Mrs Manutai Toru Leaupepe
MEd, PGDipEd, BEd, DipTchg [ECE], PIECCADip
Manutai is of Cook Islands, Tahitian and Kiribati heritage. She has three beautiful daughters and six handsome sons and is a grandmother of two. She was born in Reureu, Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. She came to Aotearoa New Zealand with her mother as an infant. Manutai has been involved in the early childhood education (ECE) sector for over twenty five years starting out as a parent helper, becoming a teacher aide, then making a commitment to become a qualified ECE teacher. With 15 years of teaching experience in private, state and community based settings, Manutai has loved working alongside young children and their families and continues her work within Pasifika ECE communities in New Zealand and the Pacific. She is currently the Programme Leader for the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE - Pasifika Specialisation / Practicum Coordinator - Year 1, and lecturers in the School of Critical Studies in Education at the Faculty of Education and Social Work. She teaches in a range of ECE courses for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in both Pasifika and mainstream.
Research | Current
Manutai's field of research is a Pasifika conceptualization of the notions of play within the context of teaching and learning within ECE in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work articulates and foregrounds Pasifika indigenous theorizing of play within ECE and initial teacher education. Drawing on historical and biographical narratives and experiences of Pasifika student teachers, teachers and parents, her research demonstrates the multiple meanings of play that she attempts to interpret through cultural methodologies. Integral to her work is the crystalizing of Pasifika knowledge that previously only existed in community places and that provides a platform to the invisible voices of community paradigms.
Her master's dissertation explored how Pasifika student teachers' view play. Important to Manutai's work is the need for teachers and adults to understand how such views can either hinder or enhance children's opportunities for further learning. An extension of Manutai's research is concerned with how teachers make relevant links to curriculum areas through play and of equal importance how teachers nurture a playful disposition. She is currently interested in how play can enact notions of social justice, equity, fairness and gendering.
She was invited to teach at the Summer Institute in Education at the University of British Columbia at the Okanagan Campus in Kelowna where she challenged teachers to revisit notions of play and consider the role this has within the teaching and learning of children. As a significant leader in the field of Pasifika ECE, her work both within Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific region has strengthened the sector. Invited as a keynote speaker on several occassions to the Cook Islands provided a unique opportunity to assert the significance of ECE and to advance research based scholarship.
Other areas of research that Manutai is interested in are curriclum developments within the early years, inclusive education, politics and education [with reference to ECE], mathematics in the early years, and social sciences education in the early years. Her proposed doctoral study aims to examine what qualities and attributes make an effective Pasifika early childhood leader and is concerned with the associations made to successful outcomes for students.
She has been involved in several research projects that cover a range of topics - Enriching Cook Islands Language, Healthy eating and Avctive Play in ECE, Infant Transition from home to ECE [International], and Leadership within the Pacific [Institutional collaboration].
Teaching | Current
Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Pasifika Specialisation
- EDCURRPK 313 Tuvatuva vakarautaki ena vuli me qito [Play and pedagogy]
- EDCURRPK 120 Na i vakarau ni vuli ka ena Pasifika [Te Whāriki & Pasifika pedagogy]
- EDCURRPK 212 Fika ‘i he fanau liki [Mathematics in the early years]
Bachelor of Education (Teaching)
- EDPROFST 214 Assessment and learning
- EDUC 118 History and society in New Zealand education
- EDUC 321 Politics, philosophy and education
- EDPROFST 304 Play: theory and practice
Co-supervised with Dr Diane Mara:
- MEd Ulu Waqavanua “A Fijian perspective on teacher registration and professionalism in early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand” Completed – 16 January 2012.
- MEd Susana Smith “Pasifika early childhood educators' understandings and beliefs about Pasifika visual languages and cultures in the ECE curriculum: implications for teaching and learning.” Completed - 17 September 2014.
Co-supervised with Meripa Toso:
- MEd Sam Oun Seng "Cambodian early childhood teachers’ perceptions, knowledge and experiences of play: Impact for teacher practices" Started July 2017
- MEd Elizabeth (Peta) Ravlich "Mentoring Pasifika early childhood student teachers: Lesson learned" Completed - 14 July 2016.
