Since taking up my position at the University of Waikato in 2006 I have taught two under-graduate level papers focused on the social-psychology of sport, leisure, exercise, and physical culture, and one graduate level paper that critically examines the theories, research and practice in sport, exercise and leisure psychology. In 2012, my teaching responsibilities changed so I am now teaching a first year course titled ‘Social and Cultural Aspects of Sport and Leisure’.

SPLS101: Social and Cultural Aspects of Sport and Leisure.

This foundation paper examines the socio-cultural dimensions of sport and leisure by providing an introductory and comparative analysis of key social science disciplines: sociology, philosophy, psychology and history. Through this analysis, students gain understanding about what these disciplines focus on, how they construct knowledge and how this knowledge is useful for understanding sport and leisure. Students will be introduced to these different ways of knowing via the case of the moving human body in an array of sport and leisure contexts. In undertaking a comparative analysis of the disciplines, students gain skills of critical thinking, written communication and argument construction. They will also develop a multi-dimensional understanding of moving bodies in sport and leisure.

SPLS507: Psychological Aspects of Sport and Leisure

This paper provides students with an opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the influences on individuals’ thoughts, feelings and actions in sport, exercise and leisure settings. Further, in this paper a variety of theoretical perspectives and research that influence practices in sport, exercise and leisure settings will be critically examined. In this paper students learn to critically examine theories, research and practice in sport, exercise & leisure psychology; to identify the need for a critical and contextualized approach to the study of sport, exercise and leisure behavior; and to develop skills in summarizing and critiquing research.

Postgraduate supervision

I am always interested in supervising postgraduate students in the area of sociology and socio-psychology of sport and physical culture, gender studies, and/or youth studies. While I will consider all requests for supervision, my personal research interests mean I am particularly well-suited to work with students interested in studying action or alternative sports, or other youth-focused physical movement cultures, in historical or contemporary contexts, using qualitative methods. To date, my graduate students have been awarded with University of Waikato PhD and Masters Scholarships, and Waikato Women’s Graduate Scholarship.


Mihi Nemani (Wells): ‘Getting Deep’: Bodyboarding culture in New Zealand (Masters ongoing, University of Waikato)

Amy Marfell: New Zealand women and the netball body (PhD commencing mid 2012, University of Waikato)

Anna-Liisa Ojala: Professional snowboarding in Finland (PhD, ongoing, University of Jyväskylä)

Karen Buckley: A history of public narratives and representations of sport in the Waikato (PhD, ongoing, University of Waikato)

Hamish Crocket: Playing with ethics? A Foucauldian examination of the construction of ethical subjectivities in Ultimate Frisbee (PhD. under examination, University of Waikato)


Chief supervisor for Amy Marfell (Four paper Masters): ‘Netball in the lives of New Zealand women: An intergenerational study’

Co-supervisor for Hamish Crocket PhD Thesis (in progress): ‘Lifestyle sports, participation and ethics: An examination of the relationship between lifestyle sports and value positions’


Chief supervisor for Melissa Thomas (Three paper Masters awarded with First Class): ‘Young women’s negotiation of multiple fields of femininity and physicality in physical activity and Physical Education in an international school in Taiwan’

Co-supervisor for Hamish Crocket PhD Thesis (in progress)


Second supervisor for Tony Ryks (Four paper Masters awarded with First Class): ‘Supportive environments for active living? A case study of local government discourses of the built and social environments and physical activity’