Professor Nesta Devine

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Professor of Philosophy of Education

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 7361


Physical Address:

Room AR207, School of Education, AUT North Shore Campus
90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote, Auckland 0627.


  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Diploma of Teaching.

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (past president)
  • AARE SIG, Philosophy of Education
  • NZARE SIG Philosophy of Education
  • NZARE SIG Education Policy
  • Editors' Collective.


Born in England, educated (at public expense) in New Zealand, have four children and seven grandchildren. I was for many years a high school teacher of English, History and Social Studies.

Since 1999 I have been a university teacher, first in initial teacher education (secondary teachers, at the University of Waikato) and more recently in graduate education at Auckland University of Technology.

Teaching Areas:


Ed D
Portfolios I, II, III, IV.

Masters papers:

  • Educational philosophy
  • Education research methods
  • Reflecting on professional practice
  • Leading in diverse cultures and communities.


Completed Ed Ds:

  • Charmaine Bright Counsellors’ strength-based practices in secondary schools: Managing multiple metanarratives.
  • Maurice Alford: Professional conversations: resilient education discourses and teacher positioning through a Wittgensteinian lens.
  • Bin Wu: Whose Culture Has Capital?
  • Georgina Stewart: Kaupapa Māori Science

Completed PhDs:

  • Brian Moreton: It's not fair: Early adolescent boys' perceptions, and judgments of commonsense unfairness.
  • Akata Galuvao: Samoan Perspective on the Current Literacy Assessment Practices in the New Zealand Primary Schools.
  • Myckle Manjalloorkkarran: A Critical Analysis of the Efficacy of MDG 2: Case Study of the Dalits of Kerala, India.
  • Jinhua Song: The influence of Confucian values: students' understandings of classroom behaviours and learning practices in a university in Central China.
  • Vivienne Zhang: Shang-hai Chinese family educational decision-making. 
  • Margaret Stuart: Cradle and all: rocking the cradle of wealth. Human capital theory and early childhood education in New Zealand, 1999 – 2008.
  • Nicola Chisnall: Montessori Education in Aotearoa-New Zealand: A framework for peace and social justice.
  • Melissa Hackell 'Towards a neoliberal citizenship regime.
  • Althea Lambert.

Completed M. Ed theses

  • Ray Hollingsworth: A discourse analysis of post-World-War Two outdoor education practice in New Zealand.
  • Lorraine Pau'uvale: Laulōtaha: Tongan perspectives of 'quality' in Early Childhood.
  • Jeanne Pau'uvale: Langa Ngāue 'a e kau faiako Akoteu Tonga nofo 'i Aotearoa.
  • Shuang Zhi, Higher education policies: a comparison between China and New Zealand.
  • Ming Tao The influences of neo-liberalism on higher education reform in New Zealand and China. (2005-6).

Currently under supervision

Ed Ds:

  • Max Galu: Samoan Principals in Aotearoa New Zealand: Samoan model of leadership.
  • Ingrid Boberg: 
  • Affect in art education: Spinoza, Deleuze and Guattari and the emerging creative subject
  • Jacoba Matapo: In the spirit of community - Leadership in Pasifika early childhood settings: multiplicity, difference and the space-in-between.
  • Fionna Farquhar: Contested forms of literacy: critical or functional (in contemporary policy).


  • Brian Moreton: It's not fair: Early adolescent boys' perceptions, and judgments of commonsense unfairness.
  • Jamba Tobden: An inquiry into the ‘economics of happiness’ grounded in the Bhutanese development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH): Towards the evaluation of well-being, as a new development paradigm.
  • Ray Hollingsworth: Reflections on transformation: a narrative inquiry into how New Zealand outdoor educators construct programmes to address (non-religious) spiritual growth. 

Research Areas:

  • Philosophy of education
  • Education policy
  • Political economy
  • Pedagogy
  • Maori and Pasifika theory and practice in education.

Research Summary:

My research is diverse (political economy and its implications for education: education policy, schools, Pasifika teachers, theory, prison education, school exclusion), but the common thread is the question "why do we think this way? Are there other, better ways of thinking about this, that might include/involve/make sense to — more people?"

