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Stephen Parker

Doctoral Research AbstractStephen Parker PhD Candidate in mountains

Modern yoga is an activity that is intertwined with notions of transformation, personal growth and the enhancement of the mind and body complex. Intrigued by the growing number of men doing yoga (Gorell, 2016) and also by significant gaps in the academic literature relating to men’s yoga experiences, my PhD aims to shed light on how yoga is experienced by New Zealand men. My research explores the multidimensional and somewhat malleable nature of modern yoga. Through the methodology of evocative autoethnography (Bochner and Ellis, 2016). I share how my yoga experiences are intertwined with notions of flow, transcendence and are also entangled with the post sport physical cultures of surfing and snowboarding. Through the methodology of narrative inquiry (Connelly and Clandinin, 1999). I share other New Zealand men’s experiences with yoga; this includes notions of yoga as a form of deep ecology, yoga as a form of mindfulness, yoga as a form of active ageing, yoga as a path of personal transformation and healing. My research focuses heavily on self-identity and subjective well being. The research is intertwined in the fields of masculinity and cultural studies and on occasions, wellness tourism. I seek to explore the meanings of modern yoga, sharing the inner and outer journeys of New Zealand men that practice ‘yoga’.


Post Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education (Distinction) Otago University (2013-2015)
Graduate Diploma in Human Geography Otago University (2014)
Certificate in Ski Patrol Tai Poutini Polytechnic (2002)
Certificate in Adventure Tourism Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (2001)
Certificate in Outdoor Recreation Tai Poutini Polytechnic (1993).

Scholarships and Awards

University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship - University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2016)
University of Otago Zoology Scholarship with the Threatened Bird Research Group. (2011)
University of Otago Zoology Scholarship 2011 with the Threatened Bird Research Group (2010).
New Zealand Alpine Club Expedition Grant: $500 towards a Snowboard descent of Mt Waddington, Coastal Range, BC Canada.

Primary Research Interests

Qualitative research methodologies. Including the research methodologies of narrative inquiry and autoethnography.
Post sport physical cultures. Including surfing, modern yoga, snowboarding and mountaineering.
Backcountry ski, snowboard and surf tourism in rural areas, in developing countries.
Masculinity. The changing performance of masculinity, specifically in postcolonial neo liberal settings.

Other research interest. Wellness tourism, subjective well being, self identity, therapeutic landscapes, positive psychology, bioregional herbalism, permaculture, foraging, counter culture movements.

Teaching Experience

Lecturing and Instructing University of Otago

PHSE 104: Applied Physical Experiences (2012-2017)
PHSE 233: Applied Theory and Practice; winter snowshoe trips (2015-2017
PHSE 231: Applied Theory and Practice: Wildcrafting and Foraging (2014).
PHSE 416 Adventure, Environment and Society (2015 - 2017)
PHSE 328 Learning and Teaching in the Outdoors (2014, 2016)
GEOG 228 Uneven Development in India (2011), private tutor.
TOUR 424 Tourism Analysis and Methods (2016), Guest lecture on Autoethnographic methodologies.
OUSA Herbal Medicine Making Tutor (2012-2017)

Otago Polytechnic School of Adventure

Guest lecturer on bushcraft module and leading environmental education sessions on medicinal plants. (2015-2016)

Course Coordinator

Sir Edmond Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre
Course Coordinator for the Ski Patrol Course. Teaching snow safety, avalanche rescue, first aid. (2009).

Primary and Secondary School Teaching

2015 Queens High School
Guest instructor on ‘Backyard Adventure Journey’. A journey for the students to connect more meaningful with their local environment and community.

2012-13 Dunedin Rudolf Steiner School
Teaching Environmental education and eco literacy. Developed my own curriculum to teach a place responsive course with a focus on local ecology and the identification of local plants for medicine, fire, shelter and food.

2009 Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Center
Instructor on Adventure Challenge programs, a five-day intensive experiential learning course for 14-17 year olds. Teaching a wide range of activities including team building, abseiling and navigation.

Ecotourism Projects

Aga Khan Foundation/New Zealand Aid Afghanistan (2012/2013).
Eco tourism consultant and training ski guides in avalanche mitigation and ski guiding in the Koh-e-Baba Mountains.

Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department Gulmarg Ski Area Kashmir India (2007). Eco Tourism and Avalanche Mitigation Consultant at Gulmarg Ski Area. Set up the initial Pir Panjali Backcountry Avalanche Advisory and taught avalanche education programs to local ski patrollers.

Surfing Guide at Savaii surf camp in Samoa (2008)

Alpine trekking and snowshoe guide for Aspiring guides in Mt Aspiring National Park (2008-2015).

Raft guide for Eco Rafting on the West Coast of the South Island. (2002-2003).


Parker, S. (2013) Incorporating Frilfuftsliv and Wildcrafting into Outdoor Education in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Medicinal Herbalists.

NZ Alpine Journal articles

New Zealand Alpine Journal 2013 Splitboard guiding in Afghanistan
New Zealand Alpine Journal 2005 Splitboard Adventures

Conference Presentations

The Sixth International Outdoor Education Research Conference (2013)
Foraging and Wildcrafting: Our way to place Responsiveness

Southern Hemisphere Avalanche Conference (2013)
Avalanche Education in Afghanistan

New Zealand Herb Society, Dunedin, New Zealand. Presentation on Adventures in Herbalsim (2017).

Industry Qualifications

New Zealand Mountain Safety Council /Otago Polytechnic Avalanche level 2 (2008)
New Zealand Mountain Safety Council certified Avalanche instructor (2010)
New Zealand Rafting Association Grade 3 Whitewater rafting guide (2003)
New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association Alpine 1 (2009)
Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Center Five day Risk management course (2009)
IRAANZ Rope Access Level 1 (2006)
Yoga Arts Yoga Teacher Training course, 200 hours (2002)