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Peace in Aotearoa New Zealand: Past, present, future

A Conference to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa | the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 November 2019
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The aim of the conference

Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa | the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies was established at the University of Otago in 2009. Its aim was to combine global cross-disciplinary expertise on issues of development, peace-building and conflict transformation as related to Aotearoa New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific and beyond, and to offer teaching, research and practice in peacebuilding.

The aim of the conference

We want to:

  • Commemorate the founding of the Centre
  • Provide an opportunity for peace scholars, peace activists and anyone interested in working towards a more just, equal and nonviolent society to gather together to reflect on where we have come so far, and where we are headed
  • Involve as many peace and social justice groups, scholars and activists as possible


View our draft programme


Conference fee

The conference fee is NZ$120 waged, NZ$50 unwaged. This includes refreshments and lunch during the duration of the conference.

Please note: Conference attendees are expected to find their own accommodation.

Travel and accommodation grants

The conference organisers are able to offer a number of travel and accommodation grants upon application, please email us.

Register for the conference

More details about the conference


Aotearoa New Zealand has Indigenous peace traditions going back hundreds of years. During the period of colonization, there were numerous campaigns of nonviolent resistance to violent conquest by Indigenous people. The onset of the two world wars saw further peace activism in the form of conscientious objection and war resisters movements. Following anti-Vietnam war protests in the 1970s, a great many peace groups came together in the 1980s to form a mass anti-nuclear movement which saw Aotearoa New Zealand declared a nuclear-free zone. The country then took a leading role in international efforts to ban nuclear weapons, and made numerous contributions to international peace support operations. In short, peace traditions, movements and groups have been an important part of the country's history, and have arguably played a major role in the formation of its collective national identity.

Nevertheless, Aotearoa New Zealand continues to suffer the consequences of its violent colonization and the suppression of its Indigenous people, as seen in the social indicators for Māori and continuing forms of structural and cultural racism. The country also suffers from an entrenched culture of violence, militarization and structural violence produced by uneven development, dispossession and vast wealth inequality, as seen in its shameful child poverty, domestic violence and suicide statistics, among others. Environmental violence in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and declining water standards, among others, represents another aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand's entrenched culture of violence. Finally, beyond the country's shores, violent conflicts have blighted neighbouring countries in the Asia-Pacific, some of which have been stoked by Aotearoa New Zealand's interference or indifference.

The shameful attacks to the Muslim community in Christchurch in March 2019 are the latest manifestation of the dangerous precedents set by racial and religious marginalization in Aotearoa New Zealand. They also highlight the important challenges faced by the academic and practice communities, and the public-at-large, as they grapple with the short and long-term implications of these attacks. Central to these discussions is the building of inclusive, peaceful communities, and the mechanisms that will facilitate this process. This conference seeks to provide a venue for these, and other discussions.

Broad themes and topics for the conference

In order to create an interesting and diverse programme, we invite papers and panel proposals on any of the following broad themes and topics:

  • Indigenous peace histories and traditions in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Aotearoa New Zealand, biculturalism and globalisation
  • The culture of violence and its different aspects in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • The demilitarisation of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Historical and contemporary peace activism in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Peace education in Aotearoa New Zealand and lessons learned
  • Traditions of pacifism, nonviolence and political resistance in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • International and regional peacekeeping and peace activism by Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Contemporary and future issues in development, peace and conflict transformation
  • The rise of extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • The challenges and opportunities of information-communications technologies for peace – Aotearoa New Zealand's role in anti-nuclear and disarmament campaigns
  • The role of The Treaty of Waitangi and social justice in creating peaceful futures

Proposals on other peace and conflict related research not listed here will also be welcomed.

The participation of political activists is particularly encouraged, and there will be panels for activists and scholars to interact, and for activists to tell their stories and raise issues. If you are an activist and want to attend, please send a brief outline of what you would like to discuss.

A selection of conference papers will be chosen for inclusion in a proposed edited volume, and/or a special journal issue to be published subsequently.

Contact us

For further general enquiries about the conference, please email the conference co-ordinator

Adan E. Suazo: or

Professor Richard Jackson:

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