Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick

PhD, BSpLS (Hons), BEd, DipTchg


Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick is Head of School of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her research and teaching are focused on health education, physical education, sexuality education, critical pedagogy and critical ethnography.

In addition, her work encompasses urban education, racialisation, gender and sexuality, the work of Bourdieu, and qualitative (particularly, narrative and poetic) approaches to education and social policy.

Katie has published numerous articles and book chapters in these areas, as well as an international award-winning sole authored book (Critical pedagogy, physical education and urban schooling; Peter Lang , 2013), awarded best book by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in 2013. She has also recently co-edited a major new international collection on health education in schools with Prof. Richard Tinning at the University of Queensland (Fitzpatrick & Tinning, 2014) Health education: Critical perspectives (Routledge, UK, 2014). She is co-editor of a new book series with Routledge Critical Studies in Health and Education (with Dr Deana Leahy, Monash University; Prof Jan Wright, University of Wollongong; and AP Michael Gard, University of Queensland) 

In 2014, Katie was awarded a Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, which fosters the development of future research leaders in New Zealand by providing funding of $800,000 over five years. Katie's current research programme for the Rutherford is entitled Rethinking Health Education and Promotion: Health Capital and Diverse Youth.

Katie's professional background began in the 1990s as a secondary teacher, and subsequently Head of Department, in health and physical education (HPE) in South Auckland, New Zealand. She was appointed in 2004 to the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato, where she taught health education and physical education (secondary) teacher education programmes. In 2008, she was also a visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, working in collaboration with Professor Steven Silverman.

She joined the University of Auckland in 2010. In 2014/2015, she was the lead writer for the New Zealand Ministry of Education's revised policy on Sexuality Education. In 2017, Katie was awarded a Beeby Fellowship (NZCER) with Kat Wells (Lynfield College, Auckland). Together with three other authors, they produced a resource for teachers: Mental health education and hauora: Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience and wellbeing. (NZCER press, 2018)


Research | Current

  • Health education in schools
  • Physical education in schools
  • Sexuality education and policy
  • Critical ethnography
  • Poetic research methods

Teaching | Current

Katie contributes to courses in the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education, including:

HEALTHED 302: Leading Health Promotion in Schools

SPORTHPE 303: Health, Fitness and Culture

Postgraduate supervision

Doctor of Philosophy

In progress

  • Danjel HallAffect and innovation: The story of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) before and after the popularisation of ASMR. First supervisor with Dr Susanna Trnka.
  • Vibha Tirumalai. New Zealand Indian communities and sexuality education. First supervisor with Prof. Louisa Allen.
  • Jean Allen. More than my body: Youth negotiations of health across multiple cultures, spaces, identities. First supervisor with Dr Darren Powell.
  • Anna Vasilieya. Young women’s engagement with beauty norms in the media. Co-Supervisor with Prof. Toni Bruce.
  • Hayley McGlashan: Moments of Light: The Resistance of Heteronormative Discourse in Schools. First supervisor with Dr Darren Powell.


  • Esther Fitzpatrick: The Art of Letting the Ghost Come Back: A Serendipitous Tale of Exploring the Complex Issue of Becoming a Pākehā Educator. Co-Supervisor with Prof. Peter O'Connor.
  • Dillon Landi.  LGBTQ Youth, Physical Education, and Sexuality Education: Affect, Curriculum, and (New) Materialism. First supervisor with Associate Prof. Richard Pringle.
  • Etsuko Sakairi. Sexuality: the experiences of people with physical disability in contemporary Japan. Co-supervisor with Dr Jan Wilson
  • Maia Hetaraka: Te Kauae Tuku Iho; Inheriting the Sacred Jawbone: Re-imagining Māori cultural competence in education by engaging the wisdom of indigenous knowledge keepers. First supervisor, with Prof. Cindy Kiro.


Master of Education

In progress

  • Josie Tait: Fundamental Motor Skills, Do they Really Matter? A study of the relationship between fundamental movement skills and reading level. Co-supervisor with Dr John Fenaughty.


