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Michael GaffneyProgramme Co‑ordinator (Early Childhood Education)
Lecturer | Mātauraka Kōhukahuka
Member of the Kaiāwhina Māori – Māori student support team
PhD, MA, MEd, BA, Dip Tchg

Kāi Tahu

Dunedin Campus
Waea | Tel +64 3 479 4214
Īmēra | Email
Tari | Office 2.04, Tower Block, College of Education, Dunedin


I am a Lecturer in the Early Childhood Education Programme. My research interests are quite broad as a result of working at the Childrenʻs Issues Centre, University of Otago from 1995–2010 as a researcher and lecturer. During this time I was involved in the development and teaching of the Post Graduate Diploma of Child Advocacy and supervising students in the Masters of Childhood and Youth Studies programme.

My current research interests often take me into evaluation studies of social and education service providers. I am particularly interested in how people learn to be parents and how communities, including early childhood settings, can support them. I am involved in a couple of Ministry of Social Development activities locally – Strengthening Families and Community Response Forums

Research interests

  • Childhood Studies: Children and Young People's views of their experiences
  • Disability Studies and inclusion
  • Socio-Cultural theory and Communities of Practice
  • Social and Educational Evaluation


Gaffney, M., & McAnelly, K. (2023). Talking the talk but failing to walk the walk: The Highest Needs Review and the long, winding road towards inclusive education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Conference. 1019. Retrieved from

Gaches, S., Carvalho, R., Curtis, A., & Gaffney, M. (2023). Mā te ahurei o te tamaiti e ārahi i ā tātou mahi: Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work [Panel discussion]. Proceedings of the 29th Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) Conference : Pathways: Where we've been, where we are, where we want to go. (pp. 8). Retrieved from

Waterworth, K., Gaffney, M., Taylor, N., & Gibson, B. E. (2023). The civil rights of disabled children in physiotherapy practices. Physiotherapy Theory & Practice, 39(3), 547-559. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2021.2011511

McAnelly, K., & Gaffney, M. (2022). High needs review: Literature review. Commissioned by Ministry of Education. Dunedin, New Zealand: Kanorau Research. 69p.

McAnelly, K., & Gaffney, M. (2022). The role of love, rights and solidarity in creating inclusive early childhood education. Proceedings of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference: Transforming the Future of Education. Retrieved from

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