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Associate Professor Anna Carr

Associate Professor Anna Carr (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine) has been appointed Head of the Department of Tourism/Te Mātauraka Tāpoi at Otago Business School. 

Before joining Otago’s Business School as a student in 1997, Associate Professor Carr co-owned and operated two adventure tourism businesses, Southern Alps Guiding and Wild Earth Adventures.

She is a direct descendant of Guide Sophia, also known as Te Paea Hinerangi, the principal tourist guide of the famous Pink and White Terraces in the Tarawera and Rotorua Lakes district from the 1880s. The daughter of a Scottish settler Alexander Gray  and wahine Māori Kotiro Hinerangi, Te Paea was well educated and bilingual.

Te Paea Hinerangi profile
Te Paea Hinerangi (Guide Sophia)

Te Paea established a reputation as a 'guide, philosopher, and friend' to thousands of tourists, and encouraged a number of local women to become guides, helping to establish this occupation as a lucrative form of employment for Tuhourangi women and her descendants.

The whānau affiliation with tourism and manaakitanga towards visitors has continued through the generations. When Associate Professor Carr was three months old her family shifted from Taranaki to manage the Skotel (a ski hotel) on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park, where she says she and her younger sister enjoyed a “wonderful, free-range childhood.”  

“At the age of 16 I announced I wanted to be a ski instructor and to my surprise my parents sent me to boarding school. On reflection, they wanted me to spread my wings to consider other careers and to see the world.”

Associate Professor Carr was the first in her family to attend university, studying art history and Italian at Auckland University. After graduating she lived in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park for ten years, working for the national park service and founding a family-owned mountain-guiding business.

Moving to Dunedin in the mid-1990s, she and her husband established a guided sea kayaking business and welcomed her second daughter. In 1997, she enrolled part-time in postgraduate tourism studies at Otago’s Business School to help inform the kayaking business’ marketing plan and says that this “changed the course of my life dramatically”.

“I loved the papers and was awarded a PhD scholarship. My youngest daughter started school the same day I started as a tenure-track lecturer at the University of Otago.”

She became a research fellow for James Higham in 1999, was awarded her PhD and appointed as a lecturer in 2001 and promoted to senior lecturer in 2004/2005.

She and Brent Lovelock, a Tourism Department colleague, founded and became Co-Directors of the Centre for Recreation Research in 2008. She has been a board member of a range of high-profile tourism related Trusts and has supervised over 25 PhD students and 21 Master’s students at Otago.

She also serves on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Sustainable Tourism, Tourism in Marine Environments, the Journal of Ecotourism and the Journal of Heritage Tourism.

Research has remained a passion throughout her academic career. “It has enabled me to pursue my interests in nature, adventure and heritage whilst collaborating with inspirational colleagues.”

“My Māori and Scottish heritage means my leadership style is underpinned by both collectivism and a strong sense of place.

“And I am keen to foster an environment of cultural and academic belonging in our department.”

She is also passionate about the value of face-to-face learning and collaboration, and enjoys mentoring early career researchers.

She describes herself as “an accidental academic”.

“As an indigenous person, a Māori academic, I often wrestle with working in a western institution. Our Clocktower building and campus was partially built by Māori who were imprisoned for being active in the 19th century Taranaki land rights movement. An ancestral family member was one of those prisoners. 

“So, for me, being an academic at Otago is a political act. Academia has opened doors for our family to reclaim knowledge about the past.

“I celebrate that our family’s involvement in tourism goes back five generations to my great-great grandmother, Te Paea Hinerangi.”

Associate Professor Carr lives in Dunedin with her partner Brent Lovelock. She has two adult daughters, and five grandchildren.

Kōrero by Communications Adviser, Sally Knox

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