Staff research in Pacific Studies

Damon Salesa

Pacific Studies is a global leader in Pacific research with an outstanding record of publishing and research dissemination and a remarkable record of securing research funding. Staff are active in traditional academic research and publication, independent consulting, working with and for Pacific communities, and advising and informing government and non-governmental organizations.

As well as housing leading Pacific researchers, Pacific Studies is home to a number of major Pacific research projects, and most of these involve staff, students and national and international partners.

In 2012 the Head of Pacific Studies, Damon Salesa, was awarded the prestigious Ernest Scott Award for his book Racial Crossings (Oxford University Press), an award given for the best work on Australian or New Zealand history or the history of colonialism by the Australian Historical Association and the University of Melbourne. He joined the very small club of University of Auckland’s past winners, Sir Keith Sinclair and Dame Anne Salmond.

Marsden research

In the last three years Pacific Studies researchers have secured three Marsden Awards, with a total value of nearly two million dollars.  Marsden Awards, given out by the Royal Society of New Zealand, are generally considered the most competitive and prestigious research awards in the country. This record is an acknowledgement of the high quality and groundbreaking research undertaken by the scholars working in our Pacific Studies programme. This achievement, of receiving three Marsdens in three years in a small disciplinary area, is unsurpassed.

Histories of everyday Samoa

In 2013 Associate Professor Damon Salesa was awarded a grant from the Marsden Fund to embark on a project to research 200 years of Samoan history.

The project will result in two volumes of work. "The Transformation of Everyday Life in Samoa (1800-2000)" will research and reconstruct a Samoan history ‘from below’, a history not just of chiefs, elites and extraordinary characters, but of what Samoans held in common, their shared experiences of ‘everyday life’.

Read more about Damon's Marsden project.

Find out more about Associate Professor Damon Salesa.

Transnational matai

In 2014 Dr Melani Anae was granted a Marsden Award with a value of $705,000 to investigate how transnational matai (chiefs born outside of Samoa) maintain meaningful and sustainable ties to Samoan villages and peoples back in Samoa. Dr Anae’s research will be conducted in Australia, Hawai’i, and Utah and will culminate in a visit to six home villages in Samoa to discuss the findings.

The team that Melani leads will include PhD students, co-investigators, interviewers and analysts.

Find out more about Dr Melani Anae.

Melani Anae
Tangata o le Moana
Damon Salesa
Racial Crossings