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Current Tourism research projects

Tourism at Otago is a highly research-active department

Our staff are committed to a range of relevant, on-going research projects. These include climate change and aviation, well-being and migration, environmental management, cultural tourism development, Aboriginal culture tourism in Australia, and the social practices and governance of leisure and events.

Current research projects within the Department of Tourism are listed below, categorised by surname in alphabetic order:

Anna Carr’s current research projects

Good Nature, Bad Nature

Good Nature, Bad Nature is a Marsden-funded research project exploring the current and future management of invasive species, and peoples' values associated with contentious species.

This study will help us understand how attitudes to invasive species are formed, and consequently how to generate support for their current and future management.

Research collaborators

  • Professor Brent Lovelock, University of Otago
  • Claire Dowsett and Matthias Spall, PhD students
  • Anna Clark, Research Assistant

Environmental management of tourism

This research focuses on ecotourism, ecopreneurship and sustainable SMTEs. From 1999 to 2002 Anna worked alongside Professor James Higham on a nationwide FRST funded project investigating Ecotourism in New Zealand: profiling visitors to New Zealand ecotourism operations. In 2005 Anna had an Otago Research Grant to study Māori owned nature tourism businesses.
Recreation

Anna’s interests here surround wilderness recreation planning and the history of alpine and polar region recreation. From 2009-2010 she has undertaken numerous externally funded projects in this area. Anna received SPARC (SportNZ) funding for a project on ‘Family preferences, experiences and benefits associated with outdoor in Aotearoa’ (Project Leader: Anna Thompson) and was co-investigator on two other projects ‘Immigrants and the Outdoors’ (Project Leader: Brent Lovelock) and ‘Enduring Participation in Outdoor Recreation’ (Project Leader: Brent Lovelock). Other notable research included visitor studies commissioned by the Department of Conservation in the Hakatere, Ahuriri and Ruataniwha Conservation Parks.

Cultural landscapes and cultural tourism development

Anna’s PhD (1998-2004) examined the management of visitors’ experiences of cultural landscapes in New Zealand. As a result she was an invited director of Te Ana Whakairo (Māori Rock Art Centre Trust) from 2007-2011. She continues to study how cultural identity influences tourism development and land management through cultural values for landscapes, visitor demand for cultural tourism, cultural tourism entrepreneurship and cross cultural visitor interpretation. Recently, she collaborated on a book chapter exploring cultural dissonance and indigenous peoples with Canadian researchers.

In 2012–2013 she was awarded an Otago Research Grant as Principal investigator with Diane Ruwhiu (Management). The ORG will explore Māori business networks.

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Neil Carr's current research projects

Dogs and other animals in leisure

This ongoing research examines dogs' and other animals' leisure experiences and how they are utilised by humans in the leisure environment. The work takes a broad definition of leisure that encompasses issues of tourism, travel, hospitality, and cuisine, amongst others. The research is firmly situated within ongoing debates surrounding animal welfare, rights, and cognisance.

Zoos and wildlife parks

This ongoing research examines aspects of visitor behaviour and the visitor experience provided by zoos and wildlife parks. The research also examines the nature of the images portrayed to the public by zoos, wildlife parks, and aquaria and how they are viewed by the public. The research is grounded in contemporary debates surrounding animal rights and welfare alongside debates concerning the survival of species.

Under this research theme work has been undertaken with Durrell Wildlife Park (Jersey, UK) in 2013 looking at visitor satisfaction, visitor behaviour, and the desires of the general public concerning animals they wish to see in zoos or wildlife parks.

Children and families tourism and leisure experiences

This ongoing research project examines various aspects surrounding the tourism and leisure experiences of families and children. It is situated in a conceptual framework that recognises the social construction of childhood and the family and the fluid nature of both definitions. In addition, it is based on the recognition of children as active social agents rather than passive recipients of parents and society’s wants and/or demands.

Sex in leisure, tourism, and hospitality

This ongoing research examines the role that sex (incorporating, but not necessarily limited to, issues such as sensuality, erotic, pornography, prostitution, love, and romance) plays in the leisure and tourism experience and its position in relation to the concept of and industry associated with hospitality. It is based on an understanding that there has been, to date, across virtually all corners of academia a reluctance to talk of sex, let alone undertake meaningful research in the field.

