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

New Zealand Arts 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.
  • In 2022, Professor Tim Mulgan was awarded the Aronui Humanities Medal, Royal Society of New Zealand, for prolific, original and influential contributions to moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy.

New Zealand Book Awards

Other Book awards

  • Dr Felicity Barnes, Selling Britishness: Commodity Culture, the Dominions, and Empire (Auckland University Press, 2022), awarded the 2023 Wadsworth Prize from the UK's Business Archives Council, 2023.
  • Professor Mark Mullins, Yasukuni Fundamentalism: Japanese Religions and the Politics of Restoration (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2021) selected as First Prize winner of the 2023 NZASIA Book Awards, 2023.
  • Professor Mark Mullins, Yasukuni Fundamentalism: Japanese
    Religions and the Politics of Restoration (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021, Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Analytical-Descriptive Studies, The American Academy of Religion, 2022.
  • Professor Maartje Abbenhuis, co-authored with Prof. Ismee Tames, Global War, Global Catastrophe: Neutrals, Belligerents and the Transformation of the First World War (2021), awarded the Norman Tomlinson Prize for Best Book on the First World War awarded by the World War One History Association, 2021.

2021 Marsden Fund Awards

2020 Marsden Fund Awards

  • Dr Emily Parke, Fast-Start, “Dimensions of life: integrating scientific and philosophical perspectives on the living world” (with AI Dan Hikuroa).

2019 Marsden Fund Awards

  • Associate Professors Sarina Pearson and Shuchi Kothari, ‘Asian New Zealanders on Screen:In/Visibility past and present’

2018 Marsden Fund Awards

2017 Marsden Fund Awards

Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship

Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

  • Professor Mark Mullins by the Japanese Government in recognition for his contribution to the development of the sociology of religion in Japan, research on Japan in New Zealand, and promotion of academic exchanges and mutual understanding between Japan and New Zealand, 2019. 

New Zealand on Air major funding

  • 2021, Associate Professor Shuchi Kothari creator and convenor of Episode One: Webseries Development and Pilot Production (Capacity building initiative designed on behalf of the Pan-Asian Screen Collective).
  • In 2022 AP Kothari received the “Outstanding Contribution to the Film and Television Industry” award from the New Zealand chapter of WIFT (Women in Film and Television).