top of page

Art Education - Research and Teaching Practice

Academic Research

See me, know me, believe in me: Reimagining Pasifika student success as Pasifika in visual arts

Dagmar Dyck

ABSTRACT: Pasifika students bring to school rich cultural resources that offer a strong foundation on which to build creative practice. Bringing cultural awareness to visual arts education provides a powerful platform for Pasifika students to embrace success as Pasifika. The recent introduction of Tapasā—Cultural Competencies Framework for Teachers of Pacific Learners (Ministry of Education, 2018) provides an opportunity to inquire into how visual arts education can authentically reflect cultural competencies. This article seeks to share teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and pedagogical practices that affirm Pasifika students’ success “as Pasifika”. The students themselves also offer insights into their enactment of success through their art works and stories. My experiences as a visual artist and teacher of Tongan descent grounded the research project.

How to cite: Dyck, D. (2021). See me, know me, believe in me: Reimagining Pasifika student success as Pasifika in visual arts. Set: Research Information for Teachers, (2), 4–13. doi:10.18296/set.0198

Mānava ‘i he Loto Manava: Creatively Critical Tongan Sense-Making in the Glocal South

Dagmar Vaikalafi Dyck et al.

ABSTRACT. Critical theory and theorising bring social contexts into closer observation and interrogation. Yet, our social worlds and societies are continuously evolving, so how relevant and appropriate are the critical theories developed in the Glocal South, given the dynamic and fluid contextual realities of diasporic Moana communities today? Critical theory and theorising in Te Moananui-nui-ā-Kiwa/Oceania centres ‘relationality’ in conceptualising and understanding change, shifts and transformation beyond the social realm and into spaces where abstract knowledge and critical thinking are intertwined and somewhat inseparable with other entities in the world – the fonua (land, placenta) and moana (ocean, Oceania). As tangata ‘o e moana (people of the ocean, people of Oceania), our framing and analysis of criticality embodies speculative yet creative epistemological and embodied sense-making, which positions social theory and theorising in relational negotiation with tangible and intangible wonderings within Te Moananui-nui-ā-Kiwa. Doing critical theory in the Glocal South, in particular, the Moana/Oceania, calls forth a grounded speculative observation and interrogation through a Tongan lens, through the notions of vā (socio-relational connections), loto (heart, soul), mānava (breath of life), manava (womb) and to‘utangata Tonga (extended family).

How to cite: Dyck, D. V., Matamua, C. S. F., Fa‘avae, D. T. M., Sisitoutai, S., & Fa‘avae, I. A. (2022). Mānava ‘i he loto manava: Creatively critical Tongan sense-making in the Glocal South. Knowledge Cultures, 10(3), 35–55.

Teaching Practice

Pakirehua (Inquiry) at Sylvia Park School 

Deputy Principal and Inquiry lead, Dagmar Dyck, explains the importance of relationships with community experts for successful pakirehua

Relationships beyond the school gate: Building a community of experts


ANZ ATM project with Te Puna Waiora - Sylvia Park School

Sylvia Park School's Te Puna Waiora design colourful artwork for ANZ's Queen St ATM to celebrate Maori Language Week - September 2017


Te Rito Toi Project

Making a kahoa kakala

All of the lessons here have been written by curriculum experts who understand the potential of the arts to draw students back to learning after crisis.

They have been written specifically to support children’s return to the classroom through the arts. None of them ask children to talk directly or openly about their own experiences or feelings but use fiction and or abstraction to help children think about the changed world and imagine how it might become better. We know and support teachers adapting and changing plans to meet the strengths of the children they teach.


Talking teaching

Dagmar Dyck and Professor Peter O’Connor discuss the teaching and learning approaches to the unit of work, Making A Kahoa Kakala. They discuss the importance of bringing the outside world into the classroom and the importance of the teacher bringing her own life experience into the room too. Dagmar talks about Tapasā as a ‘way of being’ in a classroom.

Press and Media

We are all accountable: Confronting Art’s demise in NZ schools - The Big Idea - by Dagmar Dyck, October 2021

Ngatu Led me North: Reflections on ‘Amu’i Mu’a-Ancient Futures, Art New Zealand - by Hatesa Seumanutafa, October 2021

Joy, colour, wonder, fun life: wellbeing and the arts - by Melissa Schwalger, June 2021

‘Amui ‘I Mu‘a – Ancient Futures’ linking traditional and contemporary Tongan art: - Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples, April 2021

Ancient Futures, Art News - by Billie Lythberg, February 2020

Raised Amongst the Kainga - Pantograph Punch - by Dagmar Dyck, December 2020

Between the Folds, Art New Zealand - by Ane Tonga, June 2016

bottom of page