography) - Waikato University Post-Graduate Diploma in Education - The University of Auckland 2011 M Ed (Hons) – The University of Auckland 2016 PhD The University of Auckland


Esther is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice and a Director of the Narrative and Metaphor Special Interest Network.  She uses various critical innovative pedagogies, including writing as a method of inquiry, in her teaching and research. She has published on issues of racial-ethnic identity, Pākehā identity, neoliberal impacts on academic identity, critical family history, critical autoethnography and arts-based methodologies. Her current research explores emerging identities in postcolonial societies, and ‘culturally responsive pedagogy’ in practice. Esther has published in Qualitative Inquiry, Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, and Art Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal. She has recently co-edited two books: Fitzpatrick, E. & Fitzpatrick, K. (Eds) (2020). Poetry, method and Education Research: Doing critical, decolonising and political inquiry. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, and Farquhar, S. & Fitzpatrick, E. (Eds) (2019). Innovations in Narrative and Metaphor: Methodologies and Practices. Singapore: Springer. 

Previous professional experience

  • Hostel Manager/Counsellor for youth
  • Primary Teacher, Years 0 to 8 (Musselburgh;Dunedin, Maungawhau; Auckland, Titirangi; Auckland, Henderson Central; Auckland)
  • Preschool Manager: Royal Oak preschool; Auckland
  • Lecturer: Centre for Professional Inquiry; Auckland College of Education

Research | Current

Process drama as an effective pedagogical tool.

Critical Methodologies: Narrative Inquiry, A/r/tography, Duoethnography, Autoethnography, Performance Ethnography, Poetry, Visual, Creative writing.

Pākehā identity

Postcolonial white identities


Imposter syndrome and academic identity

Immigrant identity 


Teaching | Current

Reflective, quality teaching and learning

Educational Psychology

Professional practice

ARTS-based pedagogy/methodology

Diversity and Ethnicity

Culturally responsive pedagogy

Postgraduate supervision



Masters thesis to completion 

Lyda Neang  (2020) Students’ perspectives on the importance of ‘student voice’ in Cambodian Higher Education: Teaching and Learning. 

Amena Khanam (2020) Achieving higher proficiency in English as a means for better prospects for women in a Bangladeshi context: A critical autoethnographic exploration of a Postgraduate student. 

Beate Wiebel (2020) A sense of belonging: International secondary students’ experiences of ‘belonging’ in their temporary boarding house. 

Gabriella Foreman-Brown (2020) Practicing the university differently: A creative and critical autoethnographic response from within the neoliberal university. 

Lauren Willing (2020) More-than-inclusion, critiquing machine: Teaching diversity in early childhood education, with Foucault. 

Shu Zhu (2020) A narrative inquiry on the relationship between beliefs about self-efficacy, strategies for improvement, and academic achievement of doctoral students. 

Dawn Chen (2019) A narrative investigation of the influence of cultural identity on the success of high-achieving postgraduate students. 

Ruby Fanyuan Cheng (2019)  Drama and Dance in New Zealand Primary Schools. 

Lan Wang (2019) High-School classes in China preparing students for successful overseas Tertiary study. 

Soyon Park (2019)  Personal epistemology and the role of Higher Education: An autoethnographic exploration of postgraduate students. 

Colette Clarke (2018) What influences teachers practice when implementing new strategies from a professional development programme for literacy? 

Rosamund Heney (2018) Generative Literacies within Arts Therapeutic practice (Whitecliffe)

George Dumitrache (2018)  Between theory and memory: Negotiating a new cultural identity as an immigrant teacher in New Zealand. 

Mihaela Enache (2017) Becoming teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand: A collaborative autoethnographic study about Romanian-born immigrant teacher identity and practice. 

Julie Brien (2017) Pākehā teachers and student relationships in the culturally responsive classroom. 

Gurdev Kaur Pritam Singh (2017) Leadership opportunities and immigrant women of colour in New Zealand. 

Dave Wileman (2016) Effective methods of engaging at-risk pre-adolescent youth in mathematics. 

Desiree McNie (2015) Emotion in teaching and why is it important for leaders of educational initiatives in schools to consider?  