  • Grant Angus: "Sir, can we do practical today? How Pasifika students conceptualise physical education. Lead supervisor with Dr Rae Si'ilata and Hayley McGlashan
  • Jason Nottage: Illuminating the 'what' and 'how' of pedagogy: Structure-agency interactions and emergent pedagogies in health and physical education. Co-supervisor with Dr. Darren Powell. 
  • Jean Allen: Who represents the southside? Youth perspectives and newsmedia representations of South Auckland. Co-supervisor with Assoc. Prof. Toni Bruce.
  • Darren Powell: Running in circles: Children’s lessons in PE, fitness and fatness. Co-supervised with AP Richard Pringle

Master of Professional Studies in Education


  • Hayley McGlashan: Dare to be deviant: Gay males reflective experiences of physical education (Winner of The Rae Munroe Award for best Education Masters thesis, NZARE: 2014).
  • Annette Pitavao: Mixed heritage and identity: Maori and Pasifika youth in tertiary education
  • Dan Russell: How does The New Zealand Curriculum represent citizenship and success?


  • Awarded a Beeby Fellowship (NZCER, 2017). This award was shared with Kat Wells, Lynfield College, Auckland.
  • Awarded a 5-year $800,000 Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) Rutherford Discovery Fellowship for Research leadership in Health Education in 2014.
  • Winner of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Outstanding Book Award 2013 for: Critical Pedagogy, Physical Education and Urban Schooling (Peter Lang, New York, 2013)
  • Recipient of the 2010 Sutton-Smith Doctoral Award for best doctoral thesis in education. Awarded by the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE).



Head of School of Curriculum and Pedagogy

Areas of expertise

  • Health education curriculum and pedagogy
  • Physical education curriculum and pedagogy
  • Critical approaches to health and physical education
  • Sexuality education policy and practice 
  • Mental health education practice in schools
  • Critical ethnography
  • Poetry as a research method

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Associate editor of:

  • Sport, Education and Society (Taylor & Francis: IF 2.7).
  •  Frontiers in Sports and Active Living (physical education section)

Editorial board member of


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.
  • Leahy, D., Fitzpatrick, K., & Wright, J. (2020). Social Theory and Health Education Forging New Insights in Research. Routledge. Pages: 264.
  • Fitzpatrick, K. (2019). What happened to critical pedagogy in physical education? An analysis of key critical work in the field. European Physical Education Review, 25 (4), 1128-1145. 10.1177/1356336X18796530
  • Fitzpatrick, K., Leahy, D., Webber, M., Gilbert, J., Lupton, D., & Aggleton, P. (2019). Critical health education studies: Reflections on a new conference and this themed symposium. HEALTH EDUCATION JOURNAL, 78 (6), 621-632. 10.1177/0017896919860882
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Melinda Webber
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Powell, D. (2019). Critical pedagogy and neoliberalism. Movimento, 25 (1).10.22456/1982-8918.96638
  • Fitzpatrick, K. (2019). The edges and the end: On stopping an ethnographic project, on losing the way. Studies in Qualitative Methodology (pp. 165-175). 10.1108/S1042-319220190000017004
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Allen, J. M. (2019). Decolonising Health in Education: Considering Indigenous Knowledge in Policy Documents. In S. Dagkas, L. Azzarito, K. Hylton (Eds.) 'Race', Youth Sport, Physical Activity and Health: Global Perspectives (pp. ). London: Routledge. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jean Allen
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Allen, J. M. (2019). What does critical health education in schools look like? Two ethnographic narratives of critical practice. Health Education Journal, Online first10.1177/0017896919848022
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jean Allen
  • McGlashan, H., & Fitzpatrick, K. (2018). ‘I use any pronouns, and I’m questioning everything else’: transgender youth and the issue of gender pronouns. Sex Education, 18 (3), 239-252. 10.1080/14681811.2017.1419949
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hayley McGlashan


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 134
New Zealand

Web links