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Jacoba Matapo is an Associate Professor in Pacific Early Learning in the School of Education at AUT University, specialising in Pasifika early childhood education and Pacific education research. She is of Samoan Dutch heritage, born and raised in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Jacoba’s passion for Pasifika education has stemmed from personal experience navigating cultural, political, and social tensions in her education and research journey.
Her academic contributions centre indigenous Pacific community and collective engagement, which informs her research, teaching and service. A particular focus of her academic practice includes activating Pacific philosophies and relational ontologies to confront education politics and discourse that continue subjugating Pacific people's language, culture, spirituality and identity in education outcomes.
In Pasifika early childhood education, her research mobilises Pacific pedagogies for young Pacific children, traversing Pacific epistemologies and ways of being. In her professional career, Jacoba's leadership experience includes ECE centre management, programme leadership of ITE, and senior leadership as an Associate Dean Pasifika at the University of Auckland.
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