Dr Rae Si'ilata

PhD, MALangTchg, BEd, DipTESSOL, Dip Tchg


Ko Tararua te pae maunga. Ko te Ōhau, ko te Ōtaki nga awa. Ko Tainui, ko Te Arawa nga waka. Ko Ngati Raukawa, ko Tūhourangi nga iwi. Ko Ngāti Kikopiri te hapū. Ki te taha o toku matua, no Otaki ahau. Ki te taha o toku whaea, no Fiti, no Savusavu ahau. Ki te taha o toku tane me aku tamariki, kei te hono ahau ki Hamoa.

Tena koutou katoa. Ni sa bula vinaka. Malo le soifua.

Rae Siilata is a Lecturer in Biliteracy-Pasifika Education/TESSOL in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Rae's recent research interests centre on effective bilingual and biliteracy practice for Pasifika learners in primary schooling, and on facilitation of teacher professional learning and development (PLD) in linguistically and culturally sustaining pedagogies. In 2014 she completed her doctoral studies on Pasifika learner success in English-medium education.

Research | Current

Research Interests:

  • Bilingualism and Biliteracy
  • Bilingual Education, Second Language Acquisition, Translanguaging
  • Applied Linguistics in English-Medium and Pasifika-Medium Education


  • Researching effective utilisation of Pasifika dual language/bilingual texts in English-medium junior classrooms (2014-2019).
  • Researching mixed Māori/Pacific identities (2017-2019).
  • Researching effective PLD facilitation for linguistically and culturally responsive teaching and learning. A colloborative project with the Consortium for Professional Learning (CPL), Professor Helen Timperley, Dr. Deidre Le Fevre, Dr. Fiona Ell, Mrs. Kaye Twyford, Dr. Sarah Mayo (2014-2016).
  • Researching the experiences of language teachers in the classroom: Beyond the regular interview. A collaborative project with Dr Susan Gray, Dr Margaret Kitchen, and Maree Jeurissen (2015-2019).
  • Researching effective language and literacy learning through the Arts with Pasifika Arts teachers: Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF) project: 'Teaching Past the Frangipani: Empowering Pasifika Arts in Niu Sila Schools', with Dagmar Dyck, Fa'afetai Amituana'i, Lily Laita, Viliami Telefoni (2016-2017).
  • Researching effective teaching of Pasifika learners in primary schooling with Prof. Judy Parr, Prof. Helen Timperley, Kate Dreaver and Kane Meissel, commissioned by Learning Media and the Ministry of Education (2009-2014)

Teaching | Current

  • EDPROFST 226 Introduction to Bilingual Education
  • EDPROFST 227 TESSOL: Language Learning Needs
  • EDPROFST 373 TESSOL: Language Learning in the New Zealand Context
  • EDPROFST 374 TESSOL: Language Focused Curriculum
  • EDPROFST 377 Bilingual Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • EDPROFST 378 Critical Literacy
  • EDPROFST 700: Contemporary Pedagogies
  • EDPROFST 705 Issues in Literacy Education

Postgraduate supervision

Bilingualism and biliteracy in dual medium and English medium settings, indigenous education, second language acquistion, Pasifika/Pacific Education, linguistically and culturally sustaining/revitalising pedagogies, reciprocal family-school partnerships

Doctoral Supervisions

  • 2016 - Jacqueline Tutavake, "Found in translation: The pathway to outcomes in the Cook Islands", PhD co-supervision with Dr. Rebecca Jesson.

Masters' Supervisions

  • 2019: Daniel Samuela, Samoan secondary students' navigation of modern learning environments, co-supervision with Dr. Tanya Wendt Samu
  • 2019: Nesa Prasad, Bilingual resource development for Samoan learners, co-supervision with AsProf. Mei Lai.
  • 2019: Akanese Esau-Taefu, Biliteracy development in a Samoan bilingual classroom: Teaching writing to Year 4 to 8 students in Samoan and English, co-supervision with Dr. Margaret Kitchen.
  • 2018: Mayleen Gautusa, Influence of leadership on literacy outcomes for Pacific learners in Auckland primary schools, co-supervision with Jacoba Matapo.
  • 2018: Emma Quigan, Indigenous knowledge with modern understanding: Supporting parents to grow great communicators by drawing on their inherent strengths, co-supervision with Prof. Janet Gaffney.
  • 2018: Vau Peseta, Samoan teachers’ perceptions of learners’ home literacy practices: Making connections for classroom literacy learning, co-supervision with Dr. Alexis Siteine.
  • 2018: Willie Swann, "Culturally responsive leadership practices that enable Senior Samoan students to succeed in culturally sustaining ways at a Catholic school", co-supervision with Dr. Deidre Le Fevre [Completed]
  • 2017: Grant Angus, "Sir can we do a practical today? How Pasifika students conceptualise Physical Education an Ethnographic study", co-supervision with AsProf. Katie Fitzpatrick & Hayley McGlashan [Completed].
  • 2017: Deepika Chand, "The influence of language on Pasifika students’ science understanding", co-supervision with As.Prof. Bev France [Completed].
  • 2017: Heather Smaill, "Teaching with digital tools in the linguistically and culturally responsive literacy programme", co-supervision with Prof. Judy Parr [Completed].
  • 2017: Jason Swann, "Reflecting on Māori Achievement Collaboratives (MAC) for Effective Pasifika School Leadership", co-supervision with As.Prof. Melinda Webber [Completed].
  • 2016 - Jacinta Loto, "To read is to understand: Literacy teachers exemplary teachers use to teach Pasifika students", co-supervision with Professor Janet Gaffney. [Completed]
  • 2016 - Faleata Ualesi, "Possibilities for Improving Pasifika Achievement: A duoethnographic talanoa study", co-supervision with Dr. Deidre Le Fevre. [Completed]
  • 2016 - Fima Fa'aete'ete, "Investigating high achieving Samoan bilingual girls' perceptions of effective teacher practice in Geography", co-supervision with Dr. Aaron Wilson. [Completed]
  • 2016 - Martha Aseta, "Samoan constructs of giftedness and talent within a Samoan bilingual educational context", co-supervision with Dr. Catherine Rawlinson. [Completed]
  • 2016 - Charlotte Gipps, "Exploring the alignment between home-school partnership and the social studies curriculum in a New Zealand secondary school", supervision with Dr. Tanya Wendt Samu. [Completed]