Anna Taylor (2015) The mentoring merry-go-round: An auto-ethnographic study on the differing perceptions of learning conversations between pre-service teachers and their mentors.

Virginia Bace (2014)  Drama pedagogy and enhancement of student motivation. 

Jocelyn Hair (2014) What is the role of emotion in adult learning? 


Current Masters students

Mindy Catt (MSCL) Young people, arts and the community: How can teaching practice in this context better theoretical ideals.

Abby Madden-Smith (MEd) It was my privilege: The decolonising impact that Māori bilingual education can have on Pākehā identity.


Doctoral completions

Sarah Probine (2020). Examining the in-between: Contextual influences on how young children learn through the visual arts. (Jill Smith main supervisor)


Current Doctoral students

Ingrid Wang: Re-membering identity: An arts-based critical autoethnographic exploration of being a New Zealand Chinese Therapist.

Mihaela Enache: Crossing borders, shifting lives: immigrant early childhood teachers’ autoethnographic stories about teaching and living in New Zealand.

Julie Brien: Caught up in knots – becoming a culturally responsive pedagogue. 

Anh Ngo Quynh Phan: Moving through space, pausing in place(s): Transnational experiences of identities (re)negotiation, sense of belonging and home for Vietnamese Doctoral sojourner’s.

Sudheera Nanayakkara: Following dreams – Sri Lankan immigrants’ and their children’s perception of identity and cultural values.

Xiangchen Zhang: Identity crisis, reconciliation and reconstruction: A narrative inquiry into experiences of novice English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers in Chinese universities.




Course Director: EDUC 105: Teaching - Tales and Traditions

Course Director: EDPROFST 755: Professional Inquiry

Course Co-oridnator: EDPROF 702: 21st Century Teaching

Areas of expertise

Arts-based methods

Critical Autoethnography

Pākehā identity


Committees/Professional groups/Services

Research chair: Learning, Development, and Professional Practice

CAE: Critical Autoethnography group (International research group - committee member)

CEAD: Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines (International research group - committee member)

NAMSIN: Narrative and Metaphor Special Interest Network (Co-director)

CRUAT: Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre (The University of Auckland - committee member)

CLeaR Fellowhip: Writing, writing everywhere 2017


University Committees served on:

  • Faculty of Education: Bachelor of Education (Teaching) First Year Coordinators Commitee
  • Faculty of Education: Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Qualification Committee
  • School Identity Project

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.
  • Farquhar, S., & Fitzpatrick, E. (2019). Innovations in Narrative and Metaphor: Methodologies and Practices. In S. L. Farquhar, E. Fitzpatrick (Eds.) Innovations in Narrative and Metaphor: Methodologies and Practices (pp. 15-28). Singapore: Springer.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46526
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sandy Farquhar
  • Fitzpatrick, E. (2018). A story of becoming: Entanglement, settler ghosts, and postcolonial counterstories. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 18 (1), 43-51. 10.1177/1532708617728954
  • Fitzpatrick, E. (2018). Hauntology and Pākehā: Disrupting the notion of homogeneity. In Z. L. Rocha, M. Webber (Eds.) Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages, ethnic identity and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 193-213). Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39849
  • Fitzpatrick, E., & Bell, A. (2016). Summoning up the ghost with needle and thread. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 5 (2), 6-29. 10.1525/dcqr.2016.5.2.6.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Avril Bell
  • Heyward, P., & Fitzpatrick, E. (2016). Speaking to the ghost: An autoethnographic journey with Elwyn. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 48 (7), 697-710. 10.1080/00131857.2015.1100976
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paul Heyward
  • Fitzpatrick, E. M. (2015). It’s a tricky business: Performing poetry with the Ghost. In M. Anderson, O'Connor P (Eds.) Applied Theatre: Research: Radical departures (pp. 207-225). London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Related URL.
  • Fitzpatrick, E. (2015). Learning to live. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 14 (1), 49-51.
  • Fitzpatrick, E. (2014). Embodiment and education. In O'Connor P, K. Fitzpatrick (Eds.) Education and the body (pp. 127-138). Auckland, New Zealand: Edify Ltd..

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 111
New Zealand