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Henry Johnson imageProfessor of Music, School of Performing Arts
DPhil (Oxford), MMus (London), BA (Hons)(Dartington), LTCL (tchg), LTCL (perf)

Joined the University of Otago in 1995
Associate Director of the Centre for Global Migrations
Former Associate Dean International (Humanities), Head of Department (Music), Programme Coordinator (Performing Arts)

Tel +64 3 479 8884

Henry is an internationally respected music researcher. He has published numerous books, chapters and scholarly articles with major publishers and top-tier journals in his fields of expertise. His primary field of teaching and research is the study of people making music. His research outputs mainly have a social focus, with much work crossing other disciplinary fields (Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, Island Studies, Diaspora Studies, Performance Studies, and Cultural Studies). The ethnographic component of his research methodology includes original field study in diverse contexts, where he engages with music at the intersection of theory and practice.


Background including creative and research interests

A prolific and internationally acclaimed researcher in music, Henry has undertaken extensive field study on three continents: Europe, Asia and Australasia. His prestigious appointments have included Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Academic at the University of Oxford, Visiting Professor at Kagoshima University, and Visiting Researcher at Seikei University. He is the recipient of numerous research awards, including grants from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. He was a collaborator in the European Cooperation in Science and Technology research initiative, “Investigating Cultural Sustainability”.

Henry is Associate Director of the Centre for Global Migrations, past President of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society, and past Chair of the International Council for Traditional Music Australia and New Zealand Regional Committee. As a performing musician, he has performed koto and sitar on BBC television and radio, and continues to perform extensively on taiko in Aotearoa.

Henry is currently researching the history of Chinese music in Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange:

Chinese Music in New Zealand


Areas of research supervision

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Asia
  • Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Diaspora studies
  • Music education

Selection of PhD supervision topics

  • Music education
  • Music diaspora
  • Pacific music in New Zealand
  • Music and language in Hawaiian music
  • “Indie” guitar-pop
  • Musical poetics in Ireland, Scotland and Nova Scotia
  • Musical instruments
  • Music therapy
  • Scottish piping
  • Acoustemology, environmental influences and sustainability
  • World music education
  • British contemporary folk music
  • Jazz
  • Rotenese gong music

Other musical and community activities

  • Performer with O-Taiko, Dunedin's Japanese-inspired drum group


Johnson, H., & Kuwahara, S. (2024). Shinjima: Vulnerability, resilience and island fluidity. Shima, 18(1), 89-108. doi: 10.21463/shima.213 Journal - Research Article

Johnson, H. (performer) (2023, 23 July). O-Taiko, performance at the Netherlands FIFA Fan Festival, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance]. Performance

Johnson, H. (performer) (2023, 22 July). O-Taiko, performance at the FIFA Fan Festival, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance]. Performance

Johnson, H. (performer) (2023, 30 July). O-Taiko, performance at the FIFA Last Mile, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance]. Performance

Johnson, H. (performer) (2023, 28 October). O-Taiko, performance at the WXV 1 Women’s Rugby Tournament for the Dunedin City Council, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance]. Performance

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