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.
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
- Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, 2017–2019
- Emeritus Professor CK Stead, 2015–2017
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
- Associate Professor Ngarino Ellis, Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-fiction 2017 for A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830-1930
- Associate Professor Aroha Harris, Illustrated Non-fiction 2016 for Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History (with Atholl Anderson and Judith Binney)
- Double winner Dr Paula Morris: Fiction 2012 for Rangatira and the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction 2003 for Queen of Beauty
- Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry 2010 for Fast Talking PI
- Professor Michele Leggott, Poetry 1995 for DIA
2018 Marsden Fund Awards
- Associate Professor Aroha Harris 'Whānau Ora With, Against and Beyond the State' ($622,000)
- Dr Cheryl Ware 'Untold Intimacies: Recovering the Lives of Women Sex Workers in New Zealand, 1978–2008.
2017 Marsden Fund Awards
- Professor Tim Dare 'Ethical Framework for Social Policy Applications of Predictive Analysis' ($635,000)
- Associate Professor Lisa Bailey 'Servants of God, Slaves of the Church: Rhetoric and Realities of Service in Early Medieval Europe' ($625,000)
- Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong 'Blood and Money: The Military Industrial Complex in Archaic Central Italy' ($635,000)