  • Project Director: Pasifika Teacher Aide Project (Ministry of Education contract), 2005-2019
  • Project Director: Pasifika Early Literacy Project (Ministry of Education contract), 2018-2019
  • Project Director: Pasifika New Entrant Project (Ministry of Education contract), 2014-2017

Areas of expertise

  • Bilingualism and biliteracy
  • Linguistically and culturally sustaining/revitalising pedagogies

Committees/Professional groups/Services


  • Associate Dean Pasifika, 2017-2018

Faculty Committees

  • Member of The University of Auckland Internal Review PBRF Pasifika Panel, 2017-2018
  • Member of The University of Auckland TECEF Governance Board, (AD Pasifika, 2017-2018)
  • Member of the FOEDSW staffing committee (AD Pasifika, 2017-2018)
  • Member of the Senior Leadership Team (AD Pasifika, 2017-2018)
  • Member of the Teaching and Learning Quality committee, on behalf of AD Pasifika (2014-2016)
  • Member of the Education committee, on behalf of AD Pasifika (2016-2017)
  • Member of the panel for Review of the Sport, Health and Physical Education (BSHPE) discipline (2018)
  • Member of interview panels for Lecturer, Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education BSHPE (2017); Practicum Coordinator (CHHSWK, 2017); member of review panel for the Bachelor Sport, Health and Physical Education discipline (2018)
  • Member of the Postgraduate, Research and Education committees with support from Kainga Pasifika members (2017-2018)

National Committees

  • Member, TLRI NZCER Advisory Board (2018-present)
  • Pasifika Caucus representative, New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Council (2013-2017)
  • Pasifika representative, Ministry of Education's National ESOL Advisory Committee (2007-2017)
  • Pasifika representative, Ministry of Education's TESSOL Scholarship Selection Panel (2007-2017)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Si'Ilata R (2018). Multilingual digital translanguaging and storying with New Zealand Pasifika learners. Multilingual Computer Assisted Language Learning (pp. 213-232). 10.21832/BUENDG1480
  • Siilata, R. K. (2017). Raranga Wha: Mana whenua, mana moana and mixedness in a Māori/Pacific whānau. In M. Webber, Z. Rocha (Eds.) Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages, ethnic identity and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 97-116). London, UK: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315309811-6
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43510
  • Siilata, R. (2017). Translanguaging and storying with Pasifika dual language texts. Auckland, New Zealand. Related URL.
  • Siilata, R. K., Samu, T. W., & Siteine, A. (2017). The Va‘atele Framework: Redefining and transforming Pasifika Education. In E. McKinley, L. T. Smith (Eds.) The Handbook of indigenous education (pp. ). Singapore: Springer Nature. 10.1007/978-981-10-1839-8_34-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alexis Siteine, Tanya Samu
  • Siilata, R. Cultural diversity in the New Zealand curriculum [Online video], The New Zealand Curriculum Online, Ministry of Education.
  • Le Fevre, D., Siilata, R., Timperley, H., Twyford, K., Mayo, S., & Ell, F. (2016). Developing linguistically and culturally responsive practice.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40756
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Deidre Le Fevre, Kaye Twyford, Fiona Ell
  • Kitchen, M. C., Jeurissen, M., Siilata, R., & Gray, S. (2015). Diversity is a key to unity?. In J. Morgan (Ed.) The 21st Century Curriculum? (pp. 138-151). Auckland, New Zealand: Edify.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Kitchen
  • Siilata, R. (2014). Va‘a Tele: Pasifika learners riding the success wave on linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23402