Our People

Professor Joanna Kidman, Co-Director

Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) is Professor of Māori Education at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Her research explores the impact of institutional and systemic racism on Māori communities.

As a sociologist working in the field of indigenous studies, Joanna’s work takes her to nineteenth century battlegrounds across New Zealand, where Māori defended their tribal homelands against colonial invasion, and she has written about the aftermath of those conflicts and how they have shaped the nation. She has published on social movements and youth activism in Aotearoa and the life-worlds of taiohi Māori. Her recent works include the co-author publication Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand History (BWB, 2022) and Fierce Hope: Youth Activism in Aotearoa.


Distinguished Professor Emeritus Paul Spoonley FRSNZ, Co-Director

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley stood down as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University in 2019. Paul is a Fellow of the Auckland Museum and a Board member, a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany (since 2013) and he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2010. He was awarded the Science and Technology Medal by the Royal Society in 2009 for cross-cultural understanding. Massey University awarded him the title of Distinguished Professor in 2013. He is a member of the Marsden Fund Council and chairs the Social Science Panel.

Paul is the author or editor of 29 books, the most recent being The New New Zealand. Facing Demographic Disruption (2020) and Histories of Hate. The Radical Right. The Radical Right in Aotearoa New Zealand (2023). He was Ranginui Walker’s biographer (Mata Toa. The Life and Times of Ranginui Walker). He has researched and written on social cohesion, racism, Pākehā identity, demographic change, the far right, white supremacism and antisemitism, immigration policy and settlement, diversity impacts and recognition, and the changing nature of work.

Centre Staff

Project Manager, Avery Smith, contact hwt-project@vuw.ac.nz
Office: contact hwt@vuw.ac.nz

Governance Board

Governance Board members are trustees of He Whenua Taurikura charitable trust.

  • Bernie O’Donnell (Chair)
  • Vanisa Dhiru
  • Andy George
  • Ikhlaq Kashkari
  • Tracey McIntosh
  • Dave Moskovitz

Research Committee

The Research Committee comprises between six and eight scholars from around Aotearoa who provide independent advice and expertise on research funding applications, ethics, evaluation criteria and other research -related matters.

Current Committee members include:

  • Professor Te Kani Kingi (Ngāti Pukeko and Ngāti Awa), Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (Chair)
  • Professor Mohan Dutta, Massey University
  • Professor Jacquie Kidd (Ngāpuhi), Auckland University of Technology
  • Paul Morris, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, Te Herenga Waka/Victoria University of Wellington
  • Khairiah Bte Abdul Rahman, Auckland University of Technology
  • Dr Sara Salman, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington
  • Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen, University of Auckland
  • Associate Professor Waikaremoana Waitoki, University of Waikato