Meripa Toso

Lecturer Early Childhood Education


MEdn (hons) Waikato, BEdn Auckland, DipTeaching Auckland College of Education.

Experience, interests and affiliations

My academic and professional career began within the early childhood education sector and now has crossed the terrains of multidisciplinary aspects of learning and teaching. I have over twenty years experience in early childhood education teaching. Working within the community led to a quest in the tertiary education sector to support all learners and making a difference for Pasifika learning and retention. My former teaching context for the University of Auckland as lecturer for the Pasifika and non-Pasifika specialisation, my subject knowledge was across all disciplines.  I have taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, mentored students and postgraduate master students and have supervised master students.


My field of research is the holistic curriculum with infants and toddler and adult education. I am one ofthe only scholars to explore and

articulate a Pasifika theory of spirituality as a philosophy of practice for infants and toddlers to inform Pasifika pedagogy.   I am one of the

only scholars internationally to foreground Pasifika holistic approaches inclusive of spirituality to inform learning and teaching.  In

both areas, I draw on an interdisciplinary area of research, including  Aiono, Bakhtin, Betham, Rogoff, Thaman, Tui Atua, critical pedagogy

and early childhood education, to provide a complex, multifaceted critical analysis of culturally responsive and inclusive practice for early

childhood education, and the conflicts and tensions and reconceptualising this area.  My research specifically foregrounds innovative,

transformative critical Pasifika pedagogy.  The results of study have been published in high-level international journals.  My current focus is

on Pasifika critical spiritual pedagogies, in particular, discourses of culture both construct and reconstruct learning for teachers and very

young children.   This is bringing forward holistic notions of mentoring and fostering Pasifika research for the future




Selected Publications

Toso,V.M. (2019). The place of Pasifika in Early Education. Newsroom. 16th January.



Toso,V.M. & Matapo,J. (2018). O le tatou itulagi I totonu o Aotearoa: Our life-worlds within New

Zealand.The First Years Nga Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education.

Vol 20 (1) p.1.


Toso,V.M. (2018). Heuristic Itulagi. The First Years Nga Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant

and Toddler Education Vol 20 (1) p.35.

Courtney, M., Lee, K., Courtney, K., McGlashan, A., Toso, M., & Neveldsen, P. (2017). Initial teacher education students’ conceptions of creativity in technology and science education: A large-scale New Zealand study. Australasian Journal of Technology Education. doi:10.15663/ajte.v4i1.44

Lee, K. & Toso, M. (2015). Lalaga faatasi aua le manuia mo taeao: to weave together for the success for tomorrow. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology.


Toso, V.M. (2013). Ia manuia le Aso Sa o Tamaitiiti: A celebration of Lotu Tamaiiti-White Sunday. In O Pelega o Fanau: Treasuring Children. SAASIA. Tagoilelagi-Leota,S.F. & Utumapu-McBride,T. (Eds). AUT Press.


Toso, V. M. (2011). Reconceptualising spirituality as a philosophy of practice for Pasifika early

childhood education in New Zealand: A Samoan perspective. Pacific-Asian Education, 23 (2), 129-

  1. URIs 72964-PAE232final11.pdf

Airini., Toso, V.M., Sauni, S.L., Leaupepe, M., Pua & Tuafuti, P. (2010). ‘This road belongs to me’: Promising practices in distance education. In J. Jesson, V.M. Carpenter, M. McLean, M. Stephenson & Airini (Eds.), University teaching reconsidered. Justice, practice, inquiry (pp. 79-92). Wellington: Dunmore Publishing Ltd.



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