Stu Hayes' current research projects

Developing best practice for teaching and learning in a ‘hybrid’ class

The abrupt onset of the Covid-19 crisis created a situation where urgent pedagogical changes were needed to ensure that education could continue to operate. Given the unexpected nature of the crisis, pedagogical changes were, in many cases, unplanned and extemporaneous causing teaching and learning issues for educators and students alike. Looking ahead, it is important to address the matter of how to provide a high-quality learning experience for a ‘hybrid’ scenario - one where students are geographically dispersed and participating either in-person or, out of necessity, online.

In the New Zealand context, a hybrid scenario may be especially prominent during periods where Level 1 and Level 2 Covid-19 public health settings are in place and where international borders also remain closed. Moreover, without a definite end in sight to the crisis a likely scenario moving forward is that a ‘hybrid’ scenario may become an integral part of the ‘new normal’, wherein international students participate online whilst in-country students participate in-person. As such, it is imperative that we, as educators and course planners, are as well-equipped as possible to provide high-quality learning experiences for a ‘hybrid’ scenario.

The purpose of this research, therefore, is to develop best practice for ‘hybrid’ teaching and learning. As part of this, a key goal is to identify, implement and evaluate specific pedagogical practices that may help ensure that the interactive and experiential nature of tourism courses can continue to flourish regardless of where students are located and how they are studying (i.e. in-person or online).

Funding for this project was provided by the University of Otago Committee for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching Grant scheme.

Research collaborator

  • Professor Hazel Tucker (University of Otago)

Recreational Displacement – the case of angling tourists in New Zealand

Of all the freshwater catchments in New Zealand, the Otago and Southland catchments are among the most popular for recreational freshwater angling. In particular, the rivers of Otago and Southland are highly sought after by both local recreational freshwater anglers and those visiting from further afield and overseas. Anecdotal reports indicate that a range of social and environmental pressures (e.g. increased crowding, management regulations to increase/decrease access, and changes in resource conditions (e.g. river pollution)) may be impacting upon the quality of the angling experience at a number of rivers in Otago and Southland, potentially leading to some form(s) of recreational displacement.

To date, the nature and scope of recreational displacement in Otago and Southland has not been assessed and there is limited understanding of how recreational displacement, if any, is occurring across different angler groups and what effects this may be having on broader patterns of effort across various fisheries. There is also the question of how to respond, sensitively and appropriately, to recreational displacement via the use of soft and/or hard management mechanisms. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to a) understand the nature and scope of angler displacement in Otago and Southland, and b) evaluate the effects of possible management mechanisms on angler displacement.

Funding for this project was provided by Fish and Game New Zealand.

Research collaborators

  • Professor Brent Lovelock (University of Otago)

James Higham’s current research projects

Climate change and aviation

This research programme was initiated in 2009 by a research project titled ‘climate change and long-haul aviation to Aotearoa/New Zealand’ (with Dr. Scott Cohen, University of Surrey). 

This project examined climate change perceptions and attitudes towards long-haul aviation in three European travel markets; Norway, the United Kingdom and Germany. This programme of research has diversified into various collaborative projects that address air travel consumer behavior, behavioural and psychological approaches to understanding contemporary leisure/tourist mobility, and the ‘flyers’ dilemma’.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Scott Cohen (University of Surrey)
  • Professor Stefan Gössling (Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies)
  • Associate Professor Paul Peeters (NHTV Breda)
  • Dr Christina Cavaliere (Stockton University)
  • Dr Arianne Reis (Southern Cross University)
  • Dr Martin Young (Southern Cross University)
  • Wiebke Finkler (University of Otago)

