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 Yvonne Underhill-Sem

Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangarao is a is a Cook Island, Nuiean, New Zealander with close family ties to Papua New Guinea. She is Associate Professor in Development Studies in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland. She was Director of Development Studies from 2007 to 2014.

Yvonne publishes in the broad areas of gender and development, Pacific development and feminist political ecology. Before she joined the University of Auckland in 2004, Yvonne taught at University of Papua New Guinea and briefly at Australian National University; she worked as a development expert at the Africa Caribbean Pacific Secretariat in Brussels; and she worked for a global feminist research network (DAWN) while she was living in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

She is currently Co-Chair of Oxfam NZ; is a lead researcher focusing on labour markets in the Pacific for (NZIPR); the Co-Chair of the Research Advisory Group for the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (PWSPD) initiative funded by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Yvonne is a member of the Marsden Social Science panel and is the Deputy Chair of the Pacific PBRF panel.

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