CORE's Team

Merryn Dunmill

Mentor - Coach


Dip Teaching
M.Ed Dist

Contact details


P: (03) 379 6627

M: 021 722 317

Region: Canterbury

MerrynDunmill FS

Professional profile

Merryn is Project Co-Leader and mentor in the Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD) programme, and Co-Leader of the Future Focus Inquiries (FFI) project team. She brings a passion for inclusive education, creativity, and innovation to her leadership and mentoring roles. The evolution of practice is at the heart of Merrynʻs mentoring as she supports teachers and leaders to critically reflect, and to value their own and their studentsʻ abilities, backgrounds, and aspirations.

Merryn has a wide range of educational experience and teaching expertise. She has taught, lectured and advised in Early Years, Primary, Secondary (10 years as HOD), and Tertiary sectors, the latter as both preservice and inservice teacher educator and postgraduate senior lecturer and supervisor at the University of Canterbury. Merryn has also taught in special needs centres and community education programmes providing music and movement classes for young children, and singing, instrumental and music appreciation classes for adults. This background of diverse experience guides Merrynʻs approaches to supporting each person to explore their inner selves — who they are, what they bring — and to find joy in learning, particularly through connecting with others as communities of learners. In her current mentoring role, Merryn brings this integrity to her work with colleagues in the profession, enabling scope to explore ideas, embrace challenges, and respond to diversity in order to evolve practice and enhance more equitable outcomes for young people.

Merrynʻs involvement in educational research has seen her establish and direct the National Centre for Research in Music Education at the University of Canterbury, and negotiate an MOU with UNESCO for this centre to serve as an international Arts Education Observatory carrying out a range of research projects and presenting at national and international conferences. In 2010, Merryn was invited to work with the South Korean Government to develop an international Arts Research portal to serve UNESCO goals to connect the world in understanding the critical cognitive, social and cultural roles of arts in our diverse and disrupted lives.

In the decade prior to joining CORE Education in 2012, Merryn was involved in a range of national roles in Aotearoa New Zealand education as: Project Leader for Arts Online, the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s key arts education portal; Developer of distance arts e-learning programmes through the Virtual Learning Network; Lead Writer for the Ministry of Education’s Senior Secondary Arts Teaching and Learning Guides; National Coordinator for the Arts (Ministry of Education); NEMP advisory group member; NZ Film Archive advisory group member; NZ Music Commission advisory group member; National Schools Advisor (Music); ERO officer; NZQA expert panellist, standards writer and workshop presenter; and Ministry of Education National Curriculum developer and materials writer (NZC 2007).


  • Teacher Education

  • Arts Education

  • New Zealand Curriculum

  • Mentoring

  • Distance learning

  • e-Learning

  • Inclusive education

Professional memberships

Music Education NZ Aotearoa Menza (ex Chair)

Conference presentations

  • A Reconceptualisation of Professional Learning and Development, ULearn14, Rotorua, 2014

  • Assessment: How we measure shows what we value (with Owen, H) CORE Education Breakfast Seminars Series: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, 2013

  • Arts in the NZ Curriculum: learning in, through and about the arts – by, with, for young people, Creative New Zealand workshop presentation, 2013

  • Digital taonga – resources and content using a Māori search lens, New Zealand Reading Association, Hastings, 2013

  • Virtual Environments for Professional Learning, Think Forward, Christchurch, 2013

  • Digital Resources and Content for Māori Learners - Te Pātaka Matihiko, ULearn12, Auckland, 2012

  • Aotearoa New Zealand Arts Education, UNESCO 2nd World Conference on Arts Education, Seoul, 2010

  • Charting the Future of The Arts in Education: Arts Online Initiatives, NZARE Symposium, Auckland, 2010

  • Asia New Zealand Foundation award to Linking Latitudes, Delhi, India. Presenter at Australasia symposium on education 2007

  • New Zealand presenter at the Assessment in the Arts International Symposium, New York, 2003

  • New Zealand representative and presenter, UNESCO Pacific Arts Education Forum, Fiji, 2002


  • Owen, H., & Dunmill, M. (In press). A Reconceptualisation of Professional Learning and Development. In J. Mackey, N. Dabner, N. Davis & J. Johnson (Eds.), Proceedings of ULearn 2014 Research Stream, 7-10 October 2014, Rotorua. Christchurch: University of Canterbury, School of Literacies and Arts in Education.

  • Owen, H., & Dunmill, M. (2013). The Long Journey: Developing a Model of PLD for the Future.Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1). Retrieved December 20 2013 from

  • Dunmill, M. (2010). Charting the Future of The Arts in Education: Arts Online Initiatives. Symposium paper, NZARE, Auckland. Conference proceedings. 

  • Dunmill, M. 2010. Charting the Future of The Arts in Education: Arts Online Initiatives. Symposium paper, NZARE, Auckland. 

  • Dunmill, M. 2007. Incredible India. (PDF)

  • Dunmill, M. 2006. New Zealand Case Studies in the Effective Utilisation of ICT in Arts Learning.

  • Dunmill, M. 2006. ICT and Arts Education: A Literature Review. (PDF). Retrieved from 

  • O'Connor, P., & Dunmill, M. (2005). Key competencies and the arts in the New Zealand curriculum. Paper prepared for the Ministry of Education's New Zealand Curriculum Marautanga Project. Retrieved from 

  • Dunmill, M. 2004. Literature Review in Like Writing off the Paper: Student Learning in the Arts. Retrieved from

  • Dunmill, M. 2004. Exemplifying Teaching and Learning in Music: the New Zealand Story. MISTEC Commission Paper, ISME, University of Granada, Spain.

  • Dunmill, M., & Hong, C. 2004. The New Zealand Arts Curriculum. In Arts Education in the Asia Pacific Rim, UNESCO.

Personal statement

Culturally responsive, inclusive pedagogies are critical to student learning and wellbeing. My ongoing intention is to support students and teachers (learners of all ages) to engage meaningfully in environments and contexts where their backgrounds, creativity, aspirations and innovations, challenges and successes, are celebrated — in both synchronous and asynchronous contexts — online (any place, any time, any where), and face-to-face.

I am passionate about two key areas:

  1. Arts education. I know the difference arts make to lives. We are not fully human without access to quality arts learning — creative, interactive and appreciative experiences. 

  2. Caring for the planet and seeing the bigger picture are things I endeavour to do in all aspects of my life. We have a lot of work to do to combine our efforts so we are 'singing off the same song sheet'.