Find out what our graduates have been getting up to since graduating.

Brittany Goodwin, MA (Hons)

Policy Advisor at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Cameron Johnson, MA (Hons)

Partnerhips Development Advisor at Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation)

Caitlin Neuwelt-Kearns, MA (Hons)

Researcher and Policy Analyst at Auckland City Mission and Child Poverty Action Group

Tom Bayliss, MSc (Hons)

Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


See below for the Honours dissertations and Masters and PhD theses of our graduates. Unfortunately, Honours dissertations are not public documents. Masters and PhD theses are, however, so feel free to click on the download links and get stuck in!


Ontologies of meat waste: Assessing retail meat waste of independent butchers in Auckland, New Zealand, and the effect of COVID-19

By Amy Arnesen, 2020. Supervised by Emma Sharp

Media framing of COVID-19 Pandemic in New Zealand

By Nicole Fletcher, BSc Hons, 2020. Supervised by Robin Kearns

Dog Identities and Access to Public Transport Systems in Auckland, New Zealand

By Magdelena Grunwald, BSc Hons, 2020. Supervised by Robin Kearns

Recognising the value of Auckland’s community food providers: How they responded to the impact of COVID-19

By Sophie Richardson, 2020. Supervised by Emma Sharp

Market making and artificial milk

By Aleisha Seagrave, 2020. Supervised by Nick Lewis

Imagining and enacting a just seaweed economy in Aotearoa New Zealand

By Ingrid Petersen, 2020. Supervised by Nick Lewis

Eating grub: Assembling an edible insects market

By Kenzi Yee, 2020. Supervised by Nick Lewis

Food security in Glenn Innes

By Georgia McLellan, 2019. Supervised by Nick Lewis

Pop-up publics: Temporariness, interstitiality and Auckland’s night markets

By Mitchell Klein, 2019. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Ryan Jones

Local responses to suburban street-based sex work

By Caitlin Neuwelt-Kearns, 2018. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Octavia Calder-Dawe

#WeAreBeneficiaries: Social media and resistance to poverty stigma

By Holly Meese, 2018. Supervised by Tom Baker

Linking therapeutic (is)landscapes, experiences of digitality and the quest for wellbeing

By Erin James, MA Hons, 2018. Supervised by Robin Kearns

Place, presence and participation: Disabled young people’s social inclusion through wheelchair basketball

By Laura Bates, BA Hons, 2018. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Janine Wiles

Embodying the Neutral Pedestrian in Auckland, New Zealand,

By Salene Scholffel-Armstrong, BA Hons, 2018. Supervised by Robin Kearns

Indigenous perspectives in Housing First homelessness programs

By Brittany Goodwin, 2017. Supervised by Tom Baker

The mobilisation of Housing First approaches to homelessness in New Zealand

By Madi Salter, 2017. Supervised by Tom Baker

Welfare beneficiary advocacy in Aotearoa/New Zealand 

By Courtney Davis, 2016. Supervised by Tom Baker

Advertising and the production of suburban space

By Alexandria Turner, 2016. Supervised by Tom Baker

Soundscapes and the places of performance 

By Finn McLennan-Elliot, 2016. Supervised by Robin Kearns


Dealing with sentient surplus: Exploring greyhound rehoming in New Zealand

By Emily Stevens, MSc, 2020. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Tom Baker.

Within the social sciences, attempts to move beyond dualist ontologies has seen the agencies, bodies and labours of nonhuman animals be better accommodated in the fabric of ‘the economic’ and ‘the social’, efforts that have been largely inspired by Haraway’s (2003) post-dualist, relational ontology of ‘naturecultures’. However, these efforts have produced celebratory stories of human-nonhuman entanglement, and little attention has been paid to the ways in which animals “come to bear capitalist value or not in contemporary social relations” (Collard & Dempsey, 2017, p. 78)… more

Mobilising the market in social services: Social impact bonds, fast policy and neoliberalised policymaking in New Zealand

By Rebecca Grimwood, MA, 2020. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Louise Humpage.

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an emerging outcomes-based mechanism for the delivery of social services. The key feature of SIBs is the introduction of private, often for-profit investors who receive a return from their financial investment in a social intervention. SIBs gained traction in New Zealand in 2012 as the government sought to experiment with ways to encourage innovation and efficiency in service delivery contracting, implementing two SIB pilots in South Auckland in 2017. While there is a growing body of international literature on SIBs, New Zealand’s experience has largely escaped critical academic scrutiny… more

Getting the crowd to care: An examination of health-related crowdfunding in Aotearoa New Zealand

By Caitlin NeuweltKearns, MA, 2020. Co-supervised by Tom Baker, Octavia Calder-Dawe and Ann E. Bartos.