I use a post-structuralist approach to escape the mindset of the single answer, or single theory, that becomes a totalising way of thinking about education.

Current Research Projects:

I have been engaged for the last year or so in thinking about what forms education might take once we have all seen through Human Capital theory as a justification and end for Education: what aims might we have for education and what ideas and ideals might we have of the persons engaged in education.

I continue to explore the conjunctions of Maori and Pasifika and thought, and other philosophic traditions.

A recent trip to China, hosted by the University of Zhengzhou, by courtesy of Jinhua Song and Jiao Xiaomin, confirmed my interest in Chinese history and culture and its implications for education. I have enjoyed working with Bin Wu, Qun Ding, And Yongmei Xia over the past few years.

I do a lot of reviewing and editing, mostly for Educational Philosophy and Theory, Knowledge Cultures and ACCESS. I am on the Editorial Board of EPAT, Knowledge/cultures, The Video Journal of Education, The Bhutanese Journal of Research and Development, and Co-editor of The New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work. I have recently co-edited special issues with Marek Tesar, Andrew Gibbons and Leon Benade, for Knowledge Cultures, EPAT and ACCESS, and am currently working on a special issue on Feminist Issues with Dr Georgina Stewart.


  • The PESA (Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia) conference will be held in Rotorua in December 2018, organised by Associate Professor Andrew Gibbons, Dr Leon Benade, Associate Professor Georgina Stewart and myself.



  • Benade, L., & Devine, N. (2016). Editorial: Teaching as Inquiry–Mandated requirement or critical disposition?. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 13(1), 1-3. Retrieved from
  • Devine, N. (2017). Aims of education in a post-neoliberal context. Knowledge Cultures, 5(6), 96-107. doi:10.22381/KC5620177
  • Devine, N. (2017). Beyond truth and non-truth. In M. A. Peters, S. Rider, A. C. Besley, & M. Hyvonen (Eds.), Post-Truth, Fake News: Viral Modernity & Higher Education. Singapore: Springer.
  • Devine, N., & Benade, L. (2016). Educators behaving badly. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 13(2), 79-80. Retrieved from
  • Devine, N., & Benade, L. (2017). Courage, freedom and educational know-how. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 14(1), 1-2. Retrieved from
  • Devine, N., Teisina, J., & Pau'uvale, L. (2017). Teacher education, research and migrant children. In M. Peters, B. Cowie, & I. Menter (Eds.), A companion to research in teacher education (1 ed., pp. 471-481). Singapore: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-4075-7
  • Ding, Q., & Devine, N. (2017). Exploring the supervision experiences of Chinese overseas PhD students: A study in the context of New Zealand. Knowledge Cultures.
    Jandric, P., Devine, N., Jackson, Elizabeth., Peters, Michael A.., Lazaroiu, George., Mihaila, Ramona., . . . Benade,
  • Leon. (2017). Collective writing: An inquiry into praxis. Knowledge Cultures, 5(1), 85-109. doi:10.22381/KC5120177
  • Qun, D., & Devine, N. (2017). Agency and social capital in Chinese international doctoral students’ conversion to Christianity. Educational Philosophy and Theory. doi:10.1080/00131857.2017.1342158
  • Qun, D., & Devine, N. (2017). Filial piety and Chinese doctoral students: A study in New Zealand context. New Zealand Journal of Sociology.
  • Stewart, G., Arndt, S., Besley, T., Devine, N., Forster, D. J., Gibbons, A., . . . Tesar, M. (2017). Antipodean theory for educational research. Open Review of Educational Research, 4(1), 61-74. doi:10.1080/23265507.2017.1337555
  • Wu, B., & Devine, N. (2017). Self-cultivation and the legitimation of power: Governing China through education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 1-11. doi:10.1080/00131857.2017.1395737.




  • Faculty award for supervision of Doctoral students, 2012
  • Fellow of the Philosophy of Education Society, 2009
  • Education Leadership society research award 2002
  • ESL study award, 1978
  • STA Study Award, 1997.
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