Professor Jennifer Claire Curtin

MA (Hons) Waikato , PhD ANU


I am a Professor of Politics and Director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland (  My research and publications focus on Australian and New Zealand electoral politics, trans-Tasman policy innovations, sport, and gender, policy and political leadership. I am the Academic Director of Auckland’s Master of Public Policy Programme and I teach comparative public policy, lesson drawing and the gender analysis. My research involves engagement with a range of government agencies, policy consultancies and non-profit organisations, and my publications appear in scholarly outlets, peer reviewed reports, and policy briefings. I regularly share my findings with community organisations and the media, both in New Zealand and Internationally.

I am currently leading externally funded projects on the following topics: Gender Responsive Budgeting in New Zealand; the Gendered Effects of COVID19; Gender and Political Leadership at the Subnational Level in Australia and Canada; as well as being a Principal Investigator on the New Zealand Election Study.  You can find more of my policy-relevant research on the PPI-sponsored website Auckland Policy Commons (, and our Gender Responsive Analysis and Budgeting website (

I hold a BA and MA (First Class Hons) from Waikato University (1990; 1992), a PhD in Political Science from the Australian National University (1997) and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education from the University of Canberra (2001).  I was a NZ-Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in 2012 .

Before arriving at the University of Auckland, I taught politics and policy at Monash University and the University of Canberra, and I held a postdoctoral position at the Australian National University. I worked as a policy research officer in the Australian Federal Parliament and was the Australian Parliamentary (postdoctoral) Fellow in 2000.

Prior to my academic career I worked in the finance sector, both here in New Zealand, and in London.  I was also a territorial soldier for 4 years, first in Artillery and then Signals. I have two young adult sons, and in my spare time I am writing a book on women and rugby union in New Zealand.

Research | Current

  • New Zealand and Australian politics and public policy
  • Women and gender politics and public policy
  • Sport, politics and policy

My research on women/gender politics has focused on the representation of women in formal political institutions and policy making environments (as political leaders, ministers, members of parliament, the bureaucracy and trade unions).  I am currently engaged in a number of projects that cover off these themes including: women's political leadership and cabinet representation in four Westminster countries, including New Zealand; the impact of women's representation and gender analysis on public finance decisions, science advice, and COVID19 policy responses. Most recently I won an MBIE Smart Ideas grant to design a sustainable gender budgeting strategy for New Zealand.  

In my spare time I am working on a book project that explores women's engagement with rugby union in New Zealand (1840-present).
I have expertise in New Zealand and Australian politics with a particular focus on voters, elections, rural and regional representation, and the rise of independents and minor parties. I am a principal investigator in the New Zealand Election Study.

Teaching | Current

POLITICS 757 Comparative Public Policy

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising graduate students in any of the subfields listed above, especially if the research project has a focus on gender, politics and public policy. 

I have supervised 17 PhD students to completion since 2007; and I continue to supervise and co-supervise a large number of PhD and Masters by research students. 



I am Director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland (


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gauja, A., Chen, P., Curtin, J., & Pietsc, J. (Eds.) (2018). Double disillusion : the 2016 Australian federal election. Canberra: Australian National University Press. Pages: 690. Related URL.
  • Vowles, J., Coffe, H., & Curtin, J. (2017). A Bark but no Bite. Inequality and the 2014 New Zealand General Election. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press. Pages: 382. 10.22459/BBNB.08.2017
  • Sawer, M., & Curtin, J. (2016). Organising for a more diverse political science: Australia and New Zealand. European Political Science, 15 (4), 441-456. 10.1057/s41304-016-0070-y
  • Celis, K., Childs, S., & Curtin, J. (2016). Specialised parliamentary bodies and the quality of women's substantive representation: A comparative analysis of Belgium, United Kingdom and New Zealand. Parliamentary Affairs, 69 (4), 812-829. 10.1093/pa/gsw007
  • Curtin, J. (2016). Before the 'Black Ferns': Tracing the beginnings of women's rugby in New Zealand. International Journal of the History of Sport, 33 (17), 2071-2085. 10.1080/09523367.2017.1329201
  • Curtin, J. (2016). Gendering parliamentary representation: A mixed system producing mixed results. In M. Tremblay (Ed.) Women and legislative representation: Electoral systems, political parties, and sex quotas (pp. 191-202). New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230610378
  • Curtin, J. (2015). Feminist contributions to New Zealand political science. Women's Studies Journal, 29 (1), 4-20.
  • Curtin, J. (2015). Revisiting social liberalism and feminism in New Zealand. In A. Yeatman (Ed.) Feminism, social liberalism and social democracy in the neo-liberal era: Four Essays (pp. 51-66). University of Western Sydney: Ed. A. Yeatman, Whitlam Institute, Working Paper Series. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 543
New Zealand

Web links