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Current Projects

Health, Genetics, and Climate

The role of Pakistani mothers in children’s medicine-taking in New Zealand (Sumera Saeed Akhtar) 

This project explores the understandings, beliefs, and social practices associated with medications in the everyday lives of Pakistani mothers for their children in New Zealand. It suggests that better cultural understanding between healthcare professionals and patients could improve medicine adherence, patient care, and clinical outcomes.

 

Post-settlement refugee-like migrants and refugees, a comparative primary care health analysis (Jonathan Kennedy, Serena Moran, Eileen McKinlay, Jenny Visser, Sue Garrett).

This project investigates and compares the health needs of migrants with a refugee-like background with those of officially designated refugees, in the context of contrasting resettlement support and health services for the two groups in New Zealand.

 

Migration, Disease and Destitution (Jacqueline Leckie)

This project examines the intersection between the history of disease and destitution among migrants in Fiji with a focus on mental illness. The majority of these migrants were Indian indentured laborers (Girmitiyas) but the project also considers Europeans and migrants from other parts of the Pacific and Asia. The project is also concerned with the discourse surrounding disease.

  

Understanding Ancient Pacific Migrations (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

Using both ancient and modern DNA from humans and their commensal species (plants and animals that they transported in their canoes), this project seeks to unravel the migration and interaction pathways of Pacific peoples.

 

Africa to Aotearoa: A Genetic Ancestry Study of New Zealanders (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

The Africa to Aotearoa project examines the deep material ancestry of New Zealanders to highlight the migration history of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

 

Following the Phoenicians (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

Working with colleagues from Lebanon and across the Mediterranean region, we are using ancient DNA to trace the movement of Phoenicians from their homeland in the Levant to locations across the Mediterranean and beyond. We are investigating genetic diversity in ancient Phoenician and Punic burials to better understand the genetic makeup of ancient Phoenician societies.

 

Development and piloting of a South Asian-specific Food Frequency Questionnaire (SANZ FFQ) to investigate associations between their dietary patterns and health outcomes in New Zealand (Sherly Parackal)

Because of health screening on application, on arrival in New Zealand (NZ), South Asian (SA) migrants are healthier than the majority of the NZ population, but subsequently develop a four to five fold higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, including compared to other migrant groups. One of the most important independent risk factors for many chronic diseases among both first and subsequent generations of migrant SAs is food intake and, in particular, dietary patterns. In order to assess food intake accurately in epidemiological studies, information is most frequently collected using food frequency questionnaires (FFQs). However any FFQ needs to be suited to the population it is to be used in, in terms of foods included and comprehensibility. Surprisingly, there are no ethnic specific FFQs for SAs in NZ. The proposed research aims to develop and pilot an ethnic specific FFQ for SAs in NZ (SANZ FFQ). This is crucial to gain an understanding of the nutritional etiological pathway for health disparities observed among SAs in NZ. The project is being conducted with Dr Paula Andrews and Mr Andrew Gray at the University of Otago and Associate Professor Clare Wall at the University of Auckland.

 

Migration in a Warming World (Dennis Wesselbaum)

In a sequence of projects, Dennis studies the determinants of international migration, especially the effect of climate change. This includes the project ‘Gone with the Wind: International Migration’, in collaboration with Amelia Aburn (Victoria University Wellington), which constructs a rich panel data set of bilateral migration flows over 35 years. The project finds that climate change at origin country is a more important driver than income and political freedom. Further projects investigate the effects of socioeconomic variables, deal with forecasting migration flows, and study the differences across econometric methods.

 

Education

Good Teaching Project (Vivienne Anderson)

Funded by Ako Aotearoa, the Good Teaching Project explores students’ understandings of ‘good teaching’ and ‘effective learning’ in diverse educational settings.

  

Internationalisation Project (Vivienne Anderson)

The Internationalisation Project explores New Zealand university teachers’ understandings of internationalisation in higher education. This is a ‘tag’ project to a completed international study, ‘Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education’.

 

The Experiences of Native English Speaking Teachers who work and live in Japan (Naoko Inoue)

This research aims to explore how native English speaking academics working for universities in Japan are strongly promoting internationalisation processes to negotiate their identities as native English speakers.

 

The provision of sexual health education for international students in New Zealand by their homestay parents (Lien Trinh)

Among approximately 16,000 international students enrolled yearly in New Zealand schools (since 2009), the vast majority are secondary students. Despite the sheer volume of international students in the New Zealand school system, there is an apparent lack of attention to their sexuality and sexual health in policy and literature. This project examines whether discussion about sexual health takes place between homestay parents and international high school students in New Zealand. The study examines the students’ awareness, attitudes and practices in relation to sexual health, and identifies factors that shape their access to sexual health information in their homestay environments. It also explores school policies, guidelines and practices in this area.

