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Educational leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand: Issues of context and social justice

ISBN 978-0-947509-67-5

School and early childhood leaders are key members of our society, charged with one of the most important roles we can give a profession—the education, achievement and care of our children and young people. This book presents 10 inspirational case studies of how centre leaders, principals and leadership teams in high-needs New Zealand educational settings have enacted leadership towards a more equitable and democratic society. These stories share experiences of challenging leadership in diverse urban and rural contexts across early childhood, primary, intermediate and secondary schools.

The research base of this book is taken from an international 20-country research study into how “social justice” and “high needs” are defined in different countries and how we might better prepare educators to lead for social justice in an increasingly complex world. Typically, such needs are defined within the concepts of social/economic disadvantage and ethnic groupings; however, New Zealand findings showed the definition of high needs to be much broader than expected.

This book is written for early childhood, primary, intermediate and secondary school leaders and teachers; providers of educational leadership professional programmes and tertiary courses; and education system leaders.


Rachel McNae is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of Te Puna Rangahau o te Whiringa—The Centre for Educational Leadership Research at the University of Waikato. Rachel’s research agenda is founded on and shaped by a firm belief in social justice.

Michele Morrison is a Senior Lecturer in Educational Leadership at the University of Waikato. Informed by extensive practitioner experience, Michele’s research and teaching focus on the professional formation of educational leaders.

Ross Notman is Professor in Education and Director of the Centre for Educational Leadership and Administration at the University of Otago. Ross has worked extensively in principal appraisal and in principal support groups, through activities such as coaching and group support networks.