Sonja Macfarlane

Adjunct Associate ProfessorSonja Macfarlane

Rehua 501
Internal Phone: 95110
"Tungia te ururoa kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke" This metaphor speaks of removing barriers and impediments so people may flourish.


Research Interests

My research interests focus on the importance of culturally responsive, evidence based approaches in education, psychology, counselling, health and human development in order to enhance the social, cultural, educational and health outcomes that are achieved by Māori. The importance of exploring 'what works well' for Māori as a pathway to responding to disparity and unlocking potential guides most of my research endeavours. I argue that many of the solutions for reducing such disparities actually reside in 'te ao Māori' (the Māori world, which includes Māori knowledge, protocols and practices). Strength-based, restorative and holistic approaches to individual and collective wellbeing are drawn on to support the development of such responses in contemporary times. (Please note that prior to 2009 my surname was 'Bateman').

Recent Publications

  • Macfarlane S. (2012) In pursuit of culturally responsive evidence based special education pathways in Aotearoa New Zealand: Whaia ki te ara tika. PhD Thesis, Christchurch, New Zealand. University of Canterbury.
  • de Jesus Dionisio MR., Macfarlane AH., Walker DP., Macfarlane SL., Derby M., Caldwell R., Pani J. and Waru R. (2021) Ngā Mātāpono e Rua: Stories of co-creation for bicultural spatial governance in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer 77(2): 76-89.
  • Duckworth F., Gibson M., Macfarlane S. and Macfarlane A. (2021) Mai i te Ao Rangatahi ki te Ao Pakeke Ka Awatea: A Study of Māori Student Success Revisited. AlterNative 17(1): 3-14.
  • Macfarlane A. and Macfarlane S. (2019) Listen to culture: Māori scholars’ plea to researchers. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 49(sup1): 48-57.
  • Macfarlane A., Manning R., Ataria J., Macfarlane S., Derby M. and Clarke TH. (2019) Wetekia kia rere: the potential for place-conscious education approaches to reassure the indigenization of science education in New Zealand settings. Cultural Studies of Science Education 14(2): 449-464.