Dr Denise Atkins

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Senior Lecturer, Discipline Leader for Health and Physical Education

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext. 7616. +6421456509

Email: denise.atkins@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:

90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote

Postal Address:

School of Sport and Recreation
AUT University
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

Links to relevant web pages:



Diploma of Teaching - Physical Education (Christchurch College of Education)

Memberships and Affiliations:

Member of PENZ, Auckland Executive member of PENZ, Member of NZHEA, Member of NZARE.  Chairperson of WaterSafe Auckland Inc (WAI). Board member ABSL


Denise is a senior lecturer and academic development advisor in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at AUT University.  She is a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching award and undertakes research in the fields of Health & Physical Education, pedagogy, play and children’s voice.  As a previous senior advisor with the Ministry of Education Denise worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health and SportNZ (formerly SPARC) and was responsible for implementing the Physical Activity Initiative (2005-2007).  Denise has had experience leading and managing teams working both in schools and with teachers in professional development.

Teaching Areas:

Health Education, Physical Education, Pedagogy, Coaching.

Research Areas:

Body pedagogies, Health Education, Physical Education, Socio-critical pedagogies, curriculum theory and practice, children’s voice, play, qualitative and ethnographic methods.

Research Summary:

Denise’s research interest focuses on making sense of the multiple and complex influences that impact upon how children see their bodies and their selves in schooling, namely through curriculum teaching and learning.


Oldham, A., & Atkins, D. (2016). "In through and about movement" as a means to understanding constraints in PE.. In PENZ (Ed.), NATIONAL PENZ/EONZ/NZHEA Conference. http://www.penz.org.nz/conference-programme.php?page=programme&abstract=4
Millar, S., Walter,, S., Duncan, D., Atkins, D., & McPhee, J. (2017). Real play: A New Zealand case study. International Journal of Play.
Duncan, S., McPhee, J., Walters, S. R., Atkins, D., & Millar, S. -K. (2016). Real Play Families: Executive Report. Auckland: Human Potential Centre, AUT University.
Atkins, D. (2016). Using the spiral of inquiry to consider HPE teaching in primary schools. In PENZ National Conference 2016. http://http//penz.org.nz/conference-programme.php?page=programme&abstract=48. Palmerston North. Retrieved from http://http//penz.org.nz/conference-programme.php?page=programme&abstract=48
Atkins, D. (2015). Body Pedagogies: How children come to understand their bodies and their selves during and following a health intervention in a New Zealand primary school. (Doctoral Thesis, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://aut.researchgateway.ac.nz/handle/10292/9253
Atkins, D. (2014). Body pedagogies - an investigation of the ways in which children come to understand their bodies. University of Auckland, Auckland , NZ.
Atkins, D. (2014). Educating Bodies: an investigation of the ways in which children come to understand their bodies. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Fleming, J. M., & Atkins, D. (2013). Enhancing preparation of tomorrow’s teachers through symbiotic cooperative education relationships.. In J. Quay, & A. Mooney (Eds.), A defining time in Health and Physical Education: Proceedings of the 28th ACHPER International Conference (pp. 46-53). Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.achper.org.au/documents/item/266
Atkins, D. (2013). Body Pedagogies – interpreting how children understand their bodies. Wellington.
Atkins, D., Fleming, J., & Farnham, A. (2013). Enhancing the preparation of tomorrows teachers through symbiotic cooperative education relationships. In PENZ National Conference: Creating moves and grooves in physical education. Wellington, New Zealand.
Atkins, D. (2012). How do children understand their bodies?. AIESEP, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Atkins, D., & & Stewart, L. (2011). Road Safety Education in the Health and Physical Education learning area. Auckland. Retrieved from http://aucklandpenz.wikispaces.com/
Millar, S. K., & Atkins, D. (2010). Backyard Games: The fun, the thrill, the key skills, it all starts here. In Backyard Legends Conference. AUT University, Auckland.


Fellow of PENZ, Vice Chancellor Award for Teaching Excellence (AUT, 2016)