Date of Submission



Since the enactment of the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act in New Zealand in 1975, leadership in Catholic schools has become increasingly complex. Under the legislation Catholic schools are required to develop and maintain the special character of the school. In recent times the position of Director of Religious Studies (DRS) has become a prominent leadership position with a key responsibility to ensure the structural transmission of the special character of the school. Financial or State-aid is dependent upon each school’s ability to develop and maintain its special character. The challenges and demands placed on DRSs to develop and maintain the special character of the Catholic school has impacted perceptions of the role of the DRS to the point where it has become necessary to reconceptualise the role. This study provides insights into the central responsibilities and characteristics of the DRS which are vital to any considerations pertaining to reconceptualising the DRS role for contemporary leadership.


School of Religious Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


494 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education