Kath Godber

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Email: kath.godber@aut.ac.nz

Academic appointments:

  • Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland (2013 - ongoing)
  • Programme Leader - Certificate in Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology (2018 - ongoing)


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Auckland University of Technology
  • Master of Education (endorsed in PE), University of Auckland


My research interests focus on the life-worlds of elite female performers, specifically those of secondary school age, and the layering of converging and emerging influences synchronous with ecological and social network perspectives. My particular interest in affordance network theory, Granovetter’s interpersonal ties and complexity thinking models have inspired publications for Physical Education New Zealand, APEX: the New Zealand Journal for Gifted Education, and the Routledge Studies in Physical Education and Youth Sport (2013). My recent research towards completing the Doctor of Philosophy degree with the School of Sport & Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, encompassed a short-longitudinal qualitative study including three narrative case studies. The research investigated the attainment levels of female student-athletes in Australasia. The purpose of this research was to raise awareness and to gain insights regarding; the educational needs of young female athletes, the secondary school’s role in offering appropriate provision, and whether the specific needs of the athletes as students and as elite sportswomen, were being met. Current research focuses on 'Healthy body, (un)healthy mind?: Sharing stories of lifesaving serious leisure legacies'. In collaboration with researchers from Griffith University (NSW), NZIS and AUT, our inter-disciplinary study aims to remove the socially constructed stigma attached to the subject of mental illness by (re)presenting depression as an outcome of unsustainable and unhealthy lifestyle choices/habits. To achieve this, we shall discover, document and disseminate the psychosocial health legacies attached to actively engaging in self-fulfilling, self-indulgent, serious leisure lifestyles. We shall also determine and describe the positive and negative affects that can occur as a result of engaging in the systematic pursuit of physical activities that require the development of discipline, dedication, determination and devotion. Finally, from a methodological perspective, we aim to showcase the rich and meaningful learnings that can arise from the creation and consumption of creative analytical practice (CAP).

Research interests:

Youth sport - specifically female student-athletes as they negotiate sporting excellence and academic expectations as teenagers/adolescents.
Complexity - dynamical systems thinking through which to understand and gain insights on how and why athletes organise, manage and cope with daily tasks and challenges
Student-athlete voice - athlete-focused research to provide rich, authentic, meaningful acknowledgment of athlete experiences, perceptions and needs.
Active Ageing Athletes - linked to mental health, Serious Leisure Guilt Syndrome (SLGS) and an autoethnographic methodology.

Teaching summary:

Programme leader for Certificate of Sport and Recreation (CSR), 150-200 pre-degree students per year, at AUT north and south campuses, S1 & S2.
Paper leader SPOR408 Realising Potential - introduction to principles of coaching, teaching and leading as part of the CSR.
Lecturer SPOR503 - Contemporary Studies in Sport and Recreation. 1st year core Bachelor of Sport and Recreation ( BSR).
Lecturer SPOR609 - Teaching, Leading and Coaching, 2nd year core BSR, S1 north campus
Lecturer SPOR601 - HPE Principles and Practice, 2nd year BSR HPE pathway, S2 south campus.
Supervisor 517001 - Cooperative I (S1 or S2)
Supervisor 517002 - Cooperative II (S1 or S2)

Fields of research:

  • Human Movement and Sports Science
  • Sport and Leisure Management

Professional activities:

Featured professional activities

    Appointment, affiliation, and membership

    • Preventing Harrassment Contact, Auckland University of Technology (2019 - 2021)
    • School of Sport and Recreation (Certificate) Working Group member, AUT CERT Working Group (2019 - ongoing)
    • School of Sport and Recreation representative (Certificate) on the Board of Studies, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences (2018 - ongoing)

Research outputs:

Featured research outputs

  • Godber, K. (2018). Sport attainment and education sustainment of talented female secondary school athletes in New Zealand. (AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10292/11524

Journal articles

  • Godber, K. (2012). The life-worlds of elite young athletes: A lens on their school/sport balancing act. APEX: The New Zealand Journal of Gifted Education, 17(1).

  • Godber, K. (2012). Policy, practice and performance. Do the Ps add up? A fictional account of a staffroom conversation. New Zealand Physical Educator -Physical Education New Zealand, 45(2).

Book chapters

  • Ovens, A., & Godber, K. (2013). Affordance networks and the complexity of learning. In A. Ovens, T. Hopper, & J. Butler (Eds.), Complexity thinking in physical education: Reframing curriculum, pedagogy and research (pp. 55-66). London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203126455

Conference contributions

  • Godber, K. (2019). Sport attainment and education sustainment of female student athletes in New Zealand. In World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019. Dunedin: Univerity of Otago, Dunedin, NZ. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/issa-2019/index.html

  • Godber, K. (2015). Talented young sportswomen in New Zealand: Pilot study to explore the consistency and robustness of a qualitative research methodology. In Australian Association for Rsearch in Education - University of Queensland Health and Physical Education Conference. Brisbane.


  • Godber, K. (2018). Sport attainment and education sustainment of talented female secondary school athletes in New Zealand. (AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10292/11524

  • Godber, K. (2011). The Identification of and Provision for Talented Female Athletes in New Zealand Secondary Schools.. (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand).