Dr Marama Muru-Lanning

MA (Hons), Dip Ed, PhD

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Associate Professor


I am the Director of the James Henare Research Centre. My research is dedicated to transdisciplinary research with Māori communities that prioritises equity. As a social anthropologist I focus on the cultural specificity of tangata whenua groups and their unique sense of place and belonging in Aotearoa. My professional expertise includes: building research relationships with Māori communities, environmental anthropology, commodification, privatisation, knowledge production, kaumātua mauri ora and hauora and Chilean intercultural politics. What distinguishes me internationally as a social scientist is my specialisation in four interrelated areas of research:

  1. Water;
  2. Human-environment relationships;
  3. Mātauranga;
  4. Transdisciplinary research methods.

I have research collaborations with other University of Auckland faculty teams which include projects with Civil Engineering, Robotics and Infrastructure. Over the past five years I have also developed a passion and new approaches for researching kaumātua wellbeing with colleagues from the James Henare Research Centre. 

I am from Tūrangawaewae Marae and whakapapa to Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Whātua. 

Research | Current

Project Title Ko Ngā Kaumātua ō Tātou Taonga: Supporting Kaumātua Health in a Changing World
Project Dates 2020-2023
Role  Principal Investigator Sponsoring Agency Health Research Council Rangahau Hauora Māori Research Grant

Project Title Tikanga in Technology - Indigenous Approaches to Transformation of Data Ecosystems 
Project Dates 2020-2024
Role Key Investigator (Environment) Sponsoring Agency MBIE Endeavour Fund

Project Title Harirū, Hongi and Hau: In the time of Covid-19
Project Dates 2020-2021
Role Principal Investigator Sponsoring Agency Health Research Council Rapid Response Funding Grant

Project Title Listening to the Voices of our Harbours, Kāwhia, Manukau and Whangarei 
Project Dates 2020-2023
Role Principal Investigator Sponsoring Agency Te Aparangi - Royal Society Marsden Fund

Project Title One Hundred Years of Tūrangawaewae Marae book project 
Project Dates  2020-2021
Role Principal Investigator Sponsoring Agency Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Scoping Project

Project Title MaaraTech: Human Assist Robotic Technologies for Horticulture 
Project Dates 2019-2024
Role Key Investigator (Mātauranga/Engagement) Sponsoring Agency MBIE Endeavour Fund



Teaching | Current

Department: James Henare Research Centre & Anthropology

ANTHRO 109 Future Generations Anthropology (Semester One) 


Postgraduate supervision

PhD, Mr Te Piere Wallace with Prof Ngaire Kerse

PhD, Mr Nicholas Jones with Assoc Prof Jennifer Frost

DocFA, Ms Ngahuia Harrison with Assoc Prof Peter Robinson

MA, Ms Charmaine Tukiri 

BA Hons, Ms Meghan Harris 


2021  Elected President of The Polynesian Society;

2021  Minister of Conservation Appointee to the Land Stewardship Reclassification Expert Panel;

2021  Awarded University of Auckland Research Excellence Medal; 

2021  Elected Chair of Waikato-Tainui Endowed College Trust;

2020  Appointed Chair of the Te Apārangi Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Panel;

2020  Appointed Trustee to the Sir Hugh Kāwharu Foundation;

2019  Awarded Te Apārangi Marsden Research Grant, Royal Society New Zealand, Listening to the Voices of our Harbours (with Dr Keri Mills);

2019  Appointed Oceanic Co-Leader for the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA) McGill University, Canada;

2019  Appointed Trustee to the Bruce Biggs Endowment Scholarship Fund;

2017  My sole-authored book Tupuna Awa: People and Politics of the Waikato River was a finalist in the Ngã Kupu Ora Mãori book awards (non-fiction politics);

2016  Elected President for the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania;

2014  Te Apārangi Marsden Fast-Start Research Grant, Royal Society New Zealand, Privatising Intergenerational Electricity Generating Assets;

2014  Awarded Chilean Research Fellowship with the Interdisciplinary Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (CIIR), Universidad de Catolica-Pontificia, Chile. 


