Our people

Meet the members of the Dame Mira Szászy Research Centre and read about their research interests.


Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, PhD
Ngāti Porou – Te Whānau o Tuwhakairiora, Ngāti Kahungunu – Ngāti Kere

Carla is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management and International Business. Carla is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu and Pākehā descent. Her research focuses mainly on intergroup relations, chiefly how group memberships influence attitudes and behaviour. Her publications typically examine how ethnicity helps reproduce socio-economic inequalities but can be leveraged to address them.  Her research using the Multidimensional Model of Māori identity and Cultural Engagement (MMM-ICE) has been recognised nationally and internationally for advancing ethnic identity research using psychometric measures and large samples. Carla currently leads a nationwide longitudinal quantitative study on Māori financial attitudes, Te Rangahau o Te Tuakiri Māori me Ngā Waiaro ā-Pūtea | The Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS).

Read more about MIFAS  

Carla’s profile

Associate Professor Mānuka Hēnare, BA(Hons), PhD (VUW), MInstD
Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī

Mānuka joined the University of Auckland Business School in 1996. He is Associate Professor in Māori Business Development in the Department of Management and International Business and recently completed (December 2014) a twelve year term as Associate Dean (Māori and Pacific Development). Mānuka is also the foundation Director of the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development and participates in a number of multidisciplinary research project teams. He has advised New Zealand government departments, local authorities and other institutions on ambicultural  or bicultural governance and management policies and also served on government advisory committees on development assistance, peace and disarmament, archives, history, social policy, environmental risk management and number of other ministerial appointments. He was previously a lecturer in Māori studies at Victoria University of Wellington, where he taught courses on the Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi, Māori culture and society and tribal histories. He also lectured in the Masters of Development Studies on culture, religion and economic development. Prior to his university career (his third career), he was CEO of two national non-government organisations involved in international development, justice and peace, and has travelled extensively throughout Asia, the Pacific and Southern Africa.

Manuka’s profile

Dr Rachel Wolfgramm, PhD
Te Aupōuri, Ngāi Takoto, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Patumoana, Tonga

Rachel is Principal Investigator in a Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Whai Rawa project examining Māori leadership and economies of wellbeing. Her primary research interest is institutional innovation and she is chiefly involved in scholarly/policy and applied research, investigating how societies are creating new relational ecologies in order to engage more directly with issues impacting the global commons. Her publications typically aim to advance matauranga Māori in economics and leadership, extend theorising in social ecological systems, and affirm the dynamics of indigenous ecological knowledge.  In application, her work offers valuable insights that are used to harness social and cultural innovation to advance resilience and economies of well-being.

Rachel is of Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Te Whakatohea, Tongan, German, English and Irish descent. As a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland Business School, she teaches undergraduate courses in intercultural communication and postgraduate courses in sustainability. Her doctoral, masters and honours supervisions focus on topics relating to sustainability, leadership, distributive innovation, food security and food sovereignty, Māori and indigenous leadership and business ethics.

Rachel’s Maramatanga profile
Rachel’s University profile

Dr Kiri Mamai Dell

Kiri is a lecturer in the Graduate School of Management. Kiri's tribal affiliation is to Ngāti Porou. Her research focuses mainly on the realisation of Māori land aspirations. Kiri’s work crosses areas such as entrepreneurship, science and innovation, branding and marketing in global markets. She currently teaches Māori entrepreneurship at postgraduate level and an undergraduate course on Māori Land Issues. She is Director of Tuakana – Māori and Pacific academic success for the Auckland Business School. Kiri works extensively with indigenous communities across the globe. She is currently Chair of the Indigenous Caucus for the Academy of Management, a global community, and part of the advisory panel to the World Indigenous Business Forum, encouraging international conversation on indigenous economic development. Kiri is also director of The Nuka Institute, a specialist manuka and kanuka organisation working in collaboration with R&D, universities and industry to discover new and innovative products that extract value from native New Zealand bio resources for Māori land owners.​

Kiri’s profile

Associate Professor Christine Woods

Kiwi born and bred, Christine’s interest in entrepreneurship and the small to medium business sector (SMEs) was sparked after working in Malawi as a small business advisor. Instead of catching malaria she caught the entrepreneur bug, becoming "hooked" on the passion and energy that entrepreneurs bring to what they do. Christine is an Associate Professor  in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Auckland. She teaches entrepreneurship to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and also Māori Entrepreneurship, a component of the Postgraduate Diploma in Māori Business. Her research interests are in the area of family business, SME growth, social entrepreneurship and Māori entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour.

Christine’s profile

Dr Billie Lythberg, PhD, GradDipArts

Billie is Senior Research Fellow at Mira Szászy Research Centre, working at the junction of economics, history and anthropology. Her work, funded by commissions and contestable grants, examines notions of market and non-market economic exchange, where economy is understood as comprising ecological, kinship, aesthetic and relational wellbeings. A self-identified Pākehā, she collaborates with Māori to explore approaches to entrepreneurship and wellbeing consistent with mātauranga, and Māori–non-Māori partnership. A broader interest in Moana economies emerged from her doctoral research, which considered how Tongan decorated barkcloths materialise and perpetuate what might be called intellectual or cultural property but which in Tongan is known as koloa tukufakaholo (treasures to be handed down), and how such barkcloths are mobilised towards distinctly Tongan economic goals in both Tongan spheres of use and gift exchange and the fine art galleries and museums of the Tongan diaspora. Theories of economic anthropology and indigenous entrepreneurship were critical to her understanding and written presentation of the fieldwork she undertook in Tonga and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Billie’s profile