Crowdfunding campaigns are increasingly initiated as a means of taking care of friends and family who are facing health-related challenges. Where particular treatments and medications are unfunded or unavailable domestically, money raised through crowdfunding platforms may be used in lieu of state-funded care. As a nascent phenomenon, health-related crowdfunding has begun to receive scholarly attention in recent years; yet, further research is needed into the practices and experiences of users in order to understand the implications – both at an individual and structural level – of this increasingly popular means of financing care… more

Balancing Moni Hua and Mana Motuhake: Iwi Commercial Food Ventures and Māori Food Sovereignty: A Whakatōhea Case Study

By Georgia McLellan, MSc, 2020. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Karen Fisher.

Food sovereignty, the right of people to define and control their own food and agriculture systems (Patel, 2009), was a significant part of pre-colonial Māori economies as Māori practised mahinga kai where they lived off the land and were guardians of their resources. Today, after a long period during which Māori were stripped of many of their abilities to exercise sovereignty over their food worlds and food lives, Māori are working to rebuild their food sovereignty in a diverse economies framework (Bargh, 2011, 2012; Amoamo Ruwhiu & Carter, 2018; Bargh, Douglas & Te One, 2014; Fitzherbert, 2015). There is currentl‎y a limited amount of research examining Māori food sovereignty in these terms… more

Understanding how community management has shaped a park as a place: A case study of Randwick Park, Manurewa, Auckland

By Hannah Chapman-Carr, MSc, 2019. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Ann E. Bartos.

Parks and green spaces have been recognised as helping to mitigate the adverse impacts of urban living on both environmental and human health. They go beyond providing essential ecosystems services, additionally offering a wide range of intangible benefits supporting community development such as social cohesion, building community capacity and resilience. Parks are generally managed in a top-down manner and are the responsibility of the local governing authority… more

Assembling the Loop: Interpreting the marketisation of New Zealand’s emerging circular economy

By Harriet Callard, MSc, 2019. Supervised by Nick Lewis.

Various bodies of literature argues that established models of economic development are stimulating unsustainable patterns of environmental degradation and economic development, therefore we need operationalise new ways of doing economy. In this context, this research examines New Zealand’s emerging interest in circular economies (CE), a political discourse that presents a source of new, socially responsible, business opportunities, that can be realised through experimenting in niche markets. The thesis documents a set of diverse CE experiments and the market making practices in play to examine how markets are designed, shaped and reshaped to enhance resource utilisation and reduce waste… more

Responding to the Weather Indoors: Practices and Experiences of Tenants in Damp Housing on Waiheke Island

By Elliot Serjeant, MA, 2019. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Tara Coleman.

Damp and mouldy dwellings have long been an unfortunate feature of the private rental market in Aotearoa New Zealand. Existing research demonstrates that legislative inaction and a societal sanctioning of this issue has led to the existence of a poor quality rental housing stock, resulting in adverse health outcomes for tenants who inhabit these dwellings. Yet, research engaging closely with the practices and experiences of tenants who live in damp and mouldy housing is absent from housing studies literature. In this thesis, I address this gap… more

‘For me it was super easy, but for other people …’: Investigating assisted inclusion and the privilege to move ‘freely’ between New Zealand and Australia

By Thomas Bayliss, MSc, 2018. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Francis Collins.

Borders were never designed to stop everyone from moving, and free movement for the privileged continues to be enabled around the world by bilateral and multilateral agreements. A bilateral agreement between New Zealand and Australia (the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, 1973) allows citizens of these nations to perform ‘free movement migration’ between the two countries. Academic research has presented free movement migration as being based on the ability of governments to minimise the restraints and discriminatory behaviours that prevent or dissuade the movement of people between borders… more

Pipe dreams and dirty streams: The politics of legitimising centralised urban water infrastructure

By Polly Holland, MSc, 2018. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Sam Trowsdale.

The objective of this research was to understand how and why centralised urban water infrastructure is legitimised, despite acknowledgement of its flaws and established alternatives. This research was motivated by criticism of traditional, centralised forms of urban water management on the basis of their negative social and environmental impacts, and the resulting emergence of sustainable management alternatives. The investigation was carried out using a qualitative case study of Auckland’s proposed Central Interceptor. A dataset was formed using publicly available documents from the stakeholders involved in the city’s urban water management… more

Home-makers: Investigating the experiences of self-employed women working from home

By Brittany Goodwin, MSc, 2018. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Ann E. Bartos.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the experiences of self-employed women working from home. Enabled by the internet and digital ‘platform economy’, women are engaging in new and re-emergent forms of home-based paid labour. The rise of the ‘mumpreneur’ and feminised notions of the ‘side hustle’ – young mothers and young women who are engaging in entrepreneurial pursuits, generally from home – is affecting the way in which women’s work is conducted. Home is a space of traditionally domestic value, through unpaid activities such as care and nurturing. However, it is now a renewed site of economic value for women… more

Precarity in ‘Paradise’: Understanding Older People’s Experiences of Renting on Waiheke Island

By Laura Bates, MA, 2018. Supervised by Robin Kearns.

