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Humanities and social sciences research - Massey University

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Humanities and social sciences research

Internationally recognised research with significant external funding

Explore humanities and social sciences research

Find out more about people, programmes and projects in our key research areas.

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Research projects

See some of our humanities and social sciences research projects at Massey.

The land has eyes and teeth

"The land has eyes and teeth: Customary landowners' entanglements with economic systems in the Pacific" explores how Pacific communities have established models of engagement that allow them to pursue economic development while retaining control over customary land and upholding community processes and values.

Contact Regina Scheyvens

He Tātai Whenua: A Te Ao Māori landscape classification

This project, col-led by Jonathan Procter and Hone Morris, has received nearly $3 million in funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Endeavour Fund. It will create new ways of translating Māori environmental expertise so it can be added to existing geographic information systems.

Contact Hone Morris

Smart mobility: social, economic and environmental impacts and opportunities of "Mobility as a Service".

Transport is being transformed by technologies including electric vehicles and connected and autonomous vehicles. This research looks at the opportunities associated with new transport technologies to reduce transport's environmental effects and address social and economic disadvantage.

Contact Imran Muhammad

New Zealand Health, Work and Retirement Study

The New Zealand Health, Work and Retirement Study (HWR) is a study of people aged 55 years and over who live in New Zealand. The study aims to provide information on issues such as health, work, retirement and housing.

Contact HWR


Flotsam focuses on the plight of refugees from rising sea levels in Pacific nations. It had 10 international performances, including Chicago, Melbourne and New York, during the global Climate Change Theatre Action project, part of the worldwide cultural programme of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

Contact Elspeth Tilley

Bobbie maths

A revolution in maths achievement using a culturally tailored approach developed by Professor Roberta (Bobbie) Hunter is attracting worldwide attention, and making a difference in the lives of South Auckland school children.

Contact Bobbie Hunter

    Student research

    See some of our student research in humanities and social sciences at Massey.

    Dr Alet van Vuuren's Doctor of Education degree explored factors facilitating the engagement in learning of Pasifika students at intermediate school level. Her study showed the positive difference to student engagement when teachers include critical cultural content into classroom practices.

    Alet van Vuuren
    Doctor of Education

    Carrie Drake graduated with a Master of International Security in May 2017. For her master's research report, she investigated the social harms from cannabis by interviewing police in countries where the drug is legally available. Her findings come amid public debate about possible law change in New Zealand.

    Carrie Drake
    Master of International Security

    Dr Ella Kahu was awarded the Sutton Smith Award for Excellence in a Doctoral Thesis for her work exploring the experiences of mature students as they transition to distance education at Massey University.

    Ella Kahu
    PhD Psychology

    Francis Maiava received the 2016 Strategic Advisory Board Prize for Top Student for his master's research on the diverse nature of human trafficking at the Thai-Burmese border.

    Francis Maiava
    Master of International Security

    Dr Hinurewa Poutū’s research explored the role of youth in Māori language revival, and the factors that influence the use of te reo Māori among those who've been educated in whare kura (Māori-medium secondary schools).

    Hinurewa Poutū
    Doctor of Philosophy

    Janet Newman is the 2017 winner of The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems, given by the International Writers Workshop, for her seven-poem sequence, "Tender", about her father.

    Janet Newman
    Master of Creative Writing

    During my master’s research thesis, I learnt more about the English language than in any other time of my education. Since completing my degree, I’ve launched my first poetry collection, Parallel, which features a number of the poems written during my honours degree.

    Jillian Sullivan
    Master of Creative Writing

    Lindsay Baxter is the inaugural recipient of the Innovation Partnership Fellow, Digital Education. Her research for her Master of Education investigates approaches in wānanga on the role and uptake of digital resources in teaching and learning.

    Lindsay Baxter
    Master of Education

    The opportunities presented by studying and researching in health psychology set Massey apart from other universities. Being surrounded by a great team of staff and students helped make the experience what it was.

    Lydia Stallard
    Master of Science (Psychology) with endorsement in health psychology

    Dr Maureen Mooney analysed children's experiences of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes to determine how they cope with natural disasters.

    Maureen Mooney
    PhD Psychology

    As part of her honours year, Megan completed a 10,000-word research essay examining the nexus between transnational narcotics and terrorist groups.

