Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick

PhD, BSpLS (Hons), BEd, DipTchg


Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick is in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education and Social Work. She specialises in 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

  • Critical approaches to health and physical education
  • Issues of culture, class, gender and ethnicity
  • Youth perspectives
  • Critical ethnography
  • Youth participatory methods
  • Narrative and poetic representation in educational research

Teaching | Current

  • EDCURRIC 433: The Health Educator
  • EDCURRIC 430: Curriculum Issues in Health and Physical Education
  • EDCURRIC 233: Youth Health Education
  • EDCURRIC 333: Advanced Youth Health Education
  • EDUC 763: Sexuality and health education (Postgraduate)

Postgraduate supervision

Doctor of Philosophy


  • Esther Fitzpatrick: How to enable Pākehā children to construct a positive ethnic identity; exploring teachers’ beliefs, perceptions, and practice. (supervised with A/P Peter O'Connor).

In progress

  • 2017: Vibha Tirumalai: Sexuality education and culture: Understanding the experiences of New Zealand Indian youth and parents. (supervising with Prof Louisa Allen)
  • 2016: Etsuko Sakairi: Sexuality: The experiences of people with disabiities in contemporary Japan. (supervising with Dr Jan Wilson)
  • 2015: Dillon Landi: Learning to be queer: Identities and embodiment in physical education (supervising with A/P Richard Pringle)
  • 2015: Anna Vasilieva: Women, beauty and the media (supervising with A/P Toni Bruce)
  • 2015: Jean Allen: 'Other' negotiations of wellbeing: Youth views of holistic health across cultural contexts (supervising with Dr Darren Powell)
  • 2014: Hayley McGlashan: LQBTQ students in health and PE  (supervising with A/P Richard Pringle)

Doctor of Education

  • 2015: Maia Hetaraka: Niho Tao - The tip of the spear: Cultural competence in New Zealand education (supervising with Prof. Cindy Kiro)

Master of Education


  • 2017: Grant Angus: "Sir, can we do practical today? How Pasifika students conceptualise physical education. Lead supervisor with Dr Rae Si'ilata and Hayley McGlashan
  • 2014: Jean Allen: Who represents the southside? Youth perspectives and newsmedia representations of South Auckland. Co-supervisor with Assoc. Prof. Toni Bruce.
  • 2011: 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


  • 2013: Hayley McGlashan: Dare to be deviant: Gay males reflective experiences of physical education
  • 2012: Annette Pitavao: Mixed heritage and identity: Maori and Pasifika youth in tertiary education
  • 2012: 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).


Areas of expertise

  • Health education curriculum and pedagogy
  • Physical education curriculum and pedagogy
  • Critical approaches to health and physical education
  • Youth perspectives
  • Critical ethnography

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (2013-2014)
  • Member of the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Research Committee (2014)
  • Member of the editorial board for the international journal Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy (SAGE, UK)
  • Member of the editorial board for the Journal of Physical Education New Zealand

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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
  • 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
  • Fitzpatrick, K. (2018). Sexuality education in New Zealand: a policy for social justice?. Sex Education, 1-9. 10.1080/14681811.2018.1446824
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & McGlashan, H. (2018). “Some teachers are homophobic, you know, because they just don’t know any better”: Students reimagining power relations in schools. In P. Aggleton, R. Cover, D. Leahy, D. Marshall, M. L. Rasmussen (Eds.) Youth, Sexuality and Sexual Citizenship (pp. 263-277). Routledge. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hayley McGlashan
  • Fitzpatrick, K. (2018). Poetry in motion: In search of the poetic in health and physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 23 (2), 123-134. 10.1080/13573322.2016.1155149
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Allen, J. M. (2017). Tensions in ethnographic research: Combining critical ethnography and decolonising methods. The Ethnographic Edge, 1 (1), 47-59. 10.15663/tee.v1i1.4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jean Allen
  • McGlashan, H., & Fitzpatrick, K. (2017). LGBTQ youth activism and school: Challenging sexuality and gender norms. Health Education, 117 (5), 485-497. 10.1108/HE-10-2016-0053
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hayley McGlashan
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Burrows, L. (2017). Critical health education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Sport, Education and Society, 22 (5), 552-568. 10.1080/13573322.2015.1131154


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 134
New Zealand

Web links