Staff research in Development Studies

Staff research in Development Studies encompasses a wide geographic spread from Asia and the Pacific to the Americas and Africa.

We conduct research into gender inequality; land grabbing; displacement and migration; natural resource governance; post-disaster response and recovery; climate change adaptation and mitigation; food, water, and energy security; and global public health.

Professor Andreas Neef is leading a three-year collaborative research project on climate change adaptation in rural communities in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. You can read about his work in 'Desperate times loom for NZ', NZ Herald, Friday 15 February 2019.

We have close personal and institutional linkages with a number of international and national research and development organisations, most notably the University of Papua New Guinea; the University of the South Pacific (Fiji); Chulalongkorn University and Chiang Mai University (Thailand); Universitas Gadjah Mada and the International Center for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (Indonesia); the University of Western Australia, Macquarie University, and the University of Sydney (Australia); the University of Southampton and the University of Sussex (United Kingdom); Kyoto University (Japan); Harvard University (United States); International Water Management Institute (Sri Lanka); Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Environment (Cambodia); Volunteer Service Abroad (New Zealand).

Read more about our staff research interests.

Labour mobility in the pacific

In a report from the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research by Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem and Evelyn Marsters undertake a systematic literature review to examine the state of present knowledge on key labour programmes in the Pacific such as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in New Zealand and the Australian Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP).

The report asks:

  • What is known about the development effects (impacts, outcomes, cost-effectiveness – directly and indirectly on different stakeholders) of the RSE and the SWP schemes in the Pacific since 2007?
  • What is known about how the RSE scheme contributes to wider development aspirations of Pacific countries?
  • What are the main gaps in the evidence on effects and on the wider development aspirations?

Labour mobility in the Pacific: A systematic literature review of development impacts

Gender research in the Pacific

A study led by Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem examines gender-responsive and evidence-based research conducted in Pacific Island countries since 1994.

The study deals with research on eight critical areas of concern covered in the Revised Pacific Platform for Action 2005–2015 (RPPA).

The areas are:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Climate change and environment
  • Economic empowerment
  • Gender mainstreaming
  • Leadership and decision-making
  • Violence against women (VAW)
  • Human rights

Gender research in the Pacific: 1994–2014: Beginnings

Andreas Neef Inaugural Lecture 2014

In this video Professor Andreas Neef presents his inaugural lecture, reflecting on the 20 years he has spent working in Development Studies. Development Studies is a hub for practical fieldwork in the Faculty of Arts, and Andreas has extensive research experience in mainland Southeast Asia, West Africa, the South Pacific, and the Middle East. This inaugural lecture also coincides with the 20 year anniversary of Development Studies at the University of Auckland.

With a knowing wink to the university’s guidelines for an inaugural lecture, Andreas explores the interface of property rights regimes, poverty dynamics, and power relations, featuring agro-pastoralist people in West Africa, ethnic minority groups in the hillsides of Southeast Asia and disaster-affected coastal communities in Southern Thailand and Fiji. He discusses the effects – both positive and negative – of development policies and interventions by governments, development agencies and NGOs in the increasingly contentious global land rush that has targeted countries in the Global South.

“I believe development – wherever it takes place – always creates winners and losers. And as critical development scholars we need to pay particular attention to those at the losing end of development.”