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 Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston
Acting Director, Centre for Sustainability
Research 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.
Research Professor Janet Stephenson
Director, Centre for Sustainability (on study leave returning January 2022)
Research 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.
Dr Karly Burch
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability
Dr 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.
Professor Hugh Campbell
Professor of Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology, School of Social Sciences
Professor 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.
Professor Merata Kawharu
Research Professor, Centre for Sustainability
Professor 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.
Dr Jen Purdie
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability
Dr 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.
Dr Raaniera Te Whata
Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Sustainability
Dr 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.
Associate Professor Priscilla Wehi
Incoming Director, Te Pūnaha Matatini, Centre of Research Excellence
Associate 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.
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.
- Lynette Carter
- Professor Peter Crampton
- Rauru Kirikiri
- Jinty MacTavish
- Matt Matahaere
- Geoff Mavromatis
- Research Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston - Acting Director
- Research Professor Janet Stephenson - On research and study leave returning mid-January 2022
- Gwenda Crawford - Research Administrator
- Nicki Topliss - Research Administrator
- Fiona Gray - Project Administrator: Kainga and climate change
- Mary-Jane Campbell - Research Assistant: Media and Communications
- Kim King - BEATS Study Co-ordinator
- Marufa Akther
- Maria Barnes
- Suus Agnes Claessen - thesis submitted
- Katharine Cresswell Riol - completed
- Lucia Danzi
- Deborah Davies
- Jefferson Dew
- Carsten Dortans
- Kakau Foliaki
- Rajan Chandra Ghosh
- Laura Kamau
- Rudi Kresna - completed
- Rochelle Mackintosh
- Jamie Metzger - thesis submitted
- Sonja Mueller
- Angella Ndaka
- Shakti Raj Shrestha
- Margaretha Situmorang
- Will Stovall - completed
- Benjamin Dudley Tombs
- Abbi Virens
- David Wither - thesis submitted
The centre welcomes local and international visitors who share their research and expertise with students, staff, and the public.
We work with many research affiliates from both within New Zealand and around the world who provide opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
The Centre for Sustainability is grateful to those who have contributed to the centre's achievements over the past two decades.