Dr Damon Ieremia Salesa

BA, MA (First class Honours), University of Auckland; D.Phil, University of Oxford

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Pro Vice-Chancellor - Pacific


Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is a prizewinning scholar who specializes in the study of colonialism, empire, government and race.  With a particular interest in the Pacific Islands, he also works on education, economics and development in the Pacific region, as well as in New Zealand and Australia.  After studying at the University of Auckland, he completed his studies at Oxford University.

Damon is the University's first Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific. Previously he was Associate Professor of Pacific Studies in Pacific Studies, University of Auckland.  Before returning to Auckland he was Associate Professor of History, American Culture, and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Research | Current

  • Pacific studies
  • Pacific history
  • Pacific Island societies, politics and economics
  • Pacific Islanders in the Diaspora
  • Technology in Pacific Societies and Cultures.  
  • Rethinking Pacific New Zealand.


  • Rhodes Scholar
  • Ernest Scott Prize: awarded by the Australian Historical Association for the best history book on colonialism in Australia and New Zealand, 2012

Areas of expertise

  • Pacific Studies
  • Pacific History
  • Pacific Island Societies, Politics and Economics
  • Pacific Islanders in the diaspora

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Salesa, D. (2018). Teresia K. Teaiwa: Crying Salt Water. The Journal of Pacific History, 53 (1), 96-102. 10.1080/00223344.2018.1442104
  • Salesa, D. (2018). Native Seas and Native Seaways. In F. Steel (Ed.) New Zealand and the Sea Historical Perspectives (pp. 24-41). Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books.
  • Salesa, D. (2017). Island time: New Zealand's Pacific futures. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books. Pages: 252. 10.7810/9781988533537
  • Salesa, D. I. Entangled Islands: Samoa, New Zealand and the First World WarAuckland War Memorial Museum. 19/6/2014 - 15/1/2015 Related URL.
  • Salesa, D. (2014). Emma and Phebe: "Weavers of the Border". Journal of the Polynesian Society, 123 (2), 145-167. 10.15286/jps.123.2.145-167
  • Salesa, D. (2014). The Pacific in Indigenous time. In D. Armitage, A. Bashford (Eds.) Pacific histories: Ocean, land, people (pp. 31-52). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2014). When the waters met: Some shared histories of Christianity and ancestral Samoan spirituality. In T. M. Suaalii-Sauni, A. Wendt, Mo'a V, N. Fuamatu, Va'ai UL, R. Whaitiri, S. L. Filipo (Eds.) Whispers and vanities: Samoan indigenous knowledge and religion (pp. 283-311). Wellington, New Zealand: Huia.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2012). A Pacific destiny: New Zealand's overseas empire, 1840-1945. In S. Mallon, K. Mahina-Tuai, D. I. Salesa (Eds.) Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the people of the Pacific (pp. 97-121). Wellington: Te Papa Press.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 145
New Zealand

Social links

Web links