Homeownership has long been central to notions of the ‘kiwi dream’ for many New Zealand residents. However, housing unaffordability is a current concern, especially in Auckland where there is increasing recognition of the challenges faced by renters in unsafe, insecure and precarious housing circumstances. In this thesis I explore older people’s experiences of renting on Waiheke Island, metropolitan Auckland’s “Island Paradise”. Waiheke presents a context where ageing and housing challenges are increasingly recognised, and where the community and landscape is changing with recent influxes of tourist visitors and newer (and typically wealthier) residents… more

Social Entrepreneurial Subject Formation within Collective Affects: An Analysis of Hope at the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum

By Michael Mann, MA, 2017. Supervised by Tom Baker.

The aim of thesis is to answer the question of how affects operated within and through the Social Enterprise World Forum to contribute to the formation of social entrepreneurial subjects. Social entrepreneurship has emerged as an important new economic practice in recent decades and is regarded as a significant new force for social change. Existing approaches to the analysis of social entrepreneurial subjects, however, have tended to under-estimate and over-estimate the capacities of the social entrepreneurship to address social and environmental problems… more

Memorialisation and Memory as an ANZAC Descendant: The Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph

By Emma O’Neill, MA, 2017. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Meg Parsons.

This thesis explores the concepts of emotion, embodiment, and place-based experience through encounters with the ceremonial and non-ceremonial World War One (WW1) memorial cenotaph. The thesis addresses a gap in the memorial studies literature by using the Auckland Domain WW1 Memorial Cenotaph as an empirical case study of how emotion and embodiment are experienced on ceremonial and non-ceremonial field visits. This gap in memorial studies extends to geographic inquiry where a general sensory poverty exists in terms of how everyday encounters with place impact processes of self- and group identification, belonging, and exclusion… more

Imagining suburbia: Imaginative production of traditional and post-suburban forms in Auckland

By Cameron Johnson, MA, 2016. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Francis Collins.

Auckland’s suburbs are undergoing a range of changes. From an emphasis on a wider variety of transport options, to the rise of denser, more diverse forms of housing, these changes have been fuelled by growing concerns about the viability and desirability of traditional suburbia. In many ways, these changes resonate with recent literature on post-suburbanisation, a growing body of commentary describing the increasingly diversified nature of suburban forms and functions (Wu & Phelps, 2008; Charmes and Keil, 2015; Phelps, 2015). Rather than proclaiming the end of the suburbs, this thesis treats post-suburbanisation as a multiplication of suburban spaces beyond the traditional low density, dormitory suburbs of the post-War era… more

Solidarity, selectivity, security: The management of New Zealand migrants in Australia

By Ryan Krebs, MSc, 2016. Co-supervised by Tom Baker and Nick Lewis.

From 2014, New Zealand born migrants to Australia been detained in the Australian Immigration dentition centre of Christmas Island. The two countries have historically had friendly relations and under the 1973 trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement citizens of either country have had free movement to live and work in the other country. This thesis explores the discursive framings under which New Zealand born migrants in Australia have been managed in the period from from 1901 to 2016. This is performed by textual analysis of qualitative material… more

Searching for the urban oasis: Day spas and rethinking the relationship between body and healing places

By Kailas Moral, MA, 2016. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Tara Coleman.

This thesis develops and extends recent work in geography on the therapeutic experiences of places and the body, in an examination of well-being in the day spa. Drawing on the concepts sense of place, place identity, and therapeutic landscapes, developed in place and well-being literature, the thesis explores how the day spa is produced and experienced as a site that contributes to diverse forms of well-being. The importance of the spa design, experience, individual choice, and the regulation of the body within the spa setting, provide an insight as to how the day spa develops the reputation of being a healing place… more

Exploring coastal development through affect and discourse over time: a case study of the Bayly’s Beach experience

By Sarah Heritage, MSc, 2016. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Brad Coombes.

