Dr. Melanie Wong

Academic Lead Research and Academic Lead Students

Staff profile

Dr. Melanie Wong

PhD, MEd(Hons), PGDip, CounsTh, BEd


Academic Lead Research and Academic Lead Students

Teaching areas

Research, academic skills, human growth and development, and mental health


Mel is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work. Mel is also a counsellor, dream therapist and interactive drawing therapist who likes to work with those who connect with the world differently. Mel holds a PhD from the University of Canterbury, she has an extensive research interest in supporting individuals' mental and emotional needs using the lens of social constructionism and a holistic approach.

Why I love MIT

I learn a lot from working with our students. It is very rewarding to see their commitment and dedication to making changes in their lives. I also enjoy working with the South Auckland community; here is where I feel I belong.


  • Wong, M. (2021). Inequity in equity: Social justice for gifted children and their family. Encyclopedia of Social Justice in Education – Early Childhoods and Childhood Studies. [submitted for publication]
  • Wong, M., Beekmans, T., Taliaoa, F., & Oades, L. (2021). Effectiveness of the Breaking Ground Programme in Transforming Parenting Skills and Practice. Unitec ePress Research Report Series (1). Retrieved from http://www. unitec.ac.nz/epress/
  • Wong, M. (2020). Meanings ascribed to the concept of “giftedness”: Implications for counselling with young people. New Zealand Journal of Counselling, 40(1), 31-43.
  • Wong, M., Pomore, K., Hendrikse, N., & Grey, M. (2020). Supporting learning in a holistic way: Exploring mental health issues of social work degree students. In H. Hamerton & C. Fraswer (Eds.), 2020 ITP Research Symposium: Kotahitanga: He mahingā tahi - working in partnership to improve outcomes for learners and communities (pp. 58-66). Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology. Otara residents survey report 2018
  • Wong, M. (2020). How giftedness is understood and practised in initial teacher education programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 29(1), 41 - 51.
  • Wong, M. (2020, Autumn). Supporting multi exceptionalities of giftedness - A counselling perspective. Tall Poppies Magazine of The New Zealand Association for Gifted Children, 14-17. http://online.fliphtml5.com/tmopd/fpnp/
  • Wong, M. (2020). Unpacking giftedness in early childhood education: What does this mean for inclusion? In A. C. Gunn, N. Surtees, D. Gordon-Burns & K. Purdue (Eds). Te Aotūroa Tātaki Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Perspectives on inclusion, social justice, and equity from Aotearoa New Zealand (2nd ed.) (pp. 126-140). Wellington, NZ: NZCER Press.
  • Wong, M. & Whitburn, B. (2019). Reductive measurements of giftedness and twice-exceptionality: An analysis of education policy and associated documents from New Zealand and Australia. In T. McMenamin & A. Guerin (Eds) Belonging: Rethinking inclusive practices to support well-being and identity (pp. 75-94). Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill.
  • Wong, M. (2018). New interpretations of giftedness in early years: Looking through the lens of social constructionism. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/16352
  • Wong, M. (2018). Challenging assumptions about giftedness in early childhood. Tall Poppies Magazine of The New Zealand Association for Gifted Children, 43(1), 26-28.
  • Wong, M., Hendrikse, N., Mason, H., Pomare, K., Petelo, F. & Otara Health Charitable Trust. (2018). Thriving Otara: Otara Residents Survey Report 2018. Retrieved from http://www.thrivingotara.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/OHCTrust-Report-Digital-Download.pdf

Scholarly activities

  • Invitation: Visiting Scholar to the Institute of Educational Psychology and Research on Excellence at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany in 2022 or 2023, led by Professor Albert Ziegler
  • Guest Lecturer (University of Canterbury, Otago University, Unitec, Te Rito Maioha, other Schools at MIT)
  • Keynote speaker (Te Rito Maioha)
  • Master thesis supervision and examiner
  • Secretary (New Zealand Association for Gifted Children)
  • International and national conferences presentation.

Research interests

  • Giftedness and twice-exceptionality
  • Social constructionism
  • Mental health
  • Using the community to support community.

Awards and grants

  • MIT Research Excellence 2020
  • MIT Teaching Excellence 2010.

Memberships and affiliations

  • Full Teacher Registration (Current)
  • Provisional membership (New Zealand Association of Counsellors)
  • Auckland Justice of the Peace Association
  • Dream Therapy NZ
  • SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted).