Dr. Susannah STEVENS

The pertinent and powerful role that Physical Education plays in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals; An Aotearoa | New Zealand perspective

The current well-being climate that is dominating global health and education discussion and policy is refreshing, innovative and timely. However, we know it will not be successful, nor sustainable, without local implementation, and changes to daily practice. Physical Education has the powerful potential to instigate and accelerate inter-generational, systemic change to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This presentation will highlight how Physical Education can optimize this; when the curriculum and discourse is connected to well-being, not performativity or physicality. As a sector, we know that both ‘physical education’ and ‘well-being’ are two very contextual terms, interpreted and practiced in vastly different traditions. Despite this, some commonalties can be drawn from the literature, and this presentation will use multiple knowledge’s, including indigenous knowledge’s to explore this. Moreover, it will explain why physical education, from a well-being lens, can support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Dr. Susannah STEVENS


Manager Child Well-being Research Institute | Te Kāhui Pā Harakeke
School of Teacher Education
College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
New Zealand | Aotearoa




Dr. Susannah Stevens is the Manager for the University of Canterbury Child Well-being Research Institute. This Institute handles multi-million dollar research contracts, engaged with investigating and evidencing innovative practices pertaining to child and youth well-being. The work feeds directly into New Zealand | Aotearoa government’s child and youth well-being strategy, and is carried out by an inter-disciplinary leadership team, staff, researchers, collaborative partners, and doctoral students. The core vision of the institute is to improve practice and policy by researching in the areas of; learning, physical activity, nutrition, mental and emotional well-being, and child population health. She is a lecturer in the School of Teacher Education, Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Olympic Studies, and the President, Board Chair for Physical Education New Zealand. She has received multiple awards for her work, and continues to push the boundaries of health and education practice, to provide better outcomes for children and youth in New Zealand | Aotearoa.