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BA(Hons) MA (Otago) PhD (Otago)

Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi


Office 4S8 Richardson Building, South Tower
Tel +64 3 556 5799


Erica's research interests include indigenous kinships structures and child circulation practices (the movement of a child from their birth parents to another familial household, often mistaken as the European practice of adoption), the European effect on indigenous kinship structures, and the historical and contemporary effects of cross-cultural and inter-country adoption practices.

Her research has included challenges of identity for Māori adoptees and she is progressing this research to investigate the challenges of adoption for descendants of Māori adoptees. Erica has a particular interest in cross-cultural and inter-country adoption and the indigenous practices of child circulation. She has recently completed her PhD looking at the Colonial interventions of guardianship and adoption practices in Fiji during the colonial period of 1874 to 1970.

Erica's other research interests include the representation of indigenous people through film and media, and the historical perspectives of inter-racial relationships within urban settings.




  • Sera Perham, PhD, Uncoiling the Sau back to New Zealand: The contribution by New Zealand educators that helped shape Fijian education 1916-1979
  • Jay Jomar Quintos, PhD, The Material Histories of the Cinema on the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao and Sulu
  • Leighton Williams, MInds, Colonising sexual attitudes: the socio-cultural context of sex in Māori society
  • Zay'Yen Benson-Brown, MInds, The Impacts of a Global Pandemic on Ngāti Hine: Tikanga, Tangihanga and Covid-19


  • Nicola Andrews, MInds, Historical Trauma, Indigenous People, and Libraries (2021)
  • Sharon Moreham, MIndS, Identity and Belonging in a Contested Space: A case study of a Pākehā adoptee into a Kāi Tahu whānau(2021)
  • Ella Walsh, MInds,Ka hoki ki te kāinga: a case study of how one family's Māori identity has changed over three generations (2019)


  • 2014: Skinner Fund
  • 2012: University of Otago PhD Scholarship
  • 2006: Te Tumu Kawakawa Prize
  • 2005: Te Tumu Tōtōweka Prize


Thomas, D. Q., Paterson, L., Wanhalla, A. C., Christie, S. C., & Newman, E. M. (2024). Māori and field hockey from 1900: More than a game. International Journal of the History of Sport, 2309945. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09523367.2024.2309945 Journal - Research Article

Newman, E. (2023). Fiji's colonial orphanages. In A. Wanhalla, L. Ryan & C. Nurka (Eds.), Aftermaths: Colonialism, violence and memory in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. (pp. 127-138). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press. Chapter in Book - Research

Powell, E., & Newman, E. (2022). Growing into: Pacific intellectual genealogies and indigenous development. Pacific Dynamics, 6(2), 104-117. doi: 10.26021/10639 Journal - Research Article

Newman, E. (2022, August). Acknowledging Māori adoptees and their descendants. Verbal presentation at the Whāngai Wānanga, Wellington, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Newman, E. (2022, July). Ministry of Justice considering legal recognition of whāngai in adoption reforms: Interview with Dr Erica Newman, Indigenous Development Programme Coordinator. Interview with Zac Hoffman, Radio One 91FM Podcast. Retrieved from Other Research Output

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