 

Malaysian Women’s Career Development following International Study in New Zealand (Salmah Kassim)

This research explores the international experiences of 13 Malaysian women who were part of a twinned in-service teacher education programme involving Malaysia and New Zealand between 1995 and 1998. The study uses a narrative approach to examine how their time in New Zealand shaped their later lives and careers.

 

Narratives and Representations

Loyalism, Fraternalism and Religious Dissent: New Zealand Orangeism, 1840-2000 (Patrick Coleman)

Patrick's project examines the Irish semi-secret fraternal Orange Order in New Zealand in comparative and transnational context.

 

“The Southern World’s my Home!” A Biography of Thomas Ferens (Peita Ferens-Green)

Peita's research is a biographical study of her ancestor Thomas Ferens with a particular focus on his occupational life (preaching, run-holding and local politics). It draws heavily on Ferens' personal testimony to provide a well-developed sense of his character and what thoughts and feelings he held during a period of great change in Otago.

 

Urbanisation and Small Islands (Henry Johnson)

This project studies the social and cultural flows that influence small island cultures. Focus is given to cultural transformation in the performing arts as a result of migration.

 

Cultural Diplomacy (Henry Johnson)

A study of post-World War Two cultural diplomacy, migration and the performing arts between China and New Zealand.

 

Tea and Empire: James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon (Angela McCarthy)

This project examines the remarkable life story of Scotsman James Taylor, renowned as the 'father of Ceylon tea'. The book Tea and Empire: James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon (co-authored with T.M. Devine) will be published this year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ceylon tea.

 

Memorialisation in the British World (Angela McCarthy)

This project, with Dr Nick Evans of the University of Hull, examines identity, meaning and memorialisation in the British diaspora. It is one of nine case studies that form part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) funded project Remember Me: The Changing Face of Memorialisation.

 

Flirting with a destination: A study on the process of place bonding (Shabnam Seyedmehdi)

This PhD study is about place bonding and the emotional connections that refugees, migrants and tourists have with New Zealand. Using in-depth interviews, the findings to date show the importance of place to improve their wellbeing, along with the strategies they deploy to integrate into a new society. Successful place bonding can also result in the sense of security, confidence, trust, and cheerfulness, so investigating how refugees bond to a new place could have significant implications for their welfare.

 

New Immigrant Communities in Scotland (Angela McCarthy)

This project is an edited book collection (with T.M. Devine) under contract to Edinburgh University Press. It will feature selected and extended papers first presented at the 'New Immigrants' seminar, part of the Scotland's Diasporas in International Comparative Perspective Economic and Social Research Council (UK) funded seminar series.

 

Citizenship and Statelessness in Vanuatu (Greg Rawlings)

Research is focused on citizenship, nationality and statelessness, and how these legal, social and political categories structure possibilities for mobility and its regulation. This involves an ethnohistorical research project examining citizenship and statelessness in Vanuatu, the former New Hebrides. Outputs from this research so far have been published in edited collections and journals including TAJA: The Australian Journal of Anthropology, The Journal of Pacific History and History and Anthropology.  

 

Tuvaluan Diaspora in Oceania: Identity and Belongingness in the Margins (Taomi Tapu-Qiliho)

The diaspora within Oceania conceptalises the existence of settler communities of tuvaluan heritage on kioa island in Fiji and in the village of Elise fou in Samoa and validates existing ties they have with their home of origin. The diaspora has been written about extensively and Pacific Islanders are the subjects of many such writings, but little is known of the Pacific diaspora within Oceania. To appreciate this formation of communities that has taken shape due to the movements of people, one must take into account both indigenous models and conventional approaches such as migration, malaga, va and our sea of islands.

 

Polynesian Migration, Colonisation and Oral History (Richard Walter)

 

The Lawrence Chinese Camp Project (Richard Walter)

The Lawrence Chinese Camp was established during the Otago gold rush of the 1860s and was occupied by a Chinese community servicing the goldfields. By the 1870s the Camp had numerous stores, a hotel, boarding houses, physicians, a butchery, gambling facilities and opium dens. Since 2005 we have carried out four large, areal excavations on the site. Richard's research at Lawrence aims to understand the social history of this overseas-Chinese community living on the fringes of a developing Province.