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Our people

Ō mātou tāngata

Our interdisciplinary teams include researchers from a wide range of specialties within the University of Otago, from other universities and research agencies, in New Zealand and internationally.

The Centre is committed to growing research capability in sustainability by supervising and supporting postgraduate students with aligned interests.

Research staff

Research Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston

Acting Director, Centre for Sustainability

Caroline Orchiston thumbResearch Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston's passion is for applied research that makes a difference to our society, particularly in building social capital through networks and connections, and working with communities to build resilience.

Email caroline.orchiston@otago.ac.nz

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Research Professor Janet Stephenson

Director, Centre for Sustainability (on research and study leave returning January 2022)

Janet Stephenson thumbResearch Professor Janet Stephenson is passionate about collaborative, interdisciplinary research. Her research interests include indigenous resource management; the interconnections between people and their local environments; and the role of individuals and organisations in the transition to a sustainable future.

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Dr Karly Burch

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability

Karly Burch thumbDr Karly Burch has research interests in the fields of science and technology studies (STS), environmental sociology, and the sociology of agriculture and food. She has a deep passion for collaborative, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, and strives to enact research which opens up discussions on food, technology and the environment in ways that attend to the complex social and material heterogeneity imbued within these intersecting topics.

Email karly.burch@otago.ac.nz

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Professor Hugh Campbell

Professor of Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology, School of Social Sciences

Hugh Campbell thumbProfessor Hugh Campbell has research interests in the social and economic dynamics of ‘greening’ food systems, the politics of sustainability under neoliberal governance, achieving sustainability via audits, food waste, transitions in agriculture and food systems in New Zealand, and theories of global food regimes.

Email hugh.campbell@otago.ac.nz

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Professor Merata Kawharu

Research Professor, Centre for Sustainability

Merata Kawharu thumbProfessor Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi), has research interests that have over-arching themes of supporting Māori leadership, community and education. She has focused in areas such as land and water, capability building, climate change resilience, and connections to ancestral marae by young Māori.

Email merata.kawharu@otago.ac.nz

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Dr Jen Purdie

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability

Jen Purdie thumbDr Jen Purdie works at the nexus of climate and energy. Her research interests include climate change impacts on the energy system, and climate forecasting on a range of timescales.

Email jen.purdie@otago.ac.nz

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Dr Raaniera Te Whata

Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Sustainability

Raaniera Te Whata thumbDr Raaniera Te Whata has research interests relating to whenua Māori and freshwater planning to meet government environmental policy initiatives. He is involved as a postdoctoral fellow in the Kainga and Climate Change project which involves working with 7 rural marae communities to help them respond to the challenges of climate change.

Email raaniera.tewhata@otago.ac.nz

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Associate Professor Priscilla Wehi

Incoming Director, Te Pūnaha Matatini, Centre of Research Excellence

Priscilla Wehi thumbAssociate Professor Priscilla Wehi is a conservation biologist whose research has two main research themes: ecological knowledge; evolutionary ecology, and especially foraging behaviour, including isotope and nutrient analyses of diet, and socioecological relationships, including cultural environmental management.

Email priscilla.wehi@otago.ac.nz

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Advisory Board

The Centre for Sustainability Advisory Board was established in 2011 and consists of up to 6 members with relevant knowledge, connections and expertise. The Board provides advice and guidance including an overview of the Centre’s strategic approach.

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Administration

Email centre-sustainability@otago.ac.nz

Postgraduates

Masters' students

PhD students

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Visitors

The centre welcomes local and international visitors who share their research and expertise with students, staff, and the public.

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Research affiliates

We work with many research affiliates from both within New Zealand and around the world who provide opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

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Alumni

The Centre for Sustainability is grateful to those who have contributed to the centre's achievements over the past two decades.

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