Research aims and accolades

We are a global leader in the humanities, with arts and humanities ranked within the world's top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.

Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh poses with her tokotoko in Albert Park.


Whether we are studying Hollywood or the purpose of the universe, one of the questions underlying our inquiries is: What does it mean to be human?

What thoughts and actions could we shape our lives with, and what choices have people made in the past about life — and why?

We study — and create — human self-expression, reflection, interaction and responses to the world.

By deepening understandings of the diversity and ever-changing dynamics of what it means to be human, we comprehend both ourselves and each other better — with the ultimate aim of creating more interesting, lively, empathetic, ethical and creative worlds.


We have a long tradition of contributing to Aotearoa New Zealand's most ground-breaking literature and history. Our past staff include literary stars such as Witi Ihimaera and Albert Wendt, and leading historians such as Dame Judith Binney and Dame Claudia Orange.

New Zealand Poet Laureates

Royal Society Te Apārangi honours

  • In 2017, historian Associate Professor Aroha Harris won the inaugural Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Award in Humanities for her substantial contributions to Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History.
  • In 2014, Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd won the Humanities Aronui Medal for outstanding and wide‐ranging contribution to the humanities.

New Zealand Book Awards

2018 Marsden Fund Awards

2017 Marsden Fund Awards