    Megan Bockholt
    BA Defence Studies with Honours

    I got the opportunity to do an internship at a Youth Mental Health Respite facility and apply some of the theory we had learnt. This was really rewarding as it gave me the opportunity to think about and apply what I had learnt in a real-world setting.

    Minette Forder
    Master of Science (Psychology) with endorsement in health psychology

    Nathan has been selected for a 2017 Gates Cambridge Scholarship to support his PhD studies in philosophy and formal logic at Cambridge University. He was one of 55 from more than 5000 applicants from around the world.

    Nathan Hawkins
    Master of Arts (Philosophy)

    Paul Beumelburg says indigenous knowledge can be combined with modern science and technology to the benefit of island communities and developed nations.

    Paul Beumelburg
    PhD Development Studies

    Studying my PhD in New Zealand has been the best experience. The Massey Institute of Education has a strong reputation among New Zealand universities.

    Paweena Chatsungnoen
    Doctor of Philosophy

    Pip Rea's master's research investigates the role of resilience among women who have experienced the trauma of trafficking and working in the sex trade in Kolkata.

    Pip Rea
    Master of International Development

    My thesis included the play I wrote, Trans Tasmin. I was delighted with the opportunity to have two workshops of the script, one in The Dark Room in Palmerston North, and one at The Court Theatre in Christchurch. These were incredibly rewarding experiences and I was thrilled with the outcome. Subsequently, a professional theatre company has shown interest in the script.

    Robert Gilbert
    Master of Arts (English)

    The creative component was both challenging and exhilarating. For me it was an opportunity to test myself with long-form fiction, and I used it to write a substantial portion of a novel. Strip was published by Makaro Press in 2016 and subsequently longlisted for the fiction prize in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards.

    Sue Wootton
    Master of Creative Writing

    Toni Jordan, a police detective in Auckland Central, explored the reasons senior rank New Zealand Police women are not applying for overseas peacekeeping deployments.

    Toni Jordan
    Master of International Security

      Awards and funding

      Our researchers attract significant external funding. Read more about some of our latest Royal Society of New Zealand funding awards.

      Research centres

        Centre for Research in Mathematics Education

        The Centre for Research in Mathematics Education (CeRME) brings experts together to work on the place of mathematics education and its transformative potential in New Zealand, the Pacific region and the world.

        Find out more about CeRME

        Classical World New Zealand

        Classical World New Zealand demonstrates the modern world’s ongoing dialogue with ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt and highlights New Zealand’s contribution to this conversation.

        Find out more

        Equity Through Education

        Equity Through Education is an inter-professional community of educators enquiring into the problems of educational inequity. We aim to break down barriers to learning, and promote equity in and through education via research, enquiry and scholarship.

        Find out more about Equity Through Education

        Health and Ageing Research Team

        The Health and Ageing Research Team (HART) was established in 2006 to undertake a programme of research related to understanding the status and determinants of health and wellbeing for older New Zealand adults.

        Find out more

        International Centre of Excellence in Community Resilience

        The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk International Centre of Excellence in Community Resilience aims to discover how a community makes itself resilient to disasters.

        Find out more

        Joint Centre for Disaster Research

        The Joint Centre for Disaster Research is an international centre for research and teaching in disaster risk and emergency management. It is a joint venture between Massey University School of Psychology and GNS Science.

        Find out more

        Joint Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

        The centre is a joint venture between Massey University and Beijing Language and Culture University to research distance language acquisition of Chinese in digital environments.

        Contact Cynthia White

        Political Ecology Research Centre

        The Political Ecology Research Centre (PERC) is dedicated to connecting groups and individuals whose work emphasises and critiques the relationships between society, environment and politics. PERC members study, teach, research, and/or practise political ecology.

        Contact PERC

        W.H. Oliver Humanities Research Academy

        The academy fosters a vibrant, creative and responsive research culture among humanities scholars, to anticipate and addresses current and future research challenges.

        Find out more

        College of Humanities and Social Sciences

        Massey's interdisciplinary approach means that departments from all our colleges can contribute to humanities and social sciences research. However, most research in this area is done by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

        College of Humanities and Social Sciences

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