Elizabeth was born in Papua New Guinea but moved to Perth when she was four. She moved back and forth from Australia to Papua New Guinea, before meeting a nice Kiwi bloke and settling down in New Zealand in 1981.
Elizabeth studied at the University of Auckland, taking a range of papers including English, Politics and Art History, and completed her Master of Arts in Russian before deciding to help people learn English as a second language.
Her first teaching job was at the Auckland Institute of Studies, as an ESOL teacher, but moved to AUT in 1999 as it offered more of a challenge for her.
Elizabeth is the programme leader for ILN (Intensive Literacy and Numeracy) which is a free semester-long programme that gives refugees and migrants in New Zealand a pathway to study towards a professional career.
Elizabeth is also the Refugee Education Grant Co-ordinator and sits on the Auckland TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) committee.
Having been at AUT for sixteen years, it is fair to say that Elizabeth is passionate about her job.
Elizabeth has been involved in various action research projects within her role as senior lecturer because she says there is a gap in literature.
“Most of my research has been action-based on the students that we teach here, to try and make teaching more available.
“There was very limited literature on teaching refugees in New Zealand, especially in reading and writing for refugees beginning literacy. How do you get someone who has no language skills at all to write in English?”
Elizabeth’s research is told through a teaching perspective that informs different strategies and is based on her own experiences.
Read a paper co-authored by Elizabeth: ‘I study long, long time in my language, so I never forget it’: reading and first language maintenance.