About the NZIPR – Leading and Supporting Pacific Research

The New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research is a collaboration by three of New Zealand’s universities, with partners both within New Zealand and throughout the Pacific.

With relationships with the University of the South Pacific, the Australian National University, Peking University, the University of Hawaii, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community and with other clusters of research expertise, it draws upon a broad range of capacities.

Key support partners are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

Director: Associate Professor Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa

Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is head of Pacific Studies, and Co-Head of Te Wananga o Waipapa (the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies) at the University of Auckland.

He also serves as the University’s Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement. He is a prizewinning scholar who is the author and editor of a number of works on the Pacific, government and politics.

He is currently working on a project tracing 200 years of environmental, economic and social change in Samoa, for which he was awarded a Marsden Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand. After receiving his MA at the University of Auckland, he completed a DPhil at Oxford University.

Previously he was Associate Professor at the University of Michigan.

Dr Gerard Cotterell

Manager: Dr Gerard Cotterell

Dr Gerard Cotterell currently holds a Marsden Fast Start award to study government support to the private sector under a neoliberal policy framework. Alongside this research he has managed the COMPASS research team at the University of Auckland since 2008. Gerard is a sociologist with wide-ranging research interests including: understanding the process, periodisation and impacts of neoliberalisation in New Zealand, the political economy of the welfare state, welfare reform and its consequences, inequality, comparative social policy, and teaching research methods.

Prior to completing his PhD at the University of Auckland he worked at Statistics New Zealand in various roles. His key responsibilities included social and economic research, and project management for a number of surveys and statistical reviews.

His early working life included stints as a freezing worker and a mechanic.

Governance Board

The NZIPR Board provides strategic direction, monitors outcomes, and has oversight of the work of the Institute. It reviews and approves the strategic plan of the Institute and comprises a nominee from each of the University consortium partners (Auckland, AUT, Otago) and one nominee from MFAT. The NZIPR Director also attends Board meetings.

The Board meets twice a year.


A number of overseas organisations and institutions are associates of the NZIPR. These include the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Australian National University (ANU), Peking University (PKU), University of Hawai’i (UH), and the University of the South Pacific (USP