Associate Professor Elizabeth Mary Rata

PhD, MEd, BA


Elizabeth Rata is Associate Professor in the School of Critical Studies in Education at the Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland and Director of the Knowledge and Education Research Unit (KERU).  She was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Georgetown University, Washington, DC in 2003. Her major works are: A Political Economy of Neotribal Capitalism, 2000, and The Politics of Knowledge in Education, 2012. She is a sociologist of education with research interests into the effects of global economic change on ethnicity, socio-economic class, higher education, and curriculum knowledge.

Elizabeth Rata's speeches

Research | Current

  • Neotribal capitalism
  • Higher education
  • Curriculum knowledge
  • Ethnic politics
  • Social realism

Teaching | Current

Postgraduate supervision


  • Lourie, Megan: Symbolic Policy: A study of biculturalism and Maori language education in New Zealand. Ph.D.
  • Veronica Loveday. Female Motivation to succeed in secondary school history. M.Ed.
  • Zahera Alanfooz. Teaching geography using the New Zealand national curriculum standards. B.A. Hons.
  • Kevin Kennan, Spiritual Intelligence and Imagination in New Zealand Students, Ed.D. 2010
  • Benade, Leon: From Technicians to Teachers: The NZ Curriculum and the Development of Ethical Teacher Professionality.  Ed.D. 2012
  • McPhail, Graham: The Canon or the Kids: Teachers & the recontextualistion of classical and popular music in the secondary school curriculum. Ed.D. 2012
  • Bandara, Mallika: The feminisation of migration: Sri Lankan women professionals in New Zealand. PhD. 2012.
  • Ramsay, Athlene: Teachers Choosing to teach in Poor Areas. M.Ed. 2011.
  • Couch, Daniel: New Zealand Education’s Progressive Origin: 1937 to 1944 – The Seven Years from Idea to Orthodoxy. M.Ed. 2011
  • Mutepha, Bishard: The Experience of Zimbabwean Families in New Zealand Master of Education dissertation. M.Ed. 2010
  • Bandara, M. Cultural Identity and Change: The Experience of Migrant Women in New  Zealand. M.Ed.  2007.
  • Burgess, Jill.  Beliefs and Practice: teacher Responses to the Bicultural Requirements in Current  New Zealand Early Education Discourse, M.Ed. 2005.
  • Taoro, Taia. Students’ Explanations of their Truancy Behaviour, M.Ed. 2005.
  • Cheeseman, Linda. Intentions Versus Implementation In the Numeracy Development Projects, M.Ed. 2005.
  • Stierman, Andrew. Research Study, the Virtual Colombo Plan, M.Ed. 2005.
  • Young, Pamela. Where Ta Meets Va, Pacific Island Peoples’ Access to the Creative Industries of New Zealand, Master of Arts in Arts Administration, Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, Auckland, 2002.


  • Anita Taylor: Credit Hunters or Scientists: Students’ Search for Identity, M.Prof.St.
  • Neil Morrow: Subject-Specific Mathematical Vocabulary in Mathematics Lessons. M.Ed.
  • Karen Hale: The Influence of Educational Ideas on Early Childhood Curriculum and Teacher Education Programmes in New Zealand . Ph.D.
  • Alexis Siteine: The Affirmation of Identity in New Zealand Primary Schools. Ph.D.
  • Tauwehe Tamati: The Ara Kahikatea/Trans-acquisitional Approach to English instruction in Kura Kaupapa Māori, Ph.D.
  • Barbara Ormond: Teachers’ Decisions in Determining Critical Knowledge for Secondary School History. Ph.D.
  • Saba Kiani Structural Contradictions and Political Tensions in Iranian Higher Education: The case of English for Academic Purposes Programmes. Ph.D.
  • Daniel Couch: The Role of Higher Education in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, Ph.D.



  • British Educational Research Journal Paper of the Year Award, 2012
  • Fulbright Senior Scholarship, Georgetown University, 2003
  • Faculty of Education Excellence in supervision Award, 2013
  • Excellence in Tertiary Teaching Award, Auckland College of Education, 2002
  • University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship


Areas of expertise

  • Sociology of Education
  • Ethnic politics
  • Knowledge and Education
  • Politics of knowledge
  • Curriculum theory
  • Higher Education
  • Culture and Identity
  • Educational Policy
  • Maori education
  • Social Realism
  • Neotribal capitalism

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Rata, E., & Taylor, A. (2015). Knowledge Equivalence Discourse in New Zealand Secondary School Science. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 50 (2), 223-238. 10.1007/s40841-015-0020-1
  • McPhail, G. J., & Rata, E. (2015). Comparing Curriculum Types: ‘Powerful Knowledge’ and ‘21st Century Learning’. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. 10.1007/s40841-015-0025-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Graham McPhail
  • Rata, E. (2015). A pedagogy of conceptual progression and the case for academic knowledge. British Educational Research Journal, n/a-n/a. 10.1002/berj.3195
  • Lourie, M., & Rata, E. (2014). A critique of the role of culture in Maori education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35 (1), 19-36. 10.1080/01425692.2012.736184
  • Rata, E. M., & Barrett, B. (2014). Introduction: Knowledge and the Future of the Curriculum. In B. Barrett, E. Rata (Eds.) Knowledge and the Future of the Curriculum: International Studies in Social Realism (pp. 1-22). Basingstoke, UK; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Rata, E. (2014). The three stages of critical policy methodology: An example from curriculum analysis. Policy Futures in Education, 12 (3), 347-358.
  • Rata, E. (2013). Knowledge and the politics of culture: An example from New Zealand's higher education policy and practice. Anthropological Theory, 13 (4), 329-346. 10.1177/1463499613509993
  • Rata, E., & Tamati, T. (2013). The Effect of Indigenous Politics on English Language Provision in New Zealand’s Māori Schools. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 12 (4), 262-276. 10.1080/15348458.2013.818474

Contact details

  • Media Contact

Primary location

Level 3 , Room 308
New Zealand