Research around Coastal development is usually focused on extraordinary and significant cases of growth in coastal areas. Such studies also tend to focus on present experiences and performative methods, which ultimately marginalise historical experiences and associated documentary sources. This thesis aims to shift the emphasis from the extraordinary and present, towards conceptualising coastal development and place as a process that emerges over time and is informed by relational interactions between people and place… more

Islands, Archipelagos, and the Waitākere Ranges: An Object-Oriented Approach

By Jonathan Rankin, MSc, 2016. Supervised by Robin Kearns.

This thesis reconceptualises islands beyond their common definition of ‘land enclosed by water’ to view them instead as objects extending into mainland spaces. As a geographical category, the island has a long history of being used as a metaphor for describing a variety of enclosed spaces, often with little reference to real island lives. In seeking to avoid this tendency, I speak of islands, not as metaphors per se, but rather, as material and affective spaces forming part of a broad continuum of coastal places. This relational view strikes a balance between articulating the particularity of islands and their connection to other islands, mainlands, and connecting technologies… more

Regional legacies of the U20 World Cup: A case study in New Plymouth, New Zealand

By Anupom Kabir, MSc, 2016. Supervised by Nick Lewis.

The FIFA U20 World Cup is the second largest football tournament in the FIFA calendar. The 2015 edition of the tournament was held in New Zealand. The city of New Plymouth in the Taranaki province is a small provincial city was the host of six games. The aim of the project was to understand the impacts that hosting a major tournament has on small provincial cities. Interviews, crowd participation, news articles, and official documents were analysed to see what sort of impacts were felt in this case study. The research was guided with Chappelet and Junod’s (2006) five types of legacy (infrastructure, social, economic, urban, and sporting) and situated within placemaking literature… more

Geographies of Consumption: A Moral Economy of Milk in New Zealand

By Shari Cave, MSc, 2015. Supervised by Nick Lewis.

This thesis creates an analytical lens that examines consumption and production in the same realm. That is, it aims to reduce the distance that Jackson, Ward & Russell (2009) argue exists between producers and consumers resulting in a fractured food systems which ultimately sees the lives experience of food inherently different for people over the globe. Current food literature argues that food can tell us everything we seek to know. Food is “molecular, bodily, social, economic, cultural, global, political, environmental, physical and human geography simultaneously” (Cook, 2006: 656)…  more

Exploring the Usage of School Green Spaces After-hours

By Isabel Lam, MSc, 2015. Supervised by Robin Kearns.

Population growth and the quest for more compact cities are putting pressure on public green spaces, yet these green spaces have been shown to be associated with human health and wellbeing. In this thesis I explore the significance of school green spaces (SGSs) in the periods outside of school hours in Auckland. The thesis investigates the multiple factors motivating and hindering the use of SGSs and in doing so, demonstrates that schools should be recognised as multipurpose spaces that can lessen pressures on other public green spaces in cities… more

‘A good hive’: Diffractive Cosmopolitical Exploding of Worldly Apicultural Relations in New Zealand

By Roseanna Spiers, MA, 2014. Supervised by Nick Lewis.

Apiculture has a diffractive historicity and vital materiality in which co-constitutiveness of human socio-technologies and the reproductive sociality of honey bees (Apis mellifera) have co-fabricated a complex and intra-active biological economy. In this thesis I examine key dimensions of this coconstitutiveness and show that the successful introduction of A. mellifera and their reproduction in New Zealand can be productively explored as a situated coming to know the world through its doing, specifically, a partial and noninnocent actualising of apiarian potentials… more


Sustainability Transitions in New Zealand: Mainstreaming Alternative Food Values

By Barbara Ribeiro, PhD, 2020. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Ward Friesen.

The purpose of this research is to examine the penetration of sustainable foods into mainstream retailing in New Zealand. The research draws on notions of sustainability transitions, which it frames as a movement rather than a destination, and as a relational problem shaped by exogenous and endogenous forces. The research explores the convergence of transition theory and convention theory. The empirical work comprises a mix of extended semi-formal interviews with those involved in the production and distribution of three indicative product-case studies of ‘sustainable’ foods sold at supermarkets, documentary analysis of the companies involved and focus group sessions with consumers of such foods… more

Producing tourism policy, democracy and marginalised local communities

By Ahmed Inaz, PhD, 2020. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Yvonne Underhill-Sem.

Despite four decades of tourism expansion and a rapid economic growth, the (wider) development conditions of local island communities have barely progressed in the Maldives. If tourism development is a vehicle for development and a means to achieve sustainable development, it is important to understand and question why local communities are unable to reap the benefits of tourism, in terms of economic development, and participate in national decision-making processes. This thesis brings together historical dimensions, with broader social, political, and economic processes to examine the underlying power-relations in the production of tourism development policies… more

Rethinking Science in Oyster Food Safety Regimes: Vibriosis and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference as an Actor Network

By Dorothy McCoubrey, PhD, 2019. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Susan Owen.

