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Wednesday 23 November 2022 10:30am

Royal Society Anna High Christina Ergler image
Dr Anna High from the Faculty of Law and Dr Christina Ergler, School of Geography - Te Ihowhenua have each been awarded a Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award.

Two researchers from the Division of Humanities with a focus on the rights of young people have been awarded prestigious Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Awards.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Humanities, Professor Jessica Palmer says she is delighted to see their work recognised.

“These two outstanding researchers have both undertaken important work with young people, which is a vital and too often underrepresented part of our society. Both awards are also for early career research excellence - their achievements so far are impressive and the potential that they both hold is exciting for their disciplines and the University,” Professor Palmer says.

Research on orphan relief in China wins Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Humanities

The Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Humanities was awarded to Dr Anna High, Faculty of Law, for her socio-legal exploration of orphan relief efforts, child rights and charity regulation in mainland China.  

“Winning this award is a great honour and encouragement. My work is just one piece of a rich and diverse body of important Humanities research across Aotearoa, and I'm grateful to the Society for its support of the Humanities field,” Dr High says.

Dr High's book 'Non-Governmental Orphan Relief in China: Law, Policy and Practice' is based on extensive longitudinal, ethnographic research, drawing on interviews with NGOs and private caregivers across rural and urban China.

Her book focuses on child rights and the oversight, both legal and extra-legal, of charitable endeavours, in the context of one of China's most disadvantaged groups of children – gu'er, literally the “lonely children”.  

Described as “masterful and thoughtful”, her book was awarded the 2020 Asian Law and Society Association Distinguished Book Award, reflecting its outstanding merit as an original piece of humanities research.

Research valuing young children's input for urban planning wins Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Science

Dr Christina Ergler, School of Geography, Te Ihowhenua, has been awarded the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Sciences for her research highlighting young children's contribution to achieving just, healthy, sustainable and inclusive cities.

Dr Ergler's research demonstrates that young children are silenced on urban issues, but they deserve to be listened to. Young children have a logical interpretation of their environments and an awareness of risk and vulnerability, and they also care about their city, neighbourhoods and home spaces.

Her work bridges disciplinary boundaries and is highly regarded for subscribing to child-led methodologies. It also provides accessible tools for planners and urban policy makers. Many seek out her expertise on including pre-schoolers' voices on urban matters.

“The Award is a wonderful motivation to continue my work on disrupting and redressing social, health, and environmental injustices with young children,” Dr Ergler says.

Read about all Otago recipients of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Awards in November 2022.

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