About KERU

What knowledge should be taught in educational institutions has become a key research programme internationally among realist sociologists of education. The purpose of the Knowledge in Education Research Unit (KERU) is to ensure New Zealand’s involvement in this programme.


Ko te manu kai i te miro, nōna te ngahere. Ko te manu kai i te mātauranga, nōna te ao.

With education comes knowledge, but knowledge itself knows no bounds.

Established in 2010, the Knowledge in Education Research Unit is based in the School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland and includes researchers from across the faculty.

It is an internationally recognised research centre for the study of knowledge in education from the Durkeimian and Bernsteinian theoretical tradition and using realist approaches. The focus is on types of knowledge in the curriculum and the connection between curriculum design and progressive pedagogies. In addition to promoting research-based educational interventions, KERU provides a vehicle for postgraduate students and contributes to research at the University of Auckland.


Our purpose is to provide this research to policymakers and teachers in order to strengthen academic knowledge in the curriculum so that students from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds have access to the type of knowledge that leads to success at school. KERU is committed to improving educational results for Māori and Pacific students and children from low socio-economic communities.

Members of KERU are interested in:

  • Specialist Research Areas
  • Education, knowledge and democracy
  • Curriculum knowledge and curriculum design
  • Progressive pedagogies
  • Language and education: bilingual and total immersion schooling
  • Māori and Pacific education
  • Innovative learning environments and 21st century education

Current Research Projects

  • Knowledge in history education (Barbara Ormond)
  • Knowledge in secondary art history and classical studies (Barbara Ormond)
  • Secondary school music education (Graham McPhail)
  • Theorising knowledge and teaching (Graham McPhail and Elizabeth Rata)
  • Curriculum makers in an innovative learning environment (McPhail and Rata)
  • Engineering course design and student achievement (McPhail and Rata)


School of Critical Studies in Education
Faculty of Education and Social Work
The University of Auckland
N Block, Gate 4, 76 Epsom Avenue, Epsom (View map)

Postal address

Knowledge in Education Research Unit
Faculty of Education and Social Work
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92601
Symonds Street
Auckland 1150
New Zealand