Providing the world with a safe and secure food supply is an on-going challenge. National and international food safety agencies have long attempted to conquer this challenge by using a variety of regimes. This thesis considers the role that science has played and continues to play in such food safety regimes. The case of foodborne vibriosis amongst raw oyster eaters is used to explore the role science and identify the multiple relationships that exist in any food safety situation. Further, this thesis takes a ‘double-dip’ novel approach by using the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) framework to consider the United States of America’s Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) as an assemblage… more

Pet Names: A Critical Geography of Non-human Identity Construction in Auckland City

By Linda Madden, PhD, 2018. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Ward Friesen (*New Zealand Geographical Society Best Doctoral Thesis for 2018*)

In this research, my observations of non-human mammals in Auckland City demonstrate how space and identity are mutually constructed. I pay particular attention to the ‘namings’ that serve to situate other species into places (both physical and academic). These ‘pet names’ are explored in terms of the creation, re-creation and co-creation of physical and ideological boundaries, boundaries that emerge through human categorisation, animal agency and interspecies encounter. In Auckland, spaces of human/nonhuman encounter are moderated by narratives and practices that maintain distance between species… more

Enacting other foodworlds: Affective food initiatives performing a care-full politics of difference

By Emma Sharp, PhD, 2018. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Ward Friesen.

Food scholarship has struggled with what to make of alternative food initiatives (AFIs), both practically and politically. The surge of interest in AFIs in the past few decades has focused on the ways that AFIs might operate independently of capitalist, anonymous and mass-production processes, and is based predominantly on urban studies in the global north. These studies often interpret AFIs as political movements and defiant alternatives to industrial agri-food relations, representing a performance of singular alterity. Commonly this understanding of “alternative” has been collapsed into a politics of consumer identity, which is studied from the outside in abstract terms… more

Elite education and everyday encounters: Examining the multiple dimensions of privilege in young people’s lives

By Hayley Sparks, PhD, 2018. Co-supervised by Robin Kearns and Francis Collins (*New Zealand Geographical Society Best Doctoral Thesis for 2018*).

This thesis examines the operation of systems of privilege in place, drawing on the experiences and identities of young people who attend elite private schools. Privilege, particularly in the context of elite education has become a significant area of research. This work sits alongside research which centres on understanding how social structures shape the lives of more disadvantaged young people. It is argued that to mark and name privilege denaturalises assumptions and normalisations. Therefore, by examining young people’s lived realities through the lens of privilege, the reproduction and performance of privilege through multiple dimensions is demonstrated… more

How Can Public Geography Reignite Geography and Reclaim the Generative Potential of a Geography Education?

By William Howie, PhD, 2018. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Gretel Boswijk.

Geography has long been distinguished by its grounded approach to producing knowledge centred on understanding processes as they materialise in place. There has been an almost inherent publicness to its problem identification, research questions and field-based methodologies. This was reflected in close relationships between the discipline and post-war development states across the world, especially in countries like New Zealand with resource-based economies that required the particular interdisciplinary approaches at the core of geographical knowledge. However, this was all to change in the last fifteen years of the 20th century… more

Negotiating co-governance of the Waikato River: Political projects at work

By Bizhan Rahnama, PhD, 2016. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis and Karen Fisher.

The question of how to govern water is challenging technically and politically. While answers must be context specific, the question itself is one of the great global challenges facing humankind. Facing rapid increases in water demand, environmental change, new sciences of water quality, and a raft of political contests authorities are seeking more flexible approaches to achieve equitable and productive use of water resources. In recent theories of environmental governance and after-neoliberal governmental practices, the idea of cogovernance has been widely advocated as a platform for managing natural resources. It has particular resonance as a strategy for realising the interests of indigenous groups… more

Geographies of economy-making: the articulation and circulation of taewa Māori across Aotearoa New Zealand

By Stephen FitzHerbert, PhD, 2015. Co-supervised by Nick Lewis, Willie Smith and Karen Fisher.

The articulation of diverse Māori economies with other economies in processes of economy-making is relatively unexplored, but provides an intellectual space to rethink the constitutive elements of economy-making (economisation) and the possibilities and challenges of putting new material and relations into diverse economic circulations. The emergent discourse of the post-Treaty Settlement Taniwha Economy, in New Zealand seeks to mobilise Māori resources into capitalisation processes and unlock economy in terms of capitalocentric economic imaginaries. However, little attention has been paid to how more diverse Māori economy-making projects that emphasise cultural commitments might be encouraged… more

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