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Dr Ruth Toumu'a

BA (Double major: Education & Linguistics)
MA (Applied Linguistics) with Distinction
PhD (Applied Linguistics)

Teaching Fellow

Phone: +64 4 806 1593

Student Learning Development, Wellington campus
Office: F34, Level F, Education Unit
Ruth works Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 8:30am—3.20pm

About Ruth

Photo of Ruth Toumu'a for profileRuth works part time as Teaching Fellow (Higher Education) for the HEDC, and is based at the Education Unit on Level F at the Wellington Medical School, delivering Student Learning Development for the UOW campus. She is TESOL trained and has over 15 years’ experience in tertiary education contexts in learning advisory, research based, and executive roles. Ruth offers support in learning skills development, offered mostly through providing one-to-one or small group consultations in person or by video or voice call, as well as facilitating workshops designed to help students to develop the kinds of higher education study and academic literacy skills which are essential to successfully undertaking courses and research at any level. She specialises in academic literacy skills development, particularly helping people develop their academic writing skills, general study and learning skills development, and is a useful 'critical friend' for those on the postgraduate research journey.

Research interests

Ruth’s professional and research interests include: academic reading and academic texts in higher education; academic literacy and learning skill development in higher education; minority or equity group student retention, achievement and degree completion; ESOL literacy and language curriculum design and delivery; conceptualisations of ‘literacy’ and ‘success’ amongst adult Pacific populations in Aotearoa, New Zealand; children’s storybooks and classroom resource development for literacy and language development in the Pacific; ESOL (English as a second or other language) writing and spelling development in Pacific children.

Selected Publications

Johansson-Fua, S., ‘Otunuku, M., & Toumu’a, R., Eds. (2020). It takes an island and an ocean: Selected papers from the third Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference. University of the South Pacific Institute of Education: ‘Atele, Tonga

Toumu’a, R. (2016). Culturally and linguistically relevant resource development for literacy in the Pacific. In: R. Toumu’a, K. Sanga, & S. Johansson-Fua (Eds), Weaving education theory and practice in Oceania: selected papers from the second Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference. The University of the South Pacific, Tongatapu (Tonga), 24 & 25th September, 2014. Institute of Education, USP: Suva, Fiji. (pp.118-122)

Toumu’a, R. (2014). Seeking an understanding of academic reading and readers in higher education. In: Fairbairn-Dunlop, P. & E. Coxon (Eds), Talanoa. Building a Pasifika Research Culture. Dunmore Publishing Ltd: Auckland, New Zealand. (pp. 208 – 220).

Toumu’a, R. & Laban, L.W. (2014). Cultivating knowledge of and response to Pasifika learners and families: Research in action at Victoria University of Wellington. International Studies in Widening Participation, 1(2), 46-59.

ACE Aotearoa. (2013). Pasifika Conceptualizations of Literacy for Success as Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand. Research report prepared for Adult and Community Education (ACE Aotearoa): Wellington, New Zealand. Accessible at

Telford, M. & Toumu’a, R. (2013). Pasifika students. PISA 2009 Reading Workbook. Acting on the Evidence. Ministry of Education: Wellington, New Zealand. Accessible at

Toumu’a, R. (2012). Academic Reading and Pacific Students: Profiling texts, tasks & readers in the first year of university in New Zealand. A thesis presented to the Victoria University of Wellington in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics.

Toumu’a, R. (2011). Understanding the factors influencing Pasifika student retention and degree completion at Victoria University of Wellington. Unpublished Research Report Commissioned by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika). Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington, New Zealand.