Selected publications

  • Peeters, P., Higham, J.E.S., Kutzner, D., Cohen, S. & Gössling, S. (2016). Are technology myths stalling aviation climate policy? Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 44:30-42.
  • Higham, J.E.S., Cohen, S.A., Cavaliere, C.T., Reis, A.C. & Finkler, W. (2016). Climate change, tourist air travel and radical emissions reduction. Journal of Cleaner Production, 111:336-347. Special Issue on Sustainable Tourism
  • Young, M., Markham, F., Reis, A. & Higham, J.E.S. (2015). ‘Flights of fantasy’: A theoretical reformulation of the ‘flyers’ dilemma’. Annals of Tourism Research 54: 1–15.
  • Higham, J.E.S., Reis, A.C. & Cohen, S.A. (2015). Australian climate concern and the ‘attitude-behaviour gap’. Current Issues in Tourism. 19(4): 338-354.
  • Young, M., Higham, J.E.S. & Reis, A. (2014). Up in the Air: A conceptual critique of flying addiction. Annals of Tourism Research. 41:51-64.
  • Higham, J.E.S., Cohen, S.A., & Cavaliere, C.T. (2014). Climate change, discretionary air travel and the ‘flyers’ dilemma’. Journal of Travel Research. 53(4): 462-475.
  • Cohen, S.A., Higham, J.E.S. & Cavaliere, C.T. (2011). Binge flying: Behavioural addiction and climate change. Annals of Tourism Research 38(3): 1070-1089.
  • Higham, J.E.S. & Cohen, S.A. (2011). Canary in the coalmine: Norwegian attitudes towards climate change and extreme long-haul air travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand. Tourism Management 32(1): 98-105.
  • Higham, J.E.S. & Shelton, E. (2011). Tourism and wildlife habituation: Reduced population fitness or cessation of impact? Tourism Management 32(4):1290-1298.
  • Cohen, S.A. & Higham, J.E.S. (2011). Eyes wide shut? UK Consumer perceptions on aviation climate impacts and travel decisions to New Zealand. Current Issues in Tourism 14(4):323-335.

Low Carbon Mobility Transitions

Initiated in 2013 this project addresses low carbon mobility transitions in tourism and transportation. A focus of this work has fallen upon climate change, aviation and academic/lifestyle mobilities. The research contends that little attention has been paid to the professional mobilities of members of the academic community, specifically in New Zealand. It aims to explore how institutional norms, policies and procedures as well as individual preferences and behaviours can impact upon and influence everyday mobility practices.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Debbie Hopkins (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Dr Caroline Orchiston (Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago)
  • Dr Tara Duncan (Dalarna University, Sweden)
  • Dr Scott Cohen (University of Surrey, UK)

Selected publications

  • Hopkins, D. & Higham, J.E.S. (Eds) (2016). Low carbon mobility transitions. Goodfellow Publishers: Oxford. ISBN: 978-1-910158-64-7 hbk; 978-1-910158-65-4 eBook.
  • Hopkins, D., Higham, J.E.S., Tapp, S. & Duncan, T. (2016). Academic travel in the Anthropocene: A comparative study of university policy at three New Zealand institutions. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 24(3): 376-397.

The social, political and economic risks of climate change to New Zealand

The University of Otago funded project explores the social, political and economic opportunities and risks to New Zealand arising from climate change. The multidisciplinary project deploys the 2014 5th IPCC Assessment to provide the context for a number of scenarios of climate change to the year 2100. It addresses expert insights into the impacts and implications of global climate scenarios for New Zealand’s economic, social and political life. Objectives include assessment of the relative valence of impacts (the “mega-drivers”) and the strength of the interaction effects between them.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Debbie Hopkins (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Professor Colin Campbell-Hunt (Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago)
  • Dr Ben Wooliscroft (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr Lynette Carter (Te Tumu, University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr Daniel Kingston (Department of Geography, University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr Sara Walton (Department of Management, University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Assiciate Professor Ivan Diaz-Rainey (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Otago, NZ)
  • Dr Chris Rosin (formerly Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago).

Selected publications

  • Hopkins, D., Campbell-Hunt, C., Carter, L., Higham, J.E.S. & Rosin, C. (2016). Climate Change and Aotearoa/New Zealand: A Review. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(6), 559-583.
  • Hopkins, D., Higham, J.E.S., & Becken, S. (2012) Climate change in a regional context: relative vulnerability in the Australasian skier market, Regional Environmental Change 13(2): 449-458. IF: 1.945.

Sustainable tourism and resilience

This programme of research addresses the spatio-temporal aspects of sustainable tourism and the increasing relevance of resilience planning in tourism systems.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Caroline Orchiston (Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago)
  • Dr Stephen Espiner (Lincoln University, New Zealand)
  • Dr Sam Spector (Queenstown Resort College, New Zealand)
  • Dr Adam Doering (Wakayama University, Japan)

Selected publications

  • Spector, S., Higham, J.E.S. & Doering, A. (2017). Beyond the biosphere: Tourism, outer space, and sustainability. Tourism Recreation Research, 42(3): 273-283.
  • Espiner, S., Orchiston, C. & Higham, J.E.S. (2017). Resilience and sustainability: a complementary relationship? Towards a practical conceptual model for the sustainability resilience nexus in tourism.
  • Journal of Sustainable Tourism http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1281929.
  • Bramwell, B., Higham, J.E.S., Lane, B. & Miller, G. (2017). Twenty-five years of sustainable tourism: Looking back and moving forward. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 25(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1251689.
  • Bramwell, B., Higham, J.E.S., Lane, B. & Miller, G. (2016). Advocacy or neutrality? Disseminating research findings, and driving change toward sustainable tourism, in a fast changing world. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 24(1): 1-8

Sustainable marine tourism and cetaceans

This multidisciplinary programme brings together research in the social and natural sciences to address complex issues of sustainability relating to human interactions with cetaceans. Key collaborators in this field include Prof. Lars Bejder (Murdoch University), Dr. Rob Williams (University of St. Andrews) and Associate Professor Katja Neves (Concordia University).

Research collaborators

  • Professor Lars Bejder (Murdoch University, Australia)
  • Dr David Lusseau (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • Dr Rob Williams (University of St. Andrews, UK)
  • Associate Professor Katja Neves (Concordia University, Canada)
  • Wiebke Finkler (University of Otago)

Selected publications

  • Higham, J.E.S., Bejder, L. & Williams, R. (Eds). (2014). Whale-watching, sustainable tourism and ecological management. Cambridge University Press. 418pp. ISBN: 978-0-521-19597-3.
  • Higham, J.E.S., Bejder, L., Allen, S., Corkeron, P. & Lusseau, D. (2015). Managing whale-watching as a non-lethal consumptive activity. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 24(1): 73-90.
  • Heenehan, H., Basurto, X., Bejder, L. Tyne, J., Higham, J.E.S. & Johnston, D.W. (2015). Using Ostrom’s common pool resource theory to build towards an integrated ecosystem based sustainable cetacean tourism system in Hawai`i. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 23(4): 536-556.

Prospects for managing tourism development in protected areas in a period of transition (PROTOUR)

This research project, funded by the Norway Research Council (2012-2014), is a comparative analysis of protected area policy relating to tourism and recreation in New Zealand and Norway. The research includes a policy analysis exploring New Zealand conservation policy as it relates to tourism and recreation and a comparative analysis of visitor management planning in New Zealand and Norway.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Jan Vidar Haukeland (University of Life Sciences, Norway)
  • Dr Debbie Hopkins (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Dr Odd Inge Haukeland (NINA, Norway)
  • Professor Kreg Lindberg (Oregan State University, USA)

Selected publications

  • Higham, J.E.S., Haukeland, J.V., Hopkins, D., Vistad, O.I., Lindberg, K. & Daugstad, K. (2016). National Parks policy and planning: A comparative analysis of friluftsliv (Norway) and the dual mandate (New Zealand). Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events 8(2):146-175.

Craig Lee

Social connectivity of tourism SMEs in New Zealand

New Zealand’s tourism industry is the largest contributor to GDP, predominantly consist of small businesses, and employs a significant labour force. Despite this, business survival is still an issue and there is a dearth of studies examining the business practices of small and medium sized tourism enterprises (SMTE) in NZ.

Through a mixed method approach, this research aims to determine the how tourism entrepreneurs leverage their social connectivity in both face-to-face and online settings to achieve business success. This represents a comprehensive study of tourism SMEs which will contribute to improving and maintaining the continued growth of NZ’s tourism industry.

Funding for this project was provided by the University of Otago Research Grant scheme.

Research collaborator

  • Dr Rob Hallak (University of South Australia)

Examining the supply and demand of healthy beverage options in the hospitality industry

Significant international growth in ‘meals away from home’, i.e. meals purchased from restaurants, cafes, bars, quick-service etc. has driven the need for research to examine the barriers and obstacles to the supply of healthier options in restaurants. Healthier food and drink options are gaining greater focus in the restaurant industry. Consumer expectations for healthier food and drink options is not a fad and is consistent with other trends including decreases in alcohol consumption and decline in BYO in the restaurant sector.

Despite evidence of changes in consumer demand, the foodservice sector has been slow to respond. Major obstacles include short shelf life of products, concerns over low sales, and labour costs associate with producing and supplying healthier options.

This study will address these importance gaps and examine consumer demand for healthy beverages in the hospitality industry, as well the factors that facilitate / limit the supply. Funding for the project was provided by the Le Cordon Bleu - University of South Australia Research Grant scheme and Organic and Raw Pty Ltd.

Research collaborator

  • Dr Rob Hallak (University of South Australia), Project Lead

Cultural Acumen Tourism Training development

This project is to establish a Cultural Acumen Tourism Training pilot program that engages small and medium tourism operators and communities in relation to international visitors from North Asia, South East Asia, and Latin America to increase cultural awareness and improve business preparedness and outcomes.

This program aims to improve service quality and grow New Zealand’s tourism industry through a better understanding of Asian languages, culture and business practices.

Funding for this project was provided by the Centres for Asia Pacific Excellence.

Research collaborators

  • Professor Neil Carr (University of Otago)
  • Dr Wiebke Finkler (University of Otago)

International working holidays as a mechanism for establishing international business linkages

Young international visitors on working holidays to countries such as New Zealand have often been seen as a component of the backpacker population. As such, they have tended to be portrayed as part of the tourism industry that provides a relatively low financial yield. Alongside this, they have been viewed as a source of cheap, short-term labour.

Despite having Working Holiday Visa (WHVs) agreements in place with more than 40 countries, and an upward trend in the number of WHVs being approved (70,002 in 2016/17, up 7 per cent from the previous period [MBIE, 2018]), the potential of these international visitors beyond these immediate benefits has not, to date, been explored. Within this context, the aim of this project is to explore the potential for young international visitors on working holidays to facilitate development of future international business linkages. Such a potential is based on the knowledge that these international visitors are generally young (WHVs are only available to those aged 18 to 30 years), highly educated, and innovative. Specifically, the project will identify the extent and nature of international linkages that New Zealand businesses have developed with young international visitors on working holidays that they have previously employed. As part of this, the project will seek to identify obstacles that businesses have encountered in attempting to develop such linkages and strategies they have utilised to overcome them.

The project will also assess the extent to which young international visitors on working holidays are interested in potentially developing international linkages with their New Zealand employers in the future. As part of this, the project will seek to identify knowledge and strategies these visitors feel would help develop such linkages. These findings will result in the development of a best practise model for use by businesses seeking to develop international linkages through their short-term international employees.

Funding for this project was provided by the Latin America Centre for Asia Pacific Excellence.

Research collaborator

  • Professor Neil Carr (University of Otago)

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Brent Lovelock’s current research projects

Good Nature, Bad Nature

Good Nature, Bad Nature is a Marsden-funded research project exploring the current and future management of invasive species, and peoples' values associated with contentious species.

This study will help us understand how attitudes to invasive species are formed, and consequently how to generate support for their current and future management.