- MEd Meleana Koloto "Tongan families and children with disabilities: Experiences within early childhood education settings in New Zealand"
- Special Commendation in Equal Educational Opportunities: Pasifika Early Childhood Education Specialisation Programme – New Equity Initiatives, 20 June 2007
- Recipient of the Leadership in Teaching Award from the School of Critical Studies in Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work, 22 March 2016
Taught in the following courses:
- EDCURRPK 121 – Moui olaola [Holistic Development]
- EDCURRPK 212 – Fika ‘i he fanau liki [Mathematics in the early years]
- EDCURRIC 213 – Social Sciences Education
- EDCURRIC 634 – Hauora [Well-being]
- EDCURRPK 313 / EDCURRIC 313 - Tuvatuva vakarautaki ena vuli me qito / Play and Pedagogy
- EDUC 321 - Politics, Philosophy and Education
- EDPROFST 355 - The Politics of Education
- EDUC 118 - History and Society in New Zealand Education
- EDPROFST 304 - Pasifika research and practice
- EDPROFST 202 - The professional teacher ECE 2
- EDPROFST 214 - Assessment and Learning
Areas of expertise
Manutai Leaupepe has been a practitioner within the field of early childhood education (ECE) for over 15 years where her strength in programme planning, curriculum developments and pedagogical documentation have been sought after within Pasifika ECE communities. Her commitment to the sector has seen her represent Pasifika voices on various community groups and within the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. Manutai's areas of expertise are in ECE, Pasifika ECE, curriculum developments, and play.
She also has extensive experience within social services working alongside Pasifika families and communities where she has developed and delivered programmes that cover parenting with confidence, child protection, and youth suicide.
- Kainga Pasifika [Academic Body] - School of Critical Studies in Education
- RUPIE: Research Unit in Pacific and International Education – [School of Critical Studies in Education]
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - Komiti Pasifika
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - Initial Teacher Education - Programme Leaders Committee
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - Initial Teacher Education - Board of Studies Committee
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - Teaching and Learning Committee [School of Critical Studies in Education]
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - Pasifika ECE Advisory Komiti
- Faculty of Education and Social Work - External Advisory Comittee ECE
- Executive Committee Member - Pacific Circle Consortium
- Conference Convenor - The International Pasifika ECE Conference
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Leaupepe, M. (2017). Authentic leadership: Experiences from a Pasifika early childhood education programme in teacher education. He kupu : The Word, 5 (1), 61-68.
- Leaupepe, M. T. (2017). Authentic leadership: Experiences from a Pasifika early childhood education program in teacher education. He Kupu : The Word, 5 (1), 61-68. Related URL.
- Leaupepe, M. T. (2016). Re-conceptualizing/vitalizing/imagining global trends of play within teacher education. Paper presented at 40th Pacific Circle Consortium Conference: Navigating Global Trends of Education within the Pacific Region, CNMI Public School System, Northern Marianas College, Saipan. 4 July - 7 July 2016.
- Matapo, J. J., & Leaupepe, M. T. (2016). A duo-narrative of Pasifika early childhood education: Reconceptualising leadership in the political and social landscape. Journal of Educational Leadership Policy and Practice, 31 (1/2), 55-62. Related URL.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacoba Matapo
- Leaupepe, M. T., & Skudder, L. (2015). Giving voice to Pasifika families and their children with hearing-impairments. Paper presented at NZARE Conference & Annual Meeting 2015, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatāne. 17 November - 20 November 2015. Te Toroa Titiro Tawhiti Emancipation through education. Related URL.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lillien Skudder
- Leaupepe, M. T. (2015). Notions of leadership within Pasifika early childhood education settings. Paper presented at NZARE, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatāne, New Zealand. 17 November - 20 November 2015. Te Toroa Titiro Tawhiti Emancipation through education. Related URL.
- Leaupepe, M. T., & Ravlich, E. (2015). From Mentee to Mentor: Experiences with Pasifika Student Teachers within Teacher Education. Paper presented at NZARE Conference & Annual Meeting 2015, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatāne. 17 November - 20 November 2015. Te Toroa Titiro Tawhiti Emancipation through education. Related URL.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peta Ravlich
- Leaupepe, M. T. (2015). Inclusive education in the Cook Islands: Responsibilities, Assumptions and Challenges. In J. Rombo, G. Lingam (Eds.) Inclusive education for exceptional individuals: A Pacific perspective (pp. 19-34). Fiji: The University of the South Pacic Press.