Director of James Henare Research Centre

Chair of the Te Apārangi Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Panel

President of The Polynesian Society

Auckland University Press Board Member


Areas of expertise

Anthropology, Indigenous Engagements, Matauranga Māori, Cross Cultural Relationships, Human-Environment Relationships, Transdisciplinary Research, Water, Natural Resources, Treaty Settlements, Privatisation and Commodification, Knowledge Production, Kaumātuatanga, Indigenous Peoples' of Chile.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2021  (current) Appointed to Auckland University Press Board;

2020  Appointed to Te Apārangi Royal Society Fellowship Selection Panel (Humanities);

2019 - 2021  Appointed to the Te Hiranga Rū QuakeCoRE Māori Advisory Board;

2019  (current) Appointed Associate Investigator of Te Pūnaha Matatini, Data, Knowledge, Insight – ‘the meeting place of many faces’;

2018  (current) Elected Executive Board Member for the Association Social Anthropology Aotearoa-New Zealand (ASAANZ);

2017  (current) Appointed Principal Investigator of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga;

2017  (current) Appointed to the Commoning Ethnography Editorial Board, Victoria University, Wellington;

2016  (current) Appointed to the leadership team of LiLACs NZ - A Study of Life and Living in Advanced Age;

2016  (current) Appointed to New Zealand Sociology Editorial Board;

2016  (current) Appointed Board Director for COMPASS – The Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences, Arts Faculty, UoA;

2014  (current) Elected Council Member for the Journal of the Polynesian Society.

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.
  • Kerse, N., Lapsley, H., & Muru-Lanning, M. (2017). Women of LiLACs New Zealand. Paper presented at Women’s Studies Association Pae Akoranga Wāhine Conference 2016, Auckland, New Zealand. 2 September - 3 September 2016. Women Studies Journal.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/41817
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hilary Lapsley, Ngaire Kerse
  • Muru-Lanning, M. (2017). Ancestors for sale in Aotearoa-New Zealand. In J. Anderson, H. Geismar (Eds.) The Routledge companion to cultural property (pp. 473-485). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315641034
  • Muru-Lanning, M. L. (2017). At every bend a chief, at every bend a chief, Waikato of one hundred chiefs: Mapping the socio-political life of the Waikato River. In J. H. Wagner, J. K. Jacka (Eds.) Island Rivers: Fresh Water and Place in Oceania (pp. 137-164). ANU Press. Related URL.
  • Wham, C., Teh, R., Moyes, S. A., Rolleston, A., Muru-Lanning, M., Hayman, K., ... Kerse, N. (2016). Macronutrient intake in advanced age: Te Puāwaitanga o Ngā Tapuwae Kia ora Tonu, Life and Living in Advanced Age: A Cohort Study in New Zealand (LiLACS NZ). British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (6), 1103-1115. 10.1017/S0007114516003020
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Moyes, Ruth Teh, Ngaire Kerse, Karen Hayman
  • Muru-Lanning, M. (2016). Investigación colaborativa Mãori, Ciencia mãtauranga Mãori y la Apropiación del agua en Nueva Zelanda. In P. Di Giminiani, A. Aedo, González JL (Eds.) Ecopolíticas globales: Medio ambiente bienestar y poder (pp. 261-283). Santiago, Chile: Hueders.
  • Wham, C., Teh, R., Moyes, S. A., Rolleston, A., Muru-Lanning, M., Hayman, K., ... Adamson, A. (2016). Micronutrient intake in advanced age: Te Puāwaitanga o Ngā Tapuwae Kia ora Tonu, Life and Living in Advanced Age: A cohort study in New Zealand (LiLACS NZ). British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (10), 1754-1769. 10.1017/S0007114516003597
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ruth Teh, Ngaire Kerse, Simon Moyes, Karen Hayman
  • Muru-Lanning, M. L. (2016). Intergenerational investments or selling ancestors? Maori perspectives of privatising New Zealand electricity generating assets. In P. Adds, B. Bonisch-Brednich, R. Hill, G. Whimp (Eds.) Reconciliation, representation and indigeneity (pp. 49-64). Heidelberg: Winter-Verlag.
  • Muru-Lanning, M. L. (2016). Tupuna awa : people and politics of the Waikato River. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Uniuversity Press. Pages: 230.

Contact details

Alternative contact

Correct Extension: 85743

Primary office location

Level B, Room B01
New Zealand