Research collaborators

  • Associate Professor Anna Carr, University of Otago
  • Claire Dowsett and Matthias Spall, PhD students
  • Anna Clark, Research Assistant

New Zealanders travelling abroad for medical services: Motivations, destination choice, behaviours and post-trip outcomes

This study focuses on the experiences of individual medical tourists. It investigates the motivations, destination choices, behaviours and experiences of medical tourists, using in-depth semi-structured interviews with a nationally recruited sample of returned medical tourists in New Zealand. The analysis addresses the extent to which medical tourism fits accepted models of tourist motivation, destination choice and behaviour. This research will offer useful insights into the process and experience of medical tourism and could ultimately assist with developing patient/traveller-focussed decision-making aids. The study will also be of value to policy makers and programme planners, dealing with new patterns of healthcare procurement.

Research collaborator

  • Dr Kirsten Lovelock (Dept Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago)

Exploring the nature of the medical tourism industry, India

This study is funded by a New Zealand India Research Institute grant. Utilising a case study approach based on medical tourism provision in Delhi, this pilot project explores: the nature of the medical tourism industry, and its relationship with local health service delivery, along with the connection between health care providers and the tourism industry. We document medical tourist experiences, the experiences of the health care work force and perceptions of health care stakeholders in this locale. This locality based study provides the springboard for a collaborative longitudinal multi-sited research programme which will address the implications of medical tourism for health care in India, and for health care and tourism systems more generally.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Kirsten Lovelock, (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago)
  • Associate Professor Santosh Kumar (Institute of Health Management, Jaipur, India)
  • Associate Professor Monika Prakash (Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel , Gwalior, India)

Understanding Commitment and Enduring Involvement in Outdoor Recreation in New Zealand

This study provides an analysis of commitment and enduring involvement in nature-based outdoor recreation in New Zealand. It assesses the levels of commitment and enduring involvement as well as measuring the importance of a range of personal, social and environmental influences upon commitment and enduring involvement. It is one of the first comprehensive studies of ongoing commitment/involvement in outdoor recreation in New Zealand, it also is one of the first studies to expand on our understanding of the Sport Commitment Model outside of the competitive, and youth, sporting arena and into a nature-based recreational setting. Four key outdoor recreation activities are examined; hunting, fishing, mountaineering and tramping. Funded by Sport New Zealand research grant.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Anna Thompson (Department of Tourism, University of Otago)
  • Dr Carla Jellum

Destination Competitiveness for Hunting Tourism

An ongoing project, this study considers the factors that impact upon the competitiveness of destinations for tourism that involves hunting (big game) and shooting. Dr Lovelock has undertaken work in a number of destinations (Scotland, Poland, New Zealand) and will be shortly conducting fieldwork in Botswana and Tanzania that addresses the institutional, legislative, social, economic, political and environmental factors that impact upon the activities of hunting tourism operators and upon destination level competitiveness for this niche tourism activity.

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Pooneh Torabian's current research projects

Travelling to and from New Zealand: Experiences of International Students

This research uses a critical mobilities lens to investigate the experiences of international students travelling to and from New Zealand. This study explores the inequalities for international students who currently live and study in New Zealand. Interviews with the students so far has illustrated the inequalities in terms of unequal access to freedom of movement and the means of travel such as a passport and visa. In addition, passports, visas, and other travel documents are more than just legal documents but are means through which governments can impose their authority and regulate international travel through and across their borders.

Research collaborator

  • Ali Mostolizadeh (Department of Sociology & Legal Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada)

‘Vaccine Passports’: Mobility Justice and unequal access to travel

Vaccine passport is a new term that has recently entered the vocabulary of nation-states and those involved in the travel industry. Although the introduction of vaccine passports would facilitate re-opening of borders and air travel and assists with reviving economic situation of nation-states, it also means that those who carrying proof of immunisation are the only ones who might be able to travel freely since the citizens of many countries will not have access to vaccines as well as vaccine passports in the near future. This study aims to illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the meaning of freedom of movement globally and how the introduction of vaccine passports perpetuates the inequalities in terms of unequal access to freedom of movement.

Arts and Migration: Women’s Experiences of Resettlement and Integration

The aim of this research is to explore the role of arts and leisure in facilitating the community integration and resettlement of migrant women in New Zealand. The research question forming this Participatory Action Research (PAR) research is ‘How can arts and leisure facilitate the community integration and resettlement of migrant women in Dunedin?’ We have partnered with artists from the community to run workshops for women. Considering leisure beyond economic and functional spheres can help illuminate the negotiation of hybrid identities in unique surroundings through processes of adaptation, belonging and ‘home’ building. Through these workshops, women explore arts as a means to tell their stories of migration and resettlement into their new communities.

