The NZAI team

Natasha Hamilton-Hart, Director

Natasha Hamilton-Hart is Professor in the Department of Management and International Business. She has a BA(Hons) from the University of Otago and a PhD from Cornell University. Natasha joined the University of Auckland in 2011, after teaching at the National University of Singapore for ten years and holding a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian National University.

Natasha’s research focuses on business in Southeast Asia, particularly in the banking and natural resource sectors, as well as on foreign investment flows and financial regulation. She is the author of Asian States, Asian Bankers: Central Banking in Southeast Asia and Hard Interests, Soft Illusions: Southeast Asia and American Power, both with Cornell University Press. Her most recent research examines the palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia.

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Dr Antje Fiedler, Associate Director

Dr Antje Fiedler is a senior lecturer in the Management and International Business Department of the Business School. Antje has undertaken extensive research on the internationalisation of SMEs with a particular focus on emerging Asia. Her research has been published in international journals and has informed courses at the University of Auckland Business School and practitioner workshops around New Zealand.

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Dr Xin Chen, Research Fellow

Dr Xin Chen joined the Institute in 1997. Prior to that she was with the East West Centre in Honolulu for 11 years, first as a degree fellow, then a research assistant and finally a research fellow. During that time she also gained her PhD in Political Science at the University of Hawaii.

Prior to going to America, she was a lecturer at the English Department of Peking University where she received her BA and MA in English literature and linguistics, and then a senior lecturer at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. Her research interests focus on Chinese politics, and China and East Asian regional integration. She has been a key player in many of the Institute’s research initiatives.

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Stephanie Honey, Trade Policy Adviser

Stephanie Honey is a trade policy consultant with expertise in digital, services and agriculture trade, regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, the WTO, and trade inclusion. She advises NZAI on trade policy and connects the Institute with trade policy actors in New Zealand and Asia. Formerly a New Zealand trade negotiator, including serving as chief agriculture negotiator during the intensive phase of the WTO Doha Round negotiations, Stephanie provides consulting services to a broad range of clients from the public and private sectors including international institutions such as the OECD and Asian Development Bank, and is a sought-after commentator on trade policy.  She is principal at Honey Consulting as well as policy adviser to the New Zealand members of the APEC Business Advisory Council and co-founder of Global Trade Insights, a business offering executive education in trade policy around the world.  Stephanie sits on the Board of the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority and the Advisory Board of the Centres for Asia-Pacific Excellence.

Charles Chow, Asia Network Adviser

Charles Chow is the NZAI Asia Network Adviser. He is a business alumnus of the University, chartered accountant turned corporate/investment banker with JP Morgan Chase, equity research director, stockbroker and deal maker for DBS Vickers Securities. He retired from the financial industry after 13 years to manage a diversified investment portfolio. He is also a part-time senior tutor in the Department of Accounting and Finance. Based out of Singapore and Auckland, Charles develops business links for NZAI in Asia. His recent academic interests include the history of globalisation, FDI in Asia and the future of emerging democracies and benevolent dictatorships in Southeast Asia and China.

Dinah Towle, Office Manager

Dinah Towle joined the Institute in 2009 as Office Manager. Previously, Dinah had 10 years experience working for an international human rights organisation responsible for development of all administrative and financial policies and procedures and coordination of their fundraising activities. She has over 15 years experience in finance and administration in both the commercial and non-profit world.

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Studies Centre Directors

Dr Benjamin Fath, Director of the Southeast Asia Studies Centre

Ben Fath is Senior Lecturer in Management and International Business in the Faculty of Business and Economics. His research has included the growth, internationalisation and innovation in New Zealand SMEs. He has been involved in a series of large scale survey and interview studies that investigated management challenges in SMEs operating from small economies. His recent research has been on how the economic re-emergence of Asia influences New Zealand SMEs. This has informed a number of courses at the Business school on research methods, entrepreneurship and competing in Asia; as well as practitioner workshops across the country.

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Dr Stephen Noakes, Director of the China Studies Centre

Steve Noakes is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations. His research centres on contemporary Chinese politics and foreign policy, with a particular emphasis on state-society relations and the management of non-profit organisations. It has appeared in China Quarterly, Pacific Affairs, Voluntas, Political Science Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is also the author of The Advocacy Trap: Transnational Activism and State Power in China (Manchester University Press, 2017).

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Professor Mark Mullins, Director of the Japan Studies Centre

Mark R Mullins joined the University of Auckland’s School of Asian Studies as Professor of Japanese Studies in January 2013. Prior to this appointment, he was engaged in academic work in Japan for 27 years and taught at Shikoku Gakuin University, Meiji Gakuin University, and Sophia University, where he also served a three-year term as editor of Monumenta Nipponica. He completed his postgraduate studies in the sociology of religion and East Asian traditions at McMaster University (PhD 1985). His teaching and research focus is on the role of Japanese religions in modern societies both within and outside of Japan.

He is the author and co-editor of a number of works, including Religion and Society in Modern Japan (1993), Perspectives on Christianity in Korea and Japan (1995), Christianity Made in Japan: A Study of Indigenous Movements (1998), Religion and Social Crisis in Japan: Understanding Japanese Society Through the Aum Affair (2001), and most recently Yasukuni Fundamentalism: Japanese Religions and the Politics of Restoration (2021).

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Dr Yuri Seo, Director of the Korea Studies Centre

Dr Yuri Seo is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Auckland Business School. He is currently serving as the Deputy Head of Department - Research at the Department of Marketing and as the Director of Korea Studies Centre at New Zealand Asia Institute. In addition, he is the Disciplinary Lead for Consumer Research and Marketing Science Group. Yuri’s research examines psychological and sociological approaches to consumer behaviour, which was published in over 50 academic articles in prominent business journals. Yuri is a recipient of several major research awards, including ANZMAC Emerging Researcher of the Year Award, The University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award (ECREA), and The University of Auckland Business School Research Excellence Award.

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Dr Asha Sundaram, Co-Director of the NZ APEC Study Centre

Asha Sundaram is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Auckland. She has an MPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom and a PhD in Economics from Syracuse University, United States. Her research interests are in the fields of International Trade and Development Economics.
Topics she works on include the role of networks in international trade and the impact of globalisation on labour markets and firms. She has consulted for international organizations like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and research institutions like the Peterson Institute of International Economics and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

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Dr Haiping Zhang, Co-Director of the NZ APEC Study Centre

Haiping Zhang is is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Auckland. Prior to this appointment, he held positions as Assistant Professor of Economics at Singapore Management University and visiting research fellow at the Centre for European Integration Studies (ZEI) in Germany. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Bonn. His research focuses on macroeconomis, international finance and trade, and economic development. His current projects include digital transformation, central bank digital currencies, intangible investment, green transition, etc.

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Professor Hugh Whittaker, Fellow (Director, 2009-2014)

Hugh Whittaker is a Fellow of the New Zealand Asia Institute, and was Professor in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland prior to taking up the role of Professor in the Economy and Business of Japan at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford. He has a BA from ICU, Tokyo, and a PhD from Imperial College, London. After carrying out postdoctoral research at Harvard University, he taught at Cambridge University for 12 years, before helping to set up a business school and research institute at Doshisha University, Kyoto.

His research interests include Japanese and comparative management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and development models in east Asia. Recent publications include Recovering From Success: Technology and Innovation Management in Japan (co-edited with R Cole, 2006), Comparative Entrepreneurship: The UK, Japan and the Shadow of Silicon Valley (Whittaker et al 2009) and Corporate Governance and Management Reform in Japan (co-edited with S Deakin), all from Oxford University Press.