Funding for this project was provided by the Centre for Global Migrations at the University of Otago.

Research collaborators

  • Ali Mostolizadeh (Department of Sociology & Legal Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Dr Neil Vallelly (Department of English and Linguistics, University of Otago)
  • Associate Professor Vivienne Anderson (College of Education, University of Otago)
  • Dr Parisa Saadat Abadi Nasab (Research Assistant, Department of Tourism, University of Otago)

Arts behind bars: Māori Men’s experiences of participating in arts programmes at Otago Corrections Facility

This research aims to examine Māori men’s experiences of participating in arts programmes at Otago Corrections Facility. The arts programmes in prisons have a range of benefits for participants such as distraction from everyday institutional life, purposeful rehabilitation, skills development, and creative self-expression. This qualitative research project involves interviews with Māori men who are currently serving a prison sentence in Otago Corrections Facility to explore their experiences of taking part in arts programmes. Specifically, this study uses narrative inquiry to centre the voices of Māori men and develop a nuanced understanding of the significance of arts programmes in rehabilitation of incarcerated Māori in New Zealand.

Research collaborator

  • Rue-Jade Morgan (Foundation Studies, Otago Polytechnic)

Negotiating Parenthood: Exploring fathers’ and mothers’ transition to and from parental/maternity leave in academic world

Contemporary scholarship examining parental leave in university settings and its implications on career progression, while scarce, suggests that motherhood often disadvantages women’s career progression. However, it is not entirely clear what institutional, interpersonal, and individual-level factors contribute to this disadvantage. This research project examines the role gender plays in shaping the experiences of pre/post-tenured parents who take parental leave. Conducting semi-structured interviews with male faculty who have become parents in the past five years, the study explores

  • a. How they negotiate the terms of their leave
  • b. What challenges they experience
  • c. What supports they require to transition back to work

Comparing fathers’ and mothers’ experiences of parental leave, we aim to better understand the role gender plays in shaping the experiences of these transitions. Given the steadily growing number of fathers taking parental leave, this research is both timely and important.

Funding for this research is provided by the University of Waterloo Gender Equity Grant.

Research collaborators

  • Dr Karla Boluk (Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Dr Elena Neiterman (School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Canada)

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Hazel Tucker's current research projects

Exploring ‘value’ in heritage value

Initiated in 2009 this project is aimed at opening and exploring debates surrounding heritage ‘value’, particularly relating to World Heritage. The project looks at the ways in which heritage construction for tourism can re-contextualize, or de-contextualize, culture and sites, thereby raising questions as to what is being valued, by whom and how? With current trends in ‘critical heritage’ moving away from the search for knowledge through formal structures and universal values and towards more nuanced approaches to heritage presentation, this project investigates ways in which heritage tourism can open up and be an expression of alternative values and narratives.

Research collaborators

  • Dr. E. Carnegie, (University of Sheffield, UK).
  • Dr. A. Emge (Germany)
  • Dr. J. Zhang (University of Umea, Sweden).


Selected publications

  • Tucker, H. and Carnegie, E. (2014) ‘World heritage and the Contradictions of Universal Value’, in Annals of Tourism Research, Vol 47, 63-76.
  • Carnegie, E. and Tucker, H. (2013) ‘Interpreting the Shared Past within the World Heritage Site of Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey’, in V. Golding and W. Modest (eds.) Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration, London: Bloomsbury (pp. 246-259).
  • Tucker, H. and Emge, A. (2010) ‘Managing a World Heritage Site: The Case of Cappadocia’, in Anatolia, Vol. 21(1), pp. 41-54.
  • Zhang, J. and Tucker, H. (2017) ‘Knowing Subjects in an Unknown Place’, in G. Hooper (ed.) Heritage and Identity, Florida: University of Florida Press.

Tourism, Narrative and Apocalyptic Thought 

This programme of research explores links between tourism and apocalyptic thought. The idea that we are living in ‘the end times’ is gaining increasing scholarly attention because it impacts the ways in which societies engage with issues of ecological, economic and social concern. This research examines the relationship between apocalyptic thought and tourism, and in particular, ‘last chance’/heritage tourism, defined as when ‘tourists explicitly seek vanishing landscapes or seascapes, and/or disappearing natural and/or social heritage’ (Lemelin et al., 2010). A current project under this programme is exploring the emotional / affective links between tourism and apocalyptic thought, with a particular focus on ‘hope’ and /or ‘pessimism’ production in tourism. Building on theoretical discussions on contemporary apocalyptic thought in the broader literature, this focus on hope/pessimism affect is aimed at facilitating critical developments pertaining to the management of tourism product design and delivery.

Research collaborators

  • Dr. E. Shelton (University of Otago, NZ)
  • Dr. J. Zhang (University of Umea, Sweden)
  • H. Bae (University of Otago, NZ)


Selected publications

  • Tucker, H., Shelton, E.J. and Bae, H. (2016) ‘Post-Disaster Tourism: Towards a Tourism of Transition’, in Tourist Studies, 1-22.
  • Tucker, H. and Shelton, E.J. (2014) ‘Travelling Through the End Times: The Tourist as Apocalyptic Subject’, in Tourism Analysis, Vol. 19 (5), 645-654.
  • Shelton, E.J. and Tucker, H. (2008) ‘Managed to be Wild: Species Recovery, island restoration and nature-based tourism in New Zealand, in Tourism Review International, Special Issue: Zoos, Aquaria and Tourism, Vol. 11. No. 3, pp. 197-204.
  • Shelton, E., Tucker, H, and Zhang, J. (2017) ‘A Political Ecology of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin in Southern New Zealand: A Conceptual and Theoretical Approach, in I. Lima (ed.) Wildlife Tourism, Springer Publishing

China / Chinese tourism research

This programme of research is aimed at exploring key issues pertaining both to the Chinese outbound tourist market and to domestic tourism within China. Importantly, the research includes critical reflection on how we conceptualise ‘Chineseness’ within this field. Whilst the Chinese outbound tourist market has been one of the fastest-growing international markets for destinations around the world, research to date on this market remains limited in scope and depth. This research programme aims to address this gap by responding to recent calls for more ‘emic’ approaches, plus the use of interpretative qualitative methodologies, in China/Chinese tourism research. Funding has been received in 2017 to undertake research into the on-tour experiences of Chinese package tourists in New Zealand.

Research collaborators

  • Dr. Jundan Zhang (University of Umea, Sweden).
  • Professor B. Wu (Peking University, China)
  • Professor A. Morrison (Purdue University, USA)
  • Jingru Zhang (University of Otago, New Zealand)


Selected publications

  • Tucker, H. and Zhang, Jundan. (2016) On Western-Centrism and “Chineseness” in Tourism Studies, Annals of Tourism Research, 61, 250-252.
  • Zhang, Jingru, Tucker, H., Morrison, A. M., & Wu, B. (2017). Becoming a backpacker in China: A grounded theory approach to identity construction of backpackers. Annals of Tourism Research, 64, 114-125.
  • Zhang, Jingru, Morrison, A. M., & Tucker, H. (2017). "Am I a Backpacker? Factors Indicating the Social Identity of Chinese Backpackers", Journal of Travel Research.

Performance of the Real

This programme of research is a multidisciplinary project that investigates why representations and performances of the real are particularly compelling. At its core is the study of how performance represents, critiques, enacts and constructs "the real"? Based at the University of Otago, this research programme is a funded research theme which hosts various conferences and symposia related to the “Performance of the Real” theme, including events on: Ritual and Cultural Performance; Performing Precarity: Refugee Representation, Determination and Discourse; Performance and Performativity of Violence.

Research collaborators

  • Dr S. Little (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr. R. Overell (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr. J. Cattermole (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr. C. Ergler (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Ms. H. Halba (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Dr. C. Wakes (University of New South Wales, Australia)
  • Dr. S. Suliman (